Compare and Contrast two criminological approaches to understanding the commission of crime

1060 words 5 pages
“Compare and Contrast two criminological approaches to understanding the commission of crime.”

Criminologists seek to understand the commission of crime in a given society, attempting to figure out why certain crimes occur, and then to study how these can be prevented, and deterred by individuals. The two key approaches I will examine in this assignment is that of the early 'Classicalist' approach, and the opposing 'Positivist' approach, each of which are crucial for understanding modern criminology today. In the late eighteenth century Britain went through an Enlightenment period, which is also referred to as 'The Age of Reason' (Paine, 1794) and this is because reason was emphasised over religion, secularisation transformed
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The founder of this theory was Ceseare Lombroso, who claimed he had discovered the causes of crime. He concluded that the criminal man was physically different to normal people arguing that they had physical stigmata, abnormal attributes to their skull and jaw. Lombroso opposed the earlier classicalist thinking, as he believed that criminals were born different, crime was inevitable for them as they had specific traits in their biology, it was not out of free-will and and rational thinking why criminals commit crimes as the Classicalist approach would suggest. After 3000 anthropometric measurements he found some biological traits of criminals, and then argued that criminals could be visibly distinguished by their physical characteristics which included: high cheek bones, flattened or turned up nose and a low sloping forehead (Lombroso, 1876). After the intense research of his, he was able to identify distinct types of criminals – the born criminals who are biologically different from the law abider’s because they have not evolved properly, then there are the epileptics and insane criminals who are also abnormal humans however not born so, then lastly followed by the 'criminaloids' who were occasional criminals, and also not born so. Ceseare Lombroso has said to be the founding father of modern criminology because of his unique ways of thinking about the commission of crime; today his work is still