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Criminology: Criminality Essay

  • Submitted by: terra18
  • on March 2, 2011
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 1,669 words

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Below is an essay on "Criminology: Criminality" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Question: what is meant by ‘criminality’ and why is it something that Classicists would not consider?

To the Classical school of criminology, the notion of ‘criminality’ is objected. A product of Positivist criminology, criminality equates to or is closely aligned with the notion of ‘sickness’. Be it a biological, biosocial or social concept of causation, to assert that a particular person possesses criminality is to proclaim a certain predisposition and therefore a strong tendency to commit law breaking conduct as opposed to an otherwise normal, or perhaps even “superior” counterpart. Simply put, there are those who suffer ‘criminality’, severing any rational decision making capabilities and as such, crime is a symptom of this supposed ‘sickness’. To the Positivist criminologist then, criminals are starkly different to non-criminal inhabitants due to their inherent criminality which can be cured with the appropriate treatment and not punishment. Already, we see a disharmony between Positivist and Classicist thinking in which the latter advances the notion of equality of all men, predicated on the firm belief that all men exist under the empire of reason. ‘Criminality’ is therefore a concept foreign to Classical thinkers evidently because it denies their fundamental proposition of humans as free-thinking, rationally calculating, self interested beings. But before we submerge into a discussion as to why Classicists would not consider ‘criminality’, we must acquaint ourselves with the fundamental conceptions of Classical and Positivist theory at least, to understand the concept of ‘criminality’.

With the brutality of the ‘Dark Ages’ through capricious responsibility, extreme judicial discretion and barbarous punishments, the Enlightenment era created thinkers who reacted strongly against such a system. As such the Classical school of criminology emphasized the usefulness, the necessary, the just and the impartial ends for which laws were instituted.   The fight...

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