Functionalist Criminological Theory And Its Impact On Society

1496 Words May 6th, 2016 null Page
Positivist criminological theory emerged within the nineteenth century, primarily focussing on explanations of crime by examining the forces and aspects outside an individual’s decision-making capability. The capacity of positivist criminology to explain reasons for violent crimes, particularly family violence, has resulted in a multitude of theories and definitions aiming to explain their impact on society. Family violence incorporates violence between family members and intimate partners, while also encompassing links with psychological child abuse as a secondary victim (Department of Human Services, 2015). Although positivist criminological theory has the ability to explain the psychological and biological factors that may result in domestic violence, it has trouble in using these same theories to explain incidents of female perpetrators and risks creating dangerous false positives.
Biological positivism was originally popularised by the work of Cesare Lombroso through an extension of the theories and intellectual thought present in and around the 20th century. Lombroso identified particular characteristics in males, such as an excessively large jaw, unusually small or large ears, an abnormally large or small skull and a flattened nose, which predisposed a person to criminality (Brown et al., 2015). Biological theories aiming to explain family violence caused by men have arrived at two dominant theories in research over the last 20 years (Cunningham, 1998). Cunningham’s…

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