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NCJ Number: 165990 Find in a Library
Title: Biological Positivism (From Exploring Delinquency: Causes and Control, P 109-119, 1996, Dean G Rojek and Gary F Jensen, eds. -- See NCJ-165981)
Author(s): M R Gottfredson; T Hirschi
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Roxbury Publishing Co.
Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044
Sale Source: Roxbury Publishing Co.
P.O. Box 491044
Los Angeles, CA 90049-9044
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper examines the origins of biological positivism and assesses contemporary biological positivism.
Abstract: To compare the physical characteristics of "criminals" and "noncriminals," biological positivism accepted the state's definition of crime as a violation of law and of the criminal as someone arrested, convicted, and sentenced for a crime. Acceptance of the state's definition of crime, science's presumed view of causation, and the substantive variables assigned to it by the disciplinary division of labor did not lead biological positivism to a concept of crime. On the contrary, this led it to search for the biological causes of state-defined crime. Consequently, biological positivism has produced little in the way of meaningful or interpretable research. Instead, it has produced a series of "findings" (e.g., physiognomy, feeblemindedness, XYY, inheritance of criminality) that survived only so long as necessary to subject them to replication or to straightforward critical analysis. 4 tables, 1 figure, 3 notes, and 23 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Genetic influences on behavior; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquency theory
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