skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 73437 Find in a Library
Title: Limits and Likelihood of a Psychoanalytic Reflection in Criminology
Journal: Deviance et Societe  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1979)  Pages:301-322
Author(s): J M Labadie
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 22
Format: Article
Language: French
Country: Switzerland
Annotation: Within the limitations imposed by their lack of practical experience in the realities of crime, psychoanalysts can contribute valuable insights to criminological research on the psychological correlates of crime.
Abstract: Psychoanalysts gain little practical experience through personal contact with criminals since their only role in the criminal justice court is that of forensic psychiatry. As a consequence, psychonalysts have been forced to rely on the theoretical models of crime and deviance in trying to formulate psychological explanations for transgression. One psychoanalytical theory considers the cause of deviant and criminal behavior to be arrested emotional growth, i.e., a failure of the superego (or critical conscience) to develop. Another theory ascribes criminal acts to an inner conflict between the criminal's libido and the demands of his superego, which he considers impossibly high and from which he tries to escape by regressing to the stage of primary narcissism, dominated by archaic, ancestral, patterns of violence. A third psychoanalytical approach conceptualizes that the criminal already suffers from an overwhelming feeling of guilt before he actually commits the act which was prefigured in his psyche: he seeks release by acting out his impulses, because he is unable to verbalize his criminal fantasies. Generally, psychoanalysts view criminal and deviant behavior as the acting out of inner conflicts, including those created by the Oedipus complex. Criminologists, on the other hand, argue that in the scenario of crime which they observe at first hand every day, socioeconomic and situational factors, such as poverty, anomie, and rejection, play the chief roles. However, many criminologsts do not reject entirely the theories of psychoanalysis on the grounds that they can explain some of the criminogenic factors related to the psychodynamics of the criminal act. Fourteen references are appended.
Index Term(s): Conflict theory; Criminology; Deviance; Emotional disorders; Forensic psychiatry; Psychological theories; Psychopaths; Situational theory; Social conditions; Socially challenged; Sociopaths
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.