Criminology Theories Biological Theory of Crime the Capstone Project

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Criminology Theories

Biological Theory of Crime

The biological or bio-physiological theory of crime regards human behavior in general and of deviance and criminality in particular as mainly the result of internal states of mind (Schmalleger, 2009). More specifically, the biological perspective, as it was originally detailed in the 19th century by Cesare Lombroso, emphasized the role of heredity in conjunction with the (then) new concept of Darwinian Evolution also in conjunction with the principles of heredity by Gregor Mendel. That approach to understanding crime was called Atavism, meaning "from the father," to reflect the idea that behavior was largely a function of the genetics passed down from each generation to subsequent generations (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Schmalleger, 2009).

According to biological perspective, criminal (an other) behavior patterns are attributable to inherent differences in brain structure, neurophysiology, neuro-chemical processes, and to hormonal and other endocrinal differences among different individuals (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Schmalleger, 2009). For example, traits such as aggressiveness, impulsiveness, greed, and violent impulses are all aspects of behavior to which individuals who commit crimes are naturally predisposed simply because those traits run in their families in every generation (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Schmalleger, 2009).

At the time of its first proposal, atavism was linked directly to supposed externally-identifying criteria such as the shape and dimensions of the face and cranium (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Schmalleger, 2009). This was the principal flaw in the original biological perspective of criminology. Since then, the field of bio-physiology has developed much more scientifically and now includes concepts of biological variation that are legitimately related to differences in human behavior. On the other hand, contemporary versions of the biological perspective emphasize the fact that biology is only one component of many that contribute to human behavior and criminality (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2008; Schmalleger, 2009).

Sociological Theory of Crime

The sociological theory of crime regards human behavior in general and of deviance and criminality in particular as mainly the result of external environment and manner in which social experiences and status relate to group and individual perspective and behavior (Macionis, 2006; Schmalleger, 2009). More specifically, the sociological theory of crime includes concepts such as anomie, proposed by 19th century theorist Emile Durkheim, and strain theory, proposed by Robert Merton and later revised by Robert Agnew (Agnew, 1992; Broidy, 2001). According to those theories (respectively), deviant and criminal behavior are substantially the result of the response of individuals to their dissatisfaction and alienation from their society, the strain caused by the inability to achieve those goals that are promoted…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Agnew, R. "Foundation for a General Strain Theory." Criminology, Vol. 30, No. 1

(1992): 47-87.

Broidy, L. "Test of General Strain Theory." Criminology, Vol. 39,

No. 1 (2001): 9-35.

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