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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136138 Find in a Library
Title: Epistemological Problems in Criminology (From Advances in Criminological Theory, Volume 2, P 145-153, 1990, William S Laufer and Freda Adler, eds. -- See NCJ-136131)
Author(s): A Yakovlev
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: Transaction Publishers
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Sale Source: Transaction Publishers
Rutgers-the State University
140 West Ethel Road
Units L-M
Piscataway, NJ 08854
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Restrictions are placed on the critical function of criminology by reification and deification in criminological theory.
Abstract: Criminology as a science occupies a peculiar position among the social sciences. Criminology must study, describe, and explain something that is considered extremely undesirable for a given society, something that reveals society's shortcomings and weaknesses. Aberrations between social and material facts express themselves in the so-called reification of social processes among them being such categories as crime, criminality, and criminal personality. In criminology, the concept of reification expresses itself in the "natural crime" conception. It focuses on crimes that are inherently criminal and that are considered unchangeable in their properties. The process of incorporating certain facts and events into a society's informational system depends on the sociopolitical organization of society. The process of perceiving and evaluating these facts and events depends on dominant sociopsychological attitudes, opinions, and stereotyped notions. Whether a material fact becomes a social fact or whether a given event receives the status of crime, depends not only on the legal definition and prohibition, but also on the event's evaluation by persons who witness or suffer from it. Deification as an epistemological aberration in criminological research arises out of real properties of the cognitive process and is a result if overestimation or exaggeration of the subjective side of social facts. Deification leads to ascribing the decisive role in crime conception to such objectified, definite, but ideal categories as morals, ethics, and law. By seeing social facts as identical with material ones and ignoring the specificity of social facts, criminological researchers are in danger of reifying social facts and ascribing to them the properties of things or material objects. 6 references and 1 table
Main Term(s): Criminology theory evaluation
Index Term(s): Criminal justice research; Public Opinion of Crime; Social organization
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