Essay on The Positivist School of Criminology

Essay on The Positivist School of Criminology

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The positivist school was created in the 1800's and was based on the principle that the only way to truly understand something in society was by looking at it from a scientific point of view (Adler, Mueller, and Laufer 2012). There were many people who contributed to the positivist school, however the person who first placed an emphasis on a scientific approach was Auguste Comte (Adler et al 2012). By approaching criminology in a more scientific way, a lot more progress was made, as people began to consider the reasons for criminal behavior from a different perspective. Another key figure in the positive school was Charles Darwin (Adler et al 2012). When he proposed the theory of evolution it caused society to become more open-minded in regards to their views about the world, as people started to rely more on science (Adler et al 2012). Due to the contributions from Comte and Darwin, the positive school of thought was able to gain traction and in turn was able to help develop the field of criminology.
After Comte and Darwin developed their theories about the world, they were followed by several criminologists who also believed that science could answer many of the problems that were present in society, particularly in the field of criminology. One of these men was Cesare Lombroso, who was the first to actually focus on criminology as a science (Adler et al 2012). Lombroso believed criminals could be identified because of physical differences between them and non-criminal members of society (Adler et al 2012). In order to recognize these people he created what he called the "atavistic stigmata" which are characteristics exhibited by humans who were less developed (Adler et al 2012:66). Individuals who exhi...


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...hool of criminology is one of the oldest and most influential principles in the history of criminology. It finally got people to view criminals in a scientific way as opposed to some of the other, less effective methods which had been used previously. While Cesare Lombroso was the first to apply positivism to criminology, it was made possible by the efforts of Auguste Comte, who was the first person to suggest trying to solve problems using scientific reasoning (Adler et al 2012). Also the work of Charles Darwin was able to make society more receptive to the idea of science being an acceptable way to answer questions and solve problems in society. Those three men were able to make criminology a more legitimate and respected field.



Works Cited

Adler, Freda, Gerhard O. W. Mueller, and William S. Laufer. Criminology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

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