Kerrianne Thomas Short Writing Assignment 2
Christy Johnson October 31, 2008
In researching the biological and psychological explanations of crime, I realize there are limitations. Also, I have come to know deviance is correlated with, but does not define, crime. Moreover, I will show how the sociological approach is a stronger method to understanding crime in society. In this paper, each concept will be clarified.
A biological cause was the basis in early studies (1876) of criminality. A physician, Cesare Lombroso, claimed criminals had apelike features. Later another man, William Sheldon, studied and suggested that delinquency was common among boys with strong physical builds. Sheldon Glueck and Eleanor Glueck (1950) agreed, though they “cautioned that a powerful build does not necessarily cause or even predict criminality“(p175). They suggested that people act aggressively towards boys with muscular builds with the expectation of them being bullies. Therefore, the boys act out aggressively towards others.
Psychological explanation shows that deviance is a trait of ones personality. A few personality traits are shaped by genetics, though most psychologists believe personality is formed as a result of social experience. As said by Macionis (2007), “Deviance then, is viewed as the result of unsuccessful’ socialization” (p.175). Deviance is the behavior sharply different from the norm or the accepted standard. Norms are directed towards nearly all human activities so it is viewed rather generally. Just as the biological explanation, psychological explanations of deviance focus on individual abnormality. “Biological and psychological theories provide a limited understanding of crime and other deviance because most violations are carried out by people who are normal” (p.201).
The social-conflict approach looks at deviance as a result of inequality in society, not so much their body shape. The symbolic-interaction approach looks...