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Can we assume that people who commit crimes do so because of physical or mental abnormalities By establishing and discovering the causes of crime it enables sociologists welfare states and governments to attempt to target these areas and therefore strive to reduce criminal activity In order to respond to the issue appropriately it is necessary to critically analyse the causes of crime both from a subjective view point assessing the individuals pathology or deficiency in hisher ability to reason which are caused by psychological and biological defects as well as from an objective view point looking at the social structure class gender and ethnicity which is mainly concerned with assessing the situation from a wider prospective However it is of primary importance to give a definition of crime in order to proceed Paul Tappan defined a crime as Crime is an intentional act or omission in the violation of criminal lawcommitted without defence or justification and sanctioned by the state as a felony or misdeamour From the biologists perspectives all normal individuals conform to social expectations and so those who differ must have something wrong with them Many of the first primitive explanations of crime were essentially biological in character Lombrosso 1911 created his theory of biological positivism which stated that the general theory of crime could be developed on the basis of measurable physical differences between criminal and non-criminal Eg through the size of the skull He believed that many criminals had been born with atavistic features which means that they had definite biological failings that prevented them from developing to a fully human level He coined the phrase Criminals were born and not made He accepted that social learning could influence the development of criminal behaviour but he regarded most criminals as biologically degenerate or defective Giddens 1998175 However today there is little supporting evidence to support such a theory There have been some interesting studies suggesting that the closer
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