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Biological Positivism

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Presentation on theme: "Biological Positivism"— Presentation transcript:

1 Biological Positivism
Lombroso , Eugenics & Social Darwinism

2 BIOLOGICAL positivist Criminology Late1800s Context
Reification of Science Emergence of experts Society as a social fact 1850s heredity studies 1840s ‘Mug Shots’ (Belgium) Statistics Growing underclass Rise of the Penitentiary

3 Positivism A method & a paradigm Focus on actors not acts Deterministic Locate difference in people

4 Assumptions of Positivist Criminology
Causes of criminal behaviour is different than causes for normal behaviour Consensus

5 Darwinism.. On the Origin of Species - Principles of Biology (1864)
Some specimens were "better adapted for immediate, local environment” Influences Herbert Spencer…

6 Social Darwinism Herbert Spencer (1820 -1903)
‘Survival of the Fittest’ Hierarchy of social inferiority Fitness becomes synonymous with health AND deserving ‘naturalness’ Not what Darwin intended….

7 Ethnocentric Social Darwinism
Progress/Civilization Scientific justification for inequality Tautology: ‘We’ are in power because we are more evolved How do you know that you are more evolved? Because ‘we’ are in power... Image: Duncan Walker

8 Birth of Criminology: The Italian School
The foundations of biological explanations Assumed people in prison = criminals Cesare Lombroso Enrico Ferri Raffael Garofalo

9 Canada

10 Phrenology Founded on Aristotle ... “brain as the organ of the mind”
Exterior skull/interior brain Mind – faculties & function Requires ‘exercise’ Behavior – bumps in skull 1830s scientifically accepted Criminal determined by trained phrenologists

11 Cecare Lombroso (1835 – 1909) Medically trained Psychiatry
Professor of legal medicine Testified at trials The Criminal Man (1876) w/ Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

12 Criminal Classification
Born Criminals Atavistic Man Primitive Less evolved/developed 1/3 of offenders

13 Lombroso  Military observations: well-disciplined and aggressive or criminal soldiers Deviations common to particular races/cultures Autopsies criminals & non animals ‘inferior races’ – physically/intellectually

14 Criminal Woman Smaller variations Less evolved than men? Naturally vengeful, weak and dumb ~ balanced by ‘feminine’ Criminal women: masculine (negative quality)

15 Sir Fancis Galton (1822-1911) Coined the term Eugenics Positive
Encourage ‘good birth’ Negative Exclusion of ‘inferior’ populations Recognized eugenics would have to have spiritual framework to work in his “vision”

16 Mental Hygiene Movement
Feeble-mindedness not curable Burdensome populations $ Fear of ‘inferior’ peoples Emily Murphy “The Black Candle” (1922) Calls to limit immigration How is this connected to Rousseau’s ‘Ideal Society’?

17 Implications Experts needed to determine defectives
Long term custody of ‘untreatable’ kids Sterilization (gendered) Domestics 1928 Sterilization Act in Alberta Repealed in 1972 why? In the movie…


19 The Jukes Robert Dugdale (1875) “The Jukes: A Study in Crime, Pauperism, Disease, and Hereditary” Impoverished family Many assumptions “Inept methodology” Cost to taxpayers Used to support negative Eugenics Defining mental illness?

20 The Kallikaks Henry H. Goddard
Focused on IQ as manifestation of degeneracy “Inept methodology” Martin Kallikak ‘Feeble-minded barmaid’ Respectable Quaker woman

21 Positivist Criminology
“ Ye Olde History”? Focus on the actor Treatment of the individual

22 Critiques of Positivist Criminology
Cure for crime? If no cure..... Marked by poor methodology despite scientific foundation Repressive responses (not cure) Pathologizing deviance Illness of non-conformity Discourse of non-responsibility Industry of experts

23 Rehabilitation Treatment programs Treatment as punishment
Problem of delivery Non-voluntary Treatment as punishment E.g. substance use, parenting... Guard or Counselor? Punitive environment Critique from right Can access programs ‘honest’ citizens can’t Similar to issues of ‘training’ in Kingston

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