Compare Beccaria and Lombroso

2296 words 10 pages
Compare 2 Key Thinkers and Their Competing Ideologies.

Criminology is a study of crime, criminals and criminal justice. Ideas about criminal justice and crime arose in the 18th century during the enlightenment, but criminology as we know it today developed in the late 19th century. Criminology has been shaped by many different academic disciplines and has many different approaches. It explores the implications of criminal laws; how they emerge and work, then how they are violated and what happens to those violators. Laws are relative and historically shaped; they vary from time to time and from place to place (Carrabine et al, 2009).

This essay will be comparing the competing ideologies of two key thinkers in criminology; Cesare
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The ‘born criminal’ is one of Lombroso’s concepts in his development of ‘criminal types’. He is also closely associated with the view that criminal behaviour in our modern society hails from an evolutionary throw-back to a less civilised form of society. This theory is called ‘atavism’ (Hayward et al, 2010). This term was used to describe those that were not fully evolved. Lombroso argued that most humans evolve but some devolve, becoming primitive (Lombroso, 1876).

In 1859 war broke out and the four years in which Lombroso served he undertook a study of 3,000 soldiers alongside his military duties. He looked at cases of cretinism, epilepsy and pellagra which he diligently recorded. After this Lombroso worked in asylums as a director for nine years and enjoyed studying and collecting artefacts relating to primitive people (Hayward et al, 2010). Lombroso was influenced by the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin and placed them together with craniometry and phrenology to make the suggestion that criminals had primitive impulses already imprinted into their bodies (Hayward et al, 2010). In one study of the criminal man Lombroso examined sixty six skulls and found that cranial sutures in the bones of the skull were normal in only 17 cases. He found that the cranial sutures were still open in some at the age of seventy five or over and this was true of men like Pietrotto, Villella and Soldati who were all famous for eluding capture and


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