CRIMINOLOGY. Crime and Essentialism. What is Essentialism?. Regarding something as having an innate existence or universal quality that cannot be altered or changed; a rejection of social factors as having an impact of the behavior of human beings and the access people have within a system.
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CRIMINOLOGY Crime and Essentialism
What is Essentialism? • Regarding something as having an innate existence or universal quality that cannot be altered or changed; a rejection of social factors as having an impact of the behavior of human beings and the access people have within a system.
phrenology • One of the earliest explanations of crime • Concerned with the size and shape of the skull • Popular from the mid 1700s to the mid 1800s
Francis Gall • Thought that three major regions of the brain govern three types of behavior and personality characteristics: • Intellectual • Moral • Lower-more prevalent in criminals • Because phrenologists could not directly measure the three brain regions, they reasoned that the size and shape of the skull corresponded to the brain’s size and shape
Cesare Lombroso & Atavism • Founder of the classical school of criminology • Founder of the positivist school
Lombroso & Atavism • Viewed criminals as “atavist” or throwbacks to an earlier stage of evolution • Criminals were evolutionary accidents who resembled primitive people more than modern people
Lombroso & Atavism • Evidence came from measurements of the bodies of men in Italian prisons that he compared to his measurements of the bodies of Italiam soldiers
Lombroso & Women • In his book The Female Offender (1895) he wrote that women were more likely than men to be atavists • Thought women had many traits in common with children in that their “moral sense is deficient”
Earnest Hooton & Biological Inferiority • In 1939 published two books that reported the results of his measurement of 14k male prisoners and 3,200 control group subjects
Hooton and Biology • Determined that compared to his control group, prisoners tended to have low foreheads, crooked noses, narrow jaws, small ears, long necks and stooped shoulders • Labeled criminals “organically inferior” and “low grade human organisms”
Hooton & Biological Inferiority • Hooton recommended that governments could reduce crime by sterilizing criminals or exiling them to reservations
William Sheldon & Body Shape • body structure as a predictor of criminality • Somatology-people’s body shapes affect their personalities and the crimes they commit • Endomorphs • Mesomorphs • ectomorph
Contemporary Biological Explanations *Genetic explanations *Diet and Nutrition *Neurochemical factors *Early Puberty *Pregnancy and Birth Complications