The Theories Of Crime And Crime Essay

1926 Words Nov 14th, 2014 null Page
In this essay, classicist explanations of crime and criminality will be compared and contrasted against positivist explanations of crime and criminality. The social world is always changing, influencing how society views crime (White and Haines, 2008). This causes the explanations provided by different criminological theories to vary. Classicism developed in the 18th century and positivism followed in the 19th century (Tierney, 2006), offering different concepts of criminality, however there are some comparisons. This essay will progress by detailing how the two theories developed, their varying explanations of crime and their implications, showing similarities and differences.
In the Middle Ages, society consisted of poor social order and was subject to religious control (Hopkins Burke, 2009), impacting explanations of human behaviour. Criminals were believed to be witches, possessed by demons (Siegel, 2010) and endangering their chance of ‘salvation in the afterlife’ (Hopkins Burke, 2009:3) causing crime to be explained as an act against God. Religion also controlled legally (White and Haines, 2008), resulting in inhumane treatment and inconsistent penalties (Beccaria, 1764). Society began to question this due to feeling they deserved salvation in this life, causing the decline of the medieval period and a breakdown within society (Hopkins Burke, 2009). This created the Enlightenment which gave rise to criminology. The Enlightenment challenged the authority of the monarch…

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