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Currie - "Crimes Without Criminals"

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Western University
Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

CRIMES WITHOUT CRIMINALS WitchcraftIts Control in Renaissance EuropeCurrieSociological study of deviant behaviour has begun to focus less on the deviant and more on societys response to him Many elements of the behaviour system of a given kind of deviance will be significantly affected by the kind of control system through which the behaviour is defined and managed Witchcraft As DevianceDefinition of witchcraft that emerged in Renaissance Europeconsisted of the individuals making a pactcovenant with the Devil thereby gaining the power to manipulate supernatural forces for antisocial and unChristian endso Willful renunciation of the Faith implied by the act of covenant with the DevilTherefore witchcraft prosecuted as a form of heresy Came to be defined as a thoughtcrime Early legislations had tended to lump witchcraft and magic in the same category and to deal with them as minor offenseso Ecclesiastical or secular authorities did not consider witches until ththe 15 c Witchs delusion evolved to the point where the witch was believed to have actual powersthth 15 and 16 cnew theological and legal conception of witchcraft emergedofficially recognized as a form of deviance Pope Innocent VIIIs Papal Bull 1484recognized seriousness of witchcraft as a crime affirmed its reality and authorized the use of the Inquisition to prosecute it Malleus Maleficarum 1487written under Papal authorizationo Witch persecutions in Europe entered a peak phase that lasted into ththe 18 c Witchcraft was used as an explanation for virtually everything drastic or unpleasant that occurred Difficulty of proving that the crime of witchcraft had ever taken placeo Englandresponse to witchcraft took place within a framework of effective limitations on the suppressive power of the legal order and a relatively advanced conception of due process of lawo Mainland Europeresponse took place within a framework of minimal limitations on the activity of the legal system in which due process and legal restraint tended to go by the board Continental Europe Repressive Control
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