ARAGON, LYNETH GRACE G.

A biological interpretation of formal deviance was first advanced by the Italian School of Criminology, a
school of thought originating from Italy during the mid-nineteenth century.
The school was headed by medical criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who argued that criminality was a
biological trait found in some human beings. The term Lombroso used to describe the appearance of
organisms resembling ancestral forms of life is atavism.
The idea of atavism drew a connection between an individual's appearance and their biological
propensity to deviate from social norms.
Cesare Lombroso

A biological interpretation of formal deviance was first advanced by the Italian School of Criminology, a
school of thought originating from Italy during the mid-nineteenth century. The school was headed by
medical criminologist Cesare Lombroso, who argued that criminality was a biological trait found in some
human beings. Enrico Ferri and Raffaelo Garofalo continued the Italian School as Lombroso's
predecessors. The Italian School was interested in why some individuals engaged in criminal behavior
and others did not. Their explanation was that some individuals had a biological propensity for crime.

The term Lombroso used to describe the appearance of organisms resembling ancestral forms of life is
atavism. He belived that atavism was a sign of inherent criminalities, and thus he viewed born criminals
as a form of human sub-species. Lombroso believed that atavism could be identified by a number of
measurable physical stigmata—a protruding jaw, drooping eyes, large ears, twisted and flattish nose,
long arms relative to the lower limbs, sloping shoulders, and a coccyx that resembled "the stump of a
tail. " The concept of atavism was glaringly wrong, but like so many others of his time, Lombroso sought
to understand behavioral phenomena with reference to the principles of evolution as they were
understood at the time.

Enrico Ferri

Lombroso's work was continued by Erico Ferri's study of penology, the section of criminology that is
concerned with the philosophy and practice of various societies in their attempt to repress criminal
activities. Ferri's work on penology was instrumental in developing the "social defense" justification for
the detention of individuals convicted of crimes. Ferri argued that anyone convicted of a crime should
be detained for as long as possible. According to Ferri's line of thought, if individuals committed crimes
because of their biological constitution, what was the point of deterrence or rehabilitation? For Ferri,
none of these therapeutic interventions could change the offender's biology, making them pointless.
After an individual had been convicted of a crime, the state's responsibility was to protect the
community and prevent the criminal from doing more harm—as his biology determined he would do.
Emilie durhiem
A Deviant View of Deviance

Once he convinced himself that deviance had to exist, Durkheim turned his attention to figuring out
why. His answer was that without deviance society would be incapable of adapting and changing. How
did he reach this conclusion? Durkheim turned to Darwin for inspiration.

Darwin had observed that plants and animals survive in nature because they are able to adapt to
changes in their environment, including climate change and competition from other creatures. If they
didn’t adapt they didn’t survive. Darwin suggested that one way plants and animals adapted was by
“mutating,” which means producing an unexpected difference, like a new physical characteristic or
behavior, that turns out to be advantageous for the species’ survival. Mutation was a kind of biological
deviance that helped the species survive. Was the same true for groups and societies? Did they too need
mutations (or deviants) to help them adapt to changing conditions so that they could survive?

It seemed clear to Durkheim that the answer was yes. For a society to adapt, it must produce a small but
consistent flow of people who are willing to experiment with new ways of living, thinking, and behaving.
In other words, it must produce a steady flow of deviants. If the norms of a society were so rigidly
enforced as to eliminate all deviance (think of the society of saints thesis), then such experimentation
would cease to occur, and the society would be incapable of change. Its attitudes toward such things as
women, racial minorities, tattoos, divorce, etc., would be frozen in time, unable to evolve or change
because there would be no one willing to push the boundaries and point the way toward other, better
ways of living. Durkheim summarized this observation by writing:

“Every pattern is an obstacle to new patterns, to the extent that the first pattern is inflexible. The
authority which the moral consciousness enjoys must not be excessive; otherwise no one would dare to
criticize it, and it would too easily congeal into an unchangeable form.”



Primary groups[edit]
A primary group is typically a small social group whose members share close, personal, enduring
relationships. These groups are marked by members' concern for one another, in shared activities and
culture. Examples include family, childhood friends, and highly influential social groups. The concept of
the primary group was introduced by Charles Cooley, a sociologist from the Chicago School of sociology,
in his book Social Organization: A Study of the Larger Mind. Although the group initially referred to the
first intimate group of a person's childhood, the classification was later extended to include other
intimate relations.[1] Primary groups play an important role in the development of personal identity. A
primary group is a group in which one exchanges implicit items, such as love, caring, concern, animosity,
support, etc. Examples, of these would be family groups, love relationships, crisis support groups, church
groups, etc. Relationships formed in primary groups are often long-lasting and goals in themselves. They
also are often psychologically comforting to the individuals involved and provide a source of support.

Secondary groups[edit]
People in a secondary group interact on a less personal level than in a primary group, and their
relationships are temporary rather than long lasting. Since secondary groups are established to perform
functions, people’s roles are more interchangeable. A secondary group is one you have chosen to be a
part of. They are based on interests and activities. They are where many people can meet close friends
or people they would just call acquaintances. Secondary groups are groups in which one exchanges
explicit commodities, such as labour for wages, services for payments, etc. Examples of these would be
employment, vendor-to-client relationships, etc.
In sociology and criminology, strain theory states that social structures within society may pressure
citizens to commit crime. Following on the work of Émile Durkheim, Strain Theories have been advanced
by Robert King Merton (1957), Albert K. Cohen (1955), Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin (1960), Neil
Smelser (1963), Robert Agnew (1992), and Steven Messner and Richard Rosenfeld (1994). Strain may be
either:

Structural: this refers to the processes at the societal level which filter down and affect how the
individual perceives his or her needs, i.e. if particular social structures are inherently inadequate or
there is inadequate regulation, this may change the individual's perceptions as to means and
opportunities; or
Individual: this refers to the frictions and pains experienced by an individual as he or she looks for ways
to satisfy his or her needs, i.e. if the goals of a society become significant to an individual, actually
achieving them may become more important than the means adopted.
Critique of Strain/Anomie theory

Although Merton’s Strain theory continues to play a role in the sociological theorization of crime today,
there are limitations to this theory of crime that have been identified. The first critique of this theory,
put forth by Albert Cohen, addressed the fact that there is an ample amount of crime/delinquent
behavior that is “non-utilitarian, malicious, and negativistic” (O’Grady, 2011), which highlights that not
all crimes are explicable using Merton’s theory. Although Merton could explain crimes such as fraud and
theft on the basis of innovation, he is unable to explain youth crimes that are often engaged in for social
status rather than material acquisition. Furthermore, Strain/Anomie theory fails to adequately address
issues such as race and gender. Additionally, Strain/Anomie theory is unable to explain the phenomena
of white collar crime.

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