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Critically Evaluate Biological And Sociological Theories And Discuss How These Contribute To The Explanation For The Occurrence Of Crime

4534 words - 18 pages

MSc In Security & Risk ManagementMarch 2010 IntakeCritically evaluate biological and sociological theories and discuss how these contribute to the explanation for the occurrence of crime.4150 wordsAre criminals born or are criminals made? This is a question that many criminologists have researched into and tried and come to a conclusive answer. However the majority are divided into two main schools of thought; those believing in the nurture methodology (made criminals) and the latter in the nature approach (born criminals). There are many theories as to how and why people commit criminal acts; this essay will critically assess two of these, biological and sociological. Firstly, it will be shown how different biological theories have come about and how they contribute to the 'who and why' in criminological theory. Secondly, we will look in detail at the more recent sociological theories and see how these are more adept in explaining the roots of the criminal mind. After looking into the two theories it will then be shown how these may play a part in the occurrence of crime.These two classes of theory in themselves have many sub theories which have developed over time, some new and some just different interpretations of previous ones. In such a discipline as criminology, with such a large range of empirically driven quantities, it would be useful to categorize and illustrate the numerous interpretations of theories. Criminal theories are classed in two main schools of thought, the positivist and classical approach, positivism is the search for the causes of crime using scientific method, as opposed to the classical approach, which relies upon free will as the main cause of crime.Biological theories:One of the founders of modern criminology and leaders, Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), thought that people were born predisposed to antisocial behaviour (Bartol, 2005), Lombroso also held that many criminals had been born with certain physical attributes or stigmata such as large jaws, high cheek bones, fat lips and large ears, as well as other "atavistic" features. According to Lombroso, such people favour behaviour becoming that of primates than that of normal people in human society.Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look he thinks too much; such men are dangerous (Julius Caesar, I.ii.194).In this study Lombroso observed the physical characteristics of prisoners and compared them to soldiers - looking for similarities such as heads, bodies, arms and skin (Criminology, Carrabine et al). His theory was later ridiculed by many, his methodology was flawed, had he looked further than the prison walls he would have seen such characteristics throughout the population. Questionably, Lombroso's samples included people with severe learning difficulties and people who came from poverty, he ignored the fact that they came from such backgrounds and that such factors may have been the reason for the physical defects rather than criminality Lombroso later adapted...

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