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Chapter 5

Sociology 2267A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: B. F. Skinner, Twin, Twin Study

Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Lisa Lyons

of 13
Monday, February 1, 2016
Soc 2267- chapter 5- Explaining crime and
delinquency: in the beginning
-over last 100 years perspectives of what cause crime have ranged from biological
and physiological to the psychological and sociological . some views scientific and
others are referred to as taken for granted understandings
-taken for granted understandings: beliefs that are accepted as true simply because
they are either felt to be true or are commonly shared as being true. they are based
on immediate experience and rarely examined.
-post modernists: those who reject or challenge all that has been considered to be
scientific method: positivism and criminology
-Comte was the first to say we could understand society best by applying the scientific
method to its study
-positivist: philosophical, theoretical, and methodological perspective positing that
only that which is observable through the scientific method is knowable.
-positivist thinkers differ from other scientific thinkers because there is an assumption
that behaviour is determined by some factor or factors beyond the control the
-causal relationships
-3 conditions have to ve met before causality can be established.
-first, have to establish a relationship between concepts within and among
the the propositions that constitute a theory
-second, time priority has to be established between concepts. (cause has to
come before effect)
-3rd, concerns spuriousness. whether we can be certain that there is no other
causal factor related to the 2 concepts
-Concepts: refers to class or group of more specific terms.
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Monday, February 1, 2016
-news media reports of crime are often rife with spurious statements about cause
and effect
-challenges to positivism
-fundamental assumption is that the universe is knowable in an objective sense.
-researchers moved away from asking what the cause was and started to look at
how things were processed through CJS so made more sense to ask people
about their experiences which is subjective
-positivists will say they cant ask why you committed a crime because it will be
biased but those asking will argue that everyone is biased os this is the best way
to get the info.
nineteenth century theorizing about crime and delinquency
-prior to enlightenment period, religion was dominant force in society
-when a persons behaviour was viewed as bad or evil, devil or some type of devil
possession was blamed.
-now, rather than saying the devil made them do it, people are more likely to blame
criminal acts on being members in satanic cults
-classical criminology
-earliest record of scientific thinking about crime dates back to classical school of
- classical school of criminology: school of thought that assumes people are
rational, intelligent beings who exercise free will in choosing criminal behaviour
-Beccaria was one of the most influential writers of classical school, he argued
that offenders should be presumed innocent, that offences and punishments
should be specified in a written code of criminal laws, that guilty people deserved
to be punished, that the punishment should fit the crime, that offenders must be
held responsible for their behaviour
-Bentham argued that repeat offenders hours be punished more severely, that
punishment should fit the crime, and that people who commit similar offences
should be punished in the same manner
-biological positivism
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Monday, February 1, 2016
-by end of 19th century, positivism was gaining a stronghold and scholars were
beginning to pay more attention to the criminal person. the firs positivistic
criminologists focused on biological and physiological factors in their search for
the causes of criminal behaviour
-the born criminal
-Lombroso examined hundreds of prisoners and argued that criminals and
non criminals were at different stages of evolutionary develpment.
-the physical features of criminals constituted the “evidence” for Lombroso’s
theory that some people are just born criminals
-types of people
-Dugdale did a study and concluded that a significant amount Jukes had
criminal records, worked at prositituion or were on welfare. he argued that
pauperism, crime and prostitution were all inherited traits.
-Henry Goddard attempted to establish a connection between crime and
feeblemindedness. he basically said that low intelligence made people
incapable of understanding the potential immorality of their behaviours and
less able to control their emotions
-these types of ideas grew in popularity and were bolstered by eugenics
studies and caused people to be sterilized.
-the “dangerous class”
-public concern for “class of people” that were largely the poor who were
struggling to survive.
-the parents and not the children were usually the ones seen as being
defectives, dependents, and delinquents.
twentieth century theories of delinquency
-biological positivism
-even though they were influential at the tiem, the type sou people theories seem
kind of far fetched to current readers. but there is still an influence of biological
positivism to this day
-Twins and adopted children
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