Study Papers for First Midterm

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Criminological Theories I – Midterm 1
Chapter 1: Introduction to Theory
-Theory meets two criteria: (1) the use of objective evidence and systematic observation (2) a rational explanation of that evidence -Theories about the effect of social structure on crime rates are abstract -Theories allow us to develop and test potential solutions to problems we encounter in life -Theories explain how two or more events are related to each other and how the conditions under which the relationship takes place -Systematic observation: observation made through the use of certain rules -A good theory: one that can be tested and that best fits the evidence of research - Criteria for the utility of a theory: logical soundness (means that the theory does not propose illogical relationships, and that it is internally consistent), the ability to make sense out of several conflicting positions (means that evidence seems to indicate that there are two or more opposing facts, a theory that can reconcile those facts is a good one and is better than having different theories to account for each fact), and sensitizing ability (refers to focusing people’s attention on a new, or even forgotten, direction of inquiry, or perhaps suggesting a different way of looking at and interpreting a fact they already know) -Popularity is an indicator of a good theory

*Kinds of theories:
-unit theories: emphasize a particular problem and make testable assertions of that problem
-metatheories: rarely testable and best viewed as ways of looking and interpreting reality (“theories about theories”)
-macrotheories: broad in their scope, and explain social structure and its effects. They focus on rates of crime (epidemiology)
-microtheories: a particular way of characterizing society; characterization is then used to explain how people become criminals (etiology). Focus may be on small specific groups of people or the individual

-bridging theories: attempt to tell us both how social structure comes about and how people become criminal; often both epidemiological and etiological -Most theories use a system of three basic types of theories: biological, psychological, social *Classification schemes:

-classical: focus on legal statutes, governmental structures, and the rights of humans. The theory is concerned about the essence of the humans condition
-positivist: focus on pathology in criminal behaviour, on treatment, and on the correction of criminality within individuals
-structure: focus on the way society is organized and its effect on behaviour, some are referred to as strain theories
-process: attempt to explain how people become criminal
-consensus: those based on the assumption that there is agreement among people in society
-conflict: the assumption that disagreement is common and people hold conflicting values *THEORY→RESEARCH→POLICY (linear model with feedback between the research and the theory) Chapter 2: The Classical School

-Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, opposed the arbitrary nature of the criminal justice system of the time. They proposed that both the law and administration of justice should be based on rationality and human rights -Major concepts: humans are free-willed, rational beings; utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), civil rights and due process of law; rules of evidence and testimony; determinate sentencing; deterrence -Social heritage: arose during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, societies becoming urbanized, rule of the Church threatened, people began to understand the success of hard work, era of great thought and expression -Intellectual heritage: the Naturalists, a group of philosophers, believed experience and observation could determine much about the world, moral/ethics/responsibilities were great topics, government as a social contract, emphasis on human dignity stemming from the Enlightenment *Perspective of the school:

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