MSc In Security & Risk Management
March 2010 Intake
Critically evaluate biological and sociological theories and discuss how these contribute to the explanation for the occurrence of crime.
Are criminals born or are criminals made? This is a question that many criminologists have researched into and tried and come to a conclusive answer. However the majority are divided into two main schools of thought; those believing in the nurture methodology (made criminals) and the latter in the nature approach (born criminals). There are many theories as to how and why people commit criminal acts; this essay will critically assess two of these, biological and sociological. Firstly, it will be shown how different biological theories have come about and how they contribute to the 'who and why' in criminological theory. Secondly, we will look in detail at the more recent sociological theories and see how these are more adept in explaining the roots of the criminal mind. After looking into the two theories it will then be shown how these may play a part in the occurrence of crime.
These two classes of theory in themselves have many sub theories which have developed over time, some new and some just different interpretations of previous ones. In such a discipline as criminology, with such a large range of empirically driven quantities, it would be useful to categorize and illustrate the numerous interpretations of theories. Criminal theories are classed in two main schools of thought, the positivist and classical approach, positivism is the search for the causes of crime using scientific method, as opposed to the classical approach, which relies upon free will as the main cause of crime.
One of the founders of modern criminology and leaders, Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), thought that people were born predisposed to antisocial behaviour (Bartol,