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Criminology. CLN4U. What is “crime”?. What is “criminology”?. Criminology refers to the study of the nature, causes, and means of dealing with crime. Classical Criminology. Classical theories on criminology came out of the chaos of justice in the 18th and early 19th centuries

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Criminology


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    1. Criminology CLN4U

    2. What is “crime”?

    3. What is “criminology”? • Criminology refers to the study of the nature, causes, and means of dealing with crime

    4. Classical Criminology • Classical theories on criminology came out of the chaos of justice in the 18th and early 19th centuries • Some key thinkers: • Cesare Beccaria • Jeremy Bentham

    5. Cesare Beccaria • Famous for writing On Crimes and Punishment • Humans are driven by self-interest, but are rational in their decisions • Government should act on behalf of all citizens • Citizens are prepared to give up some freedoms in exchange for protection • Existence of law should act as sufficient deterrent • Punishment should be proportionately greater than enjoyment received by disobeying

    6. Jeremy Bentham • Based his view on theory of utilitarianism • Law should ensure the greatest good for the greatest number of people • Social contract between government and people, each with clear responsibilities • Government to make clear what was illegal and what punishment would arise • Citizens to follow laws as created

    7. Positivist Criminology • Began in late 19th century • Focused on biological and psychological factors to explain criminal behaviour • Based on the idea that criminals are born, not made • nature trumps nurture • Generally discredited today

    8. Positivist Criminology • Cesare Lombroso • Studied cadavers of criminals • Argued that criminals had distinct physical features • XYY Theory • Chromosomal abnormalities may explain criminal behaviour • Debunked when researchers proved idea incorrect

    9. Sociological Criminology • Crime cannot be properly understood without examining the surrounding social, political and economic context • These theorists focus on external factors as an explanation for criminal behaviour • the offender’s race, neighbourhood, social circle, income level, education level, job or career, and type of childhood determine why a person became delinquent

    10. Sociological Criminology • Theory of Anomie • Anonymity of large urban areas diminishes effect of traditional morals and norms • Functionality • Criminal behaviour has always existed, in all communities, so it must serve a useful purpose • Criminality is a sign of non-conformity, and this can be beneficial

    11. Sociological Criminology • Ecological School • AKA the “Chicago school” • High rates of poverty and social disintegration are likely to lead to higher crime rates • Social Conflict Theories • Arose from ideas of Marx and Engels • Capitalism essentially encourages crime • Justice system protects powerful elite, decides actions of lower classes are criminal

    12. Sociological Criminology • Consensus Theory • There is a universal definition of right and wrong • Criminal laws prohibit what the majority finds wrong

    13. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • Emile Durkheim (The Division of Labor in Society, 1893) • Anomie is a breakdown of social norms and a condition where norms no longer control the activities of members in society

    14. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • Robert Messner (Social Structure and Anomie, 1938) • Argued that it was the rigid adherence to conventional American values that caused high rates of crime and deviance • Believed that the American obsession with economic success produced high levels of serious crime

    15. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • All members of American society ascribe to the “American dream” that if one were simply willing to work hard enough, one would inevitably reap the economic rewards of such labours • The problem is that despite the widespread belief in the possibility of upward social mobility, the American social structure limits individuals’ access to the goal of economic success through legitimate means • Ex: while the probability of attaining economic success would be enhanced by getting a college education, not all members of American society are able to do so

    16. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • This disjunction between culturally ascribed goals (i.e., economic success) and the availability of legitimate means to attain such goals (i.e., social structural limits) in turn puts pressure on the cultural norms that guide what means should be used to achieve the culturally prescribed goal • The result, Merton states, is that “the sole significant question becomes: Which of the available procedures is most efficient in netting the culturally approved value?”

    17. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • Key precepts of Social Conflict theory: • The capitalist system inherently fosters deviance (emphasis on competition, persisting inequality, and economic prosperity as to priority) • The justice system as a tool of oppression (purpose is to maintain social stratification and serve the interests of those in power)

    18. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • Social conflict is defined by socially unequal groups, such as the rich and the poor, competing for money and material goods • The fundamental cause of crime is oppression, resulting from social and economic forces operating within society

    19. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • How does anomie theory and social conflict theory explain the United States high rates of deviance? • Deviant behaviour in upper strata (Bernie Madoff, Enron, etc.) • Deviant behaviour in lower strata (crime rates in the ghetto, glorification of criminal lifestyle in hip hop) • Is it paradoxical that the “land of opportunity” has the highest rate of incarceration in the world? • Americans represent about 5% percent of the world's population, but nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners

    20. Case Study: The American Dream and Deviance • Read article “U.S. prison population dwarfs that of other nations” • Apply anomie and social conflict theory to explain what the United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world