History of Criminology

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  • Classical Criminology - mid - eighteenth century - philosophers searching for more rational approaches to punishment - utilitarianism - in their behavior choices, people want to achieve pleasure and avoid pain - people have free will to choose criminal or lawful solutions; crime is attractive & may be controlled by fear of punishment; certain punishment will deter criminal behavior - demonic criminology - it was believed that when someone commits a crime, they are possessed. Punishment - torture
  • Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) was one of the first scholars to develop a systematic understanding of why people commit crime
  • Positivist Criminology - nineteenth century - positivism - use of the scientific method to conduct research; predicting & explaining social phenomena in a logical manner; empirical verification - abnormality in the human mind was being linked to criminal behavior patterns - it was believed the shape of the skull was a key determinant of behavior
  • Auguste Comte (1798-1857) considered the founder of sociology, argued that societies pass through stages that can be grounded on the basis of how people try to understand the world in which they live
  • Sociological Criminology - the influence of social factors on the propensity to commit crime was studied - age, sex, season, climate, population, poverty, alcohol consumption are all related to criminality - crime is normal & inevitable - crime paves the way for social change
  • L.A.J. Quetelet & Emile Durkheim - pioneering sociologists who used social statistics that were being developed in Europe to study crime
  • Conflict Criminology - early twentieth century - criminologists began to analyze the social conditions in the United States that promoted class conflict and crime - economic system produces the conditions that support a high crime rate
  • Karl Marx (1818-1883) was convinced that the character of every civilization is determined by its mode of production
  • Developmental Criminology - 1940s/50s - Gluecks' studies integrated sociological, psychological, and economic elements in their view of crime causation - personal and social factors related to persistent offending: quality of discipline and emotional ties with parents - physical and mental factors play a role in determining behavior - their vision integrated biological, social, and psychological elements. It suggested that the initiation and continuity of a criminal career was developmental process influenced by both internal & external situations, conditions, and circumstances
  • Sheldon & Eleanor Glueck - husband and wife team of criminologists and researchers at Harvard. They conducted numerous studies of delinquent and criminal behavior.
  • Contemporary Criminology - these various schools of criminology have developed over 200 years, and are constantly evolving.
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