Is criminality normal?

215370Criminality is normal. Discuss with mention to discrepancies of classical, positive and societal constructionist theories


A societal contract exists in civilized society in which persons give up some autonomies, in order to bask a restricted but peaceable freedom. Without this, worlds would populate like animate beings which necessarily would take to the stronger and most violent deriving power and control over the weaker. When society has broken down, this anarchy happens, for case in states with weak authoritiess and during war, or in freshly discovered states such as the American Wild West. In these fortunes, an individual’s behavior is inadequately monitored and the menace of penalty lupus erythematosus of a hazard, therefore the person may make up one’s mind that they are free to make whatever they wish.

Most condemnable activity can be traced to selfishness, with the wrongdoer seting their ain desires, demands and wants in front of another person’s or society’s safety or rights. This can associate every kind of condemnable behavior and every offense. In countries where a individual does non anticipate to acquire caught out, or does non see the offense to be peculiarly of import, piquing behavior is more likely. Modern illustrations of this are the usage of nomadic phones while driving, and in some societal contexts benefit fraud and illegal drug usage. Some condemnable activity moves from being socially acceptable to unacceptable, for case domestic force, imbibe driving. There may besides be a gray country where Torahs have non been introduced for a behavior which so becomes a offense, such as anon. torment over the cyberspace. The cyberspace has been compared to the American Wild West in its ‘new frontier’ anarchy .

It could be argued, given that criminalism is rooted in anti-social selfishness, that this behavior is natural and normal for the human animate being. Socialization, indoctrinated selflessness and observant citizenship has to be taught and is hence non ‘natural’ and merely becomes normal because it is ‘the norm’ .

Classical Criminology

At the root of classical believing about offense is the impression that persons act on free will, and that all persons have equal resources, equal ability to do a free, rational pick. Therefore those who have committed offenses should be punished, irrespective of extenuating fortunes, and the penalty will move as hindrance for the wrongdoer and others. This natural jurisprudence tradition can be traced from its beginnings in Grecian guess through its authoritative Christian statement by Thomas Aquinas .

Classicism has been referred to as an ‘armchair’ theory that can bring forth no empirical grounds. The theory declined with the rise of evolutionary theory but still has influence on modern criminology e.g. the penalty suiting the offense and theories of free will and pick. It is non ever possible to province that a individual is acting rationally, whether perpetrating a offense or non, but “people who are seen as pervert or felon are in fact acting rather rationally given their peculiar fortunes and the societal context.”

Problems with the classical theoretical account are that it is simplistic. Classical believing “believes in an overly rational vision of human nature, reasoning that people behave in a strictly self-interested and ‘free’ fashion.” If they think they will acquire off with it, they will perpetrate a offense, but penalty will move as a hindrance. For classical criminologists, the best hindrance is fear of hurting . This theoretical account assumes that societies act in just and merely ways . Unlike positivism, the classical theoretical account sees perpetrating a offense as a free pick.

“The doctrine of natural jurisprudence and modern-day theories about the nature of justness are both attempts to do sense of the cardinal paradox of the human experiences of single freedom and duty in a causally determined universe.”

Postivist Criminology

Positivism was a term foremost used during the same period as the term ‘sociology’ and could be argued to be the first sociological position . Positivism is a strict scientific attack to sociology, societal reform and societal research and a rejection of divinatory doctrines ( hence a rejection of the classical theoretical account of criminology ) . Positivism is interested in logical, mathematical procedures and pull stringsing statistics, “irrespective of whether they refer to worlds or Equus caballuss or hairbrushes.”

Influenced by Darwinism, positivists see methods of analyzing the physical universe as utile for analyzing society . Positivism can be divided into three countries, biological, psychological and sociological. Early rationalist criminologists focussed on organic structure types and physical properties of persons, associating the physical with personality and criminalism. This is indispensable biological positivism and may be seen as naive, but physical visual aspect continues to be cardinal in a person’s premises of other people .

Lombrosso, a Nineteenth Century doctor and ‘founder of modern criminology’ , identified physical characteristics of captives, associating different condemnable activities to size of custodies, form of olfactory organ, and peculiarly phrenology ( bumps on the caput ) .

The felon in a rationalist model is driven to perpetrate offenses through some outside force and non under his ain control. Although the phrenology facet may be absurd now, the theory behind this determinism persists in modern criminology, for illustration condemnable profiling and concentrate on genetic sciences. Surveies in the 1970’s used new biotechnology to analyze felons in the hopes of happening some biological markers, for case one such survey found that though there is normal distribution of chromosome length in both condemnable group and random newborn male childs, average length of Y chromosome was significantly higher in the condemnable males . Other surveies have looked at degrees of testosterone, an excess Y chromosome in aggressive males, the influence of diet and other such biological grounds for condemnable behavior.

Psychological positivism focuses on personality and attitude as holding an influence on behavior. It draws on some established psychological theories such as larning theory, Bowlby and Freud , and uses these to show that a individual is likely to go a condemnable due to their personality type ( whether learned or built-in ) , therefore losing their free pick. Both psychological and sociological positivism have been popular in the latter portion of the 20th century.

Sociological positivism turns off from the single wrongdoer and examines the society in which they live. A well-known early sociological rationalist, Durkheim ( 1858-1917 ) quoted by Pond , saw offense as natural and indispensable for boundary scene. Without perverts, it would be impossible to find what is normal. Later sociologists saw offense as being linked to other societal jobs, such as poorness, infant mortality, hooky and self-destruction. In more recent old ages, the geographical function of piquing rates has been popular among sociologists, associating offenders’ vicinities and piquing behavior. Succinctly it may be that in certain civilizations, a certain degree of offense is expected and possibly socially acceptable.

Sociology has commandeered criminology and psychologists and life scientists, peculiar in survey of personality, are devalued. Human diverseness is of import and non in resistance to societal theory of condemnable behavior .

What links these positive theoretical accounts is the deficiency of free will of wrongdoers, whether it is that their behavior is physically determined, learned or cultured, they offend because they have small other pick. The chief job with these theoretical accounts is that there are many non-offenders who match the profile of wrongdoers, whether biologically, psychologically or from the same societal background , so that the rationalist theoretical account can non to the full account for condemnable activity.

Therefore the interaction between influences ( rationalist ) and pick ( classical ) may be the most acceptable account for criminalism.

Social Constructionist

There is no individual definition of societal contructionism, but there are some wide similarities between societal constructionists . An of import position is to take a critical position of ‘taken for granted’ cognition, therefore both classical and positive believing come under examination. In a societal constructionist model, criminalism is seen as a building in peculiar legal powers of condemnable jurisprudence at certain historical minutes. For illustration, what is considered condemnable activity in one state or historical epoch may non be condemnable in a different scene. This suggests that it is a merchandise of political and normative struggle, a inquiry of power dealingss, necessitating reading instead than simple nonsubjective measuring and/or philosophical averment.

The societal constructionist position suggests that “representations of people ( e.g. as ‘free individuals’ as ‘masculine’ or as ‘well-educated’ ) can function to back up power inequalities between them, while go throughing off such representations as just or somehow natural.” Power is defined as the ability of an single to obtain sought-after resources such as money, belongings, leisure clip, honoring occupations, but besides extends every bit far as holding an impact on the universe and other people’s lives.

Crimes change over clip, either by new engineering enabling a antecedently unexpected activity which becomes condemnable, or by attitudes towards condemnable activity altering and therefore this activity being decriminalised. “ efore the Temperance motion, rummies were seen as wholly responsible for their behavior and hence blameworthy.” Then came a move off from seeing inebriation as a offense and towards seeing alkies as victims.

Crime is besides seen as a political building. “For Marxists, the criminogenic nature of Capitalism accounted for the normalcy of offense and therefore the demand to concentrate elsewhere, on unequal societal agreements and non single actors.”

The correlativity between category and offense has been referred to as a myth, nevertheless a reanalysis of the grounds has suggested that this is political rightness. Although there are felons within all categories, it is still possible to asseverate that “a low category place is a beginning of serious offenses against individuals and property.” Therefore as category is a building, so is criminalism.

Is Crime Normal?

When turn toing the inquiry of whether criminalism is normal, it is necessary to clear up what is considered ‘criminality’ and a definition of ‘normal’ . Criminalism may be the action of perpetrating a offense, but a individual could be referred to as holding a ‘criminal personality’ even if they have non yet committed a offense but program to make so. The desire to offend in itself could be an act of criminalism. Normality can be defined as what is usual, most common and natural. Thus in some fortunes, perpetrating offenses may be more normal than non making so. From a societal constructionist point of position, nil is taken for granted. Human society is constructed and without civilization we may be populating like animate beings, governed by the endurance of the fittest. The force of this power battle would non needfully be condemnable as there would be no jurisprudence to offend. Thus the reply to the inquiry is both yes and no.


Andrews, D. A. & A ; Wormith, J. S. ( 1989 ) Personality and Crime: Knowledge Destruction and Construction in CriminologyJustice Quarterly6 ( 3 )

Burr, V. ( 1995 )An Introduction to Social ConstructionismLondon: Routledge

Brail, S. ( 1995 ) The Price of Admission: Harassment and Free Speech in the Wild, Wild West In: Cherny, L. & A ; Reba Weise, E ( explosive detection systems )Wired Womans: Gender and New Realities in Cyberspace, Toronto: Seal Press pp.141-157

Carrabine, E. , Iganski, P. , Lee, M. , Plummer, K. & A ; South, N. ( 2004 )Criminology: A Sociological IntroductionLondon: Routledge

Clelland, D. & A ; Carter T. J. ( 1980 ) The New Myth Of Class And CrimeCriminology18 ( 3 ) pp. 319-336

Jefferson, T. ( 2002 ) For a Psychosocial Criminology in: Carrington, K. & A ; Hogg, R. ( explosive detection systems )Critical Criminology: Issues, Debates, ChallengesWillan Publishing pp.145-167

Halfpenny, P. ( 2001 ) Positivism in the Twentieth Century in Ritzer, G. & A ; Smart, B. ( explosive detection systems. )Handbook of Social TheoryLondon: Sage Publications

Nielsen, J. & A ; Friedrich, U. ( 1972 ) Length of the Y chromosome in condemnable malesClinical Geneticss3 ( 4 ) pp. 281-285

Pond, R. ( 1999 )Introduction to CriminologyHampshire: Waterside Press

Weinreb, L. L. ( 1987 )Natural Law and JusticeBoston, MASS: Harvard University Press


You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *