Is crime an abnormal Act?
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Is crime an abnormal Act? Is crime an abnormal act committed by an abnormal person? An average person confronted with the question, "Is crime an abnormal act committed by an abnormal person"?, would undoubtedly say, ÔÇ£YesÔÇ?. They would consider themselves, perhaps not angelic, but certainly law-abiding members of society; however, if these so-called, ÔÇÿlaw-abidingÔÇÖ citizens were to take a little time to analyse the question, their answer might be very different; moreover, they might discover the ÔÇÿgeneÔÇÖ of criminality is in us all! Crime and deviance is not only a normal part of society, it is undoubtedly a product of its very existence! We shall see how such is the case through the work of some great individuals (Durkheim & Merton) who took the time to ÔÇÿthinkÔÇÖ about the question, and used a variety of theories to explain their subsequent answers. We shall explore their theories that will direct us towards a realistic answer. In pursuit of an answer to the aforementioned question, one must first understand the question itself and its very meaning. Crime itself is a very transient term; it is something that varies through the passage of time, society, geography, and by who commits the act. A sad, yet perfect instance would be the taking of life.
To further reinforce the effective pursuance of these norms and thus, social control, positive sanctions (rewards) are also applied. Yet, crime is still perpetrated, victims realised and negative sanctions enforced. Every possible reasoning has been applied at some time or another to try and explain the reasons for this. Cesare Lombroso, an Italian army doctor, is considered by many as the founder of the scientific biological school of criminology drew physiological conclusions. LombrosoÔÇÖs infamous work, LÔÇÖUomo Delinquente (1876), first developed the idea of the ÔÇÿatavisticÔÇÖ criminal. Atavism, a term originally used by Charles Darwin, suggests that in the process of human evolution some individuals can represent a genetic ÔÇÿthrowbackÔÇÖ. Taking up this idea, Lombroso contended that the criminal individual was born so. Physical indication of criminal potential could be identified through specific bodily characteristics, all of which suggested the bearer was a throwback from a more primitive age. These physical characteristics included abnormal teeth, extra nipples, extra or missing toes and fingers, large ears and overly prominent jawbones. Later research however, found no support for LombrosoÔÇÖs ideas. This did not mark the end of physiological theories, though. Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck found a casual relationship between biological factors and delinquency. These factors were based on physical build; they argue that stocky round individuals (mesomorph)
The labelling of an individual leads to the judgement of his actions through the assigned label, leading to a reinforcement of the label. The criminal would seek out others who would not judge him to be anything other than normal; these would undoubtedly be persons of the same affliction. Income opportunities within the group would likely be illegal, arrest would eventually follow and the label reinforced. There are many theories as to the cause of crime, and I am sure more will develop with time and understanding. In answer to the question ÔÇÿIs crime an abnormal act committed by an abnormal person?ÔÇÖ that answer must be, no. Crime has always existed and always will. In capitalist societies, we force feed the idea of monetary value and expect the poorer, less able public to accept their lot; this is clearly wrong. We must accept that crime is a normal part of every society and a consequence of its existence; we have all committed some small crime whether we like to think so or not, we are generally in a position where we do not have to commit crime due to our circumstances but others are not. The proportion of crime seems to be directly attributable to each individual societyÔÇÖs moral view upon crime, poverty and justice. Even in a world of saints there would be deviance but what would be deemed as deviance would be of a relative nature and thus, petit to our own morally bankrupt society.
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