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Positivism Biogenic and Psychogenic Theories of Crime

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1 Positivism Biogenic and Psychogenic Theories of Crime
Chapter 6

2 Positivism Classical to Positivism = Paradigm revolution/shift – dramatic change in theoretical orientation for how/why things happen. (1870s shift occurred) Comte ( ) – stages of society’s development/quest for truth, 1. theological – God reigned supreme, 2. metaphysical – after Enlightenment and rationalism was focus, 3. positivism - highest level of progress holding that the only true knowledge is scientific knowledge. Movement away from immeasurable ideas of freewill towards more measurable indicators of causation. Determinism – internal or external forces impinging on individuals’ choices and impacting even determining their behavioral choices. (biological and sociological)

3 Positivism contd’ The flattering views of the Enlightenment that we are intellectual beings of some level of sophistication gave way to the idea that we are actually just degrees away from other animals and that science can explain our behavior. Positivism being rooted in empiricism and science presumes that knowledge can be discovered only by means of observation and experience. Positivism assumes that individual differences are rooted in factors beyond the control of individuals. – determinism Difference between positivistic and classical schools: Positivism is rooted in the collection of empirical data; classical criminologists were philosophers (Beccaria and Bentham)

4 Cesare Lombroso (Criminal Man) (1876 (5yrs.after Darwin))
Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871) – influenced the biological positivist movement in a similar way as the Enlightenment influenced Classical School – scientists took note. Survival of fittest conveyed a genetic link to behavior – genetics links to heredity. Cesare Lombroso (Criminal Man) (1876 (5yrs.after Darwin)) Recognized as the father of modern criminology Influenced by the work of Franz Gall’s phrenology and J.K. Lavatar’s physiognomy One of the key ideas in his earlier works was that of atavism (a view of criminals as a throwback to an earlier and more primitive evolutionary stage identifiable by a number of physical stigmata) Reasoning of the era suggested that if people were just one end of the continuum of animal life that people who acted “beastly” and lacked reasoning were biologically inferior.

5 Comparison of Positive and Rational Choice Paradigms
Focus on criminals Assumes individual differences Assumes deterministic forces Rooted in biology, psychology, or sociology Applicable at individual level to address differences rooted in biology, psychology, or social environment Calls for medical model applications (treatment) to individuals Rational Choice Focus on crime Assumes no individual differences Assumes free will Rooted in philosophy, especially utilitarianism Applicable at group-level particularly Calls for criminal justice system applications (punishment) to individuals

6 Theorists Cesare Lombroso – Criminal Man (1876) - first book ever to explain criminality. Atavistic Born criminals = 1/3 Criminaloids - minor offenders Insane criminals (not born but made) alcoholics, kleptomaniacs, nymphomaniacs, child molesters Lombroso and the female offender Published The Female Offender (1895) Measured various body parts and noted irregularities in women More evil tendencies than men – ladylike qualities suppressed – more ruthless than men – (largely due to the contrary stereotype – present today??) Lombroso, Ferri, Garofalo – founded Italian School of Criminology Enrico Ferri – student of Lombroso’s – multiple factor approach – said to classical school philosophers: “we are empirical scientists; you lot are just armchair speculators”. Believed in punishment as a social defense – criminals do not have ability to use rational calculus and avoid temptation so society must be protected from them. Social defense approach to punishment – incapacitation as only option. Raffaele Garofalo – rejected freewill – more psychological than Lombroso – get rid of criminal offenders – selection of the fittest – dispose of the inferior (life in prison, ship to penal colony, execute) – punishment should fit the criminal and their “peculiarities (risk factors)” not the crime – this thinking was intended to lead the way to treatment and rehabilitation

7 Dr. Charles Goring - wrote The English Convict (1913)
Garofalo’s four categories of criminal: extreme (executed), impulsive (imprisoned), professional (hedonistic calculus), endemic (change the laws to reflect the actions) Dr. Charles Goring - wrote The English Convict (1913) Staunchest critic criticized Lombroso – 3000 convicts - looked at 37 variables and compared to univ. students & soldiers - found very few differences between criminals and non. Goring credited with first suggesting that there is likely physiological and environmental interaction – identified defective intelligence as the root – seen as a shifting from biological to psychological understanding (heredity and environment interact) (a2)Earnest A. Hooton – The American Criminal (1939) – sample of 17,000 w/ a control group for comparison – meticulous measurement of physical characteristics of incarcerated pops., attacked Goring’s methods – concluded criminals are “organically inferior” - tall & thin = murder William Sheldon (see next slide) - wrote Varieties of Delinquent Youth (1949) Somotyping, 3 body types w/ unique temperament, lots of criticism then and now – 200 boys in rehab and 200 college males. Used bad statistics. Ivy league school 1940’s-1960’s – students posed nude for Sheldon’s research – hillary clinton, george bush, diane sawyer, others…

8 Sheldon’s Body and Temperament Types
Body Types Endomorph (soft and round) Ectomorph (lean) *Mesomorph (muscular) Sheldon found delinquents to be decidedly high in mesomorphy and low in ectomorphy. Temperament Types Sumotonic (outgoing) Cerebretonic (smart) Vicerotonic (antisocial) Sheldon found delinquents to be sumotonic.

9 Biological Perspectives
Families and Criminal Heredity – bad seed theory - brilliant idea but… (a2) H. Goddard - The Kallikaks – see my synopsis (a2) R. Dugdale – The Jukes – linking family heredity to crime and inferiority (VD) – family studies were co-opted by the Eugenicists – forced sterilization – Contemporary Biological Perspectives The idea of operating from a biological perspective today is much different from that of earlier forms of biological criminology. Flaws in earlier biological theories – external, speculative, self-fulfilling, poor methods, minimized role of environment – is it nature or nurture???? Ethical and ideological problems with biology and criminology Biological and psychogenic studies of crime (genetics and the functioning of the body vs. the functioning of the mind) Intelligence and Crime – Bell Curve – H&M – low intelligence on IQ tests would result in crime, poor school, unemployment, welfare, illegitimate kids – IQ = genetic More recent family studies Twin studies and genetic research - concordance Adoption studies – biology appears predictive

10 Other Explanations Testosterone and Aggression –
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) - The Cheater Theory – adultery – women seek men who will invest in child rearing – males deceive and do whatever it takes to engage in reproduction – these behaviors are characteristic of their lifestyle = crime Nutrition and Crime – vitamins, prenatal, food, sugar, etc. The Environment – lead, mercury, radiation, etc. Neurotransmitters and Crime – dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, and GABA (low serotonin=crime – prone to impulsive behavior) (drug users and dopamine) Psychogenic Theories – psych looks to internal differences but criminologists look to external influences that lead to differences. – both = personality predisposition and the triggering environmental stimuli Psychoanalytic Theories – Freud (id,ego, superego) conflict btwn id and super are constant but childhood development of the super is imperative and up to parents

11 Personality Theories XYY chromosomes and crime (R. Speck)
Arousal and crime – see book – Hans Eysenck – also Lee Ellis Focus on the CNS and people’s sensitivities and preferences for stimulation and the idea that different levels of physiological arousal correlate to different personalities and behavioral patterns. The regulator of brain arousal is a finger size bundle of brain cells at the top of the spinal cord called the RAS (reticular activating system) controls sleep, wakefulness, and attention. It’s a filter telling the brain what to pay attention to. Low arousal or underarousal promotes sensation seeking and risk-taking behavior including impulsive and occasionally crime oriented. Mental disorders and crime Antisocial personality disorder – Hare psychopathy checklist – DSM-IV – conduct disorder The defining feature of the psychopath is their inability to tie the brain’s cognitive and emotional networks together. (word spike example w/ emotion laden words: apple, cancer, cup, death, friend, mom) Bio/Psych and sociological positivism and rehabilitation prevailed into the 20th C and then several factors brought us back to Rational Choice Perspective – R. Martinson being one of them. (see report)

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