The Contribution Of Criminological Theory

2187 WordsNov 21, 20149 Pages
With reference to two or more of the theories covered in this module, critically assess the contribution that criminological theory could make to our understanding of an issue of crime, justice or punishment. The way in which a society criminalises a persons actions has been, and still is, and heavily debated topic. From pre-enlightenment; where by 'crimes ' were seen as action against the natural order, to a more modern stance that the notion of crime in itself is socially constructed. Crime is widely defined as an 'action or omission which constitutes an offence and is punishable by law ' but of course what we classify as crime not only is subjective to the given society but also the period of time in which the crime was committed.…show more content…
Lombroso distinguished between different categories of criminals, including the born criminal and the criminaloid. Lombroso produced findings indicating that born criminals had similar facial features which included large teeth/jaws and sloping foreheads. Criminaloids, however, had no physical characteristics of a born criminal but transcended into a criminal life during their socialisation due to environmental contributing factors. Criminaloids supposedly committed less severe crimes than born criminals however. Other theories in the 70s payed attention to whether violent males had an extra chromosome causing them to play a part in criminal behaviour, this theory however was later disproved. These biological based theories were still being explored in the 90 's when leading psychologist Philippe Ruston claimed that Asians had a bigger brain size and were more likely to be law abiding and intelligent when compared to European citizens. In stark contrast to this positivist focus on the inherent nature of a criminal we have Social learning Theory that theorises crime by looking at nurture. Social Learning Theory states that aggression is leaned from reinforcement and imitation of this behaviour. The most famous example of this is Banduras study in 1965 in which he discovered if children had seen adults acting aggressively to a Bobo doll they then mimicked this behaviour. On the matter if theory Bandura
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