'Criminality is pathological.’ Discuss with reference to variants of classical, positivist and social constructionist theories. |
The study of criminality throughout previous decades has developed a wide range of interesting ideas and debates, and this essay will be referring to the research of classical, positivist and social constructionist theorists to tackle the idea that ‘criminality is pathological’. With both contemporary and abstract research theories in place, this essay should successfully tackle the question being asked.
Classical theory first influenced criminal law during the transformation from feudal to capitalistic society in the eighteenth century. At the time of Modernity according to Newburn (2007), classical theories had become highly significant in terms of defining the law, and also formed a platform for Europe and the U.S.A to apply punishment in a far more organised and ‘just’ manor, acknowledging that the dated capital punishment techniques including hanging had been replaced by a far more sophisticated structuralised process of punishment. Additionally Newburn illustrates that “ideas such as punishment being appropriate to the nature of the crime became foundational ideas for modern criminal justice systems.” This quote is highlighting the change in law, identifying that in modern society each deviant act has its own consequence in relation to punishment, in contrast to the laws previous to modernity, where most serious crimes were given the same capital punishment. (Newburn, 2007, p118)
Cesare Beccaria a hugely influential classical theorist developed a number of core principles in which developed and reformed the main concepts of crime which are still present in society. Beccaria suggested that certainty, celerity and severity were fundamental in preventing individuals committing crimes so frequently. Furthermore, Newburn explained that by issuing punishment directly after crimes were committed, society...