Criminology in Social Policy


What is criminology?

- The study of crime and criminal justice systems.

- Investigates the causes of crime.

-Looks at why certain acts are classed as 'crimes', and how this reflects on the societey around it. 

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What are the different schools of criminology?

-The Italian School

-Socially-orientated positism


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What is The Italian School?

-The very first school of criminology, origionating in the early 1800s. 

-The ideas of Cesare Lombroso. 

-Suggested crime was down to biology, and people who commit crimes are predetermined to do this. 

-Didn't consider any other factors to an individual's life e.g. enviromental factors. 

-Pioneered the use of scientific techniques when looking at crime, thus making criminology as scientific subject.

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What is socially-orientated positivism?

-Response to IS. Argues that the social enviroment surrounding someone may be the main reason if they commit crimes or not. 

-Emile Durkhiem was the founder of this school. 

-Investigates why we class certian things as 'crimes' and why this changes throughout time. e.g. How criminal law as become less strict. 

-The 'conscience collective' - The morals and values that a society shares, basic ideas of what is right and wrong. The criminal laws this societey makes will reflect these values. 

-Functionalism - The view that crime can be useful as it can change or maintain the conscience collective. 

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What is the Marxist school?

-Developed in the late 1800s by Karl Marx. 

-Consisted of the ideas of the Base and Superstructure:

  • Base - The separation of social groups into classes designated by their different roles in industrial production. 
  • Superstructure - Things that maintain these divisions. e.g. religion, race, culture, sport and media. 

-The Lumpenprolatariate - The 'Lower prolatariate', or the poorest in society. This is where the majority of what capitalist society views as a 'crime' occurs. 

-Suggests that criminal law is created by the bourgeoisie to protect their interests and isolate the prolatariate, and that it is not a true reflection what a society actually considers criminal. 

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