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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76968 Find in a Library
Title: Taboos in Criminology
Editor(s): E Sagarin
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 148
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The text examines areas in criminological research affected by social and political taboos (attitudes in the scientific, political, and social arenas which tend to make certain research areas or findings forbidden).
Abstract: Opening articles establish that public policy analysts and even the scientific community do not support scientic inquiry that has the potential of challenging the underpinnings of social and political values being pressed by powerful political and social movements. Research into intelligence and race and their influence on delinquency is cited as a taboo area because of its potential to provide fuel for racist attitudes and even genocide. Fearing the label of racist, Nazi, or facist, many researchers avoid any research whose findings may be interpreted as implying the biological or social inferiority of any race or ethnic group. A scientist who has been involved in such research recounts the resistance he found in the scientific community to the publishing of his research, and he argues that certain popular views of reality should not intimidate the researcher such that controversial scientific inquiry is narrowed or suppressed in the interest of maintaining the pretense that certain social values have a scientific base. Research regarding the influence of the feminist movement on the dramatic increase in violent crime, aggressive offenses, and larceny by women is cited as another taboo area of research. Those who resist such research want to perpetuate the image of women as exploited victims of men, rather than as persons who, when functioning under the same socioeconomic opportunities as men, may also become the exploiters and the victimizers. The history of the taboo role of biological research in criminology is also reviewed. A concluding chapter presents rebuttals to the notion that resistance to certain scientific findings necessarily implies a taboo subject has been transgressed. Within the scientific community, it is argued, controversy is almost always based upon challenges to methodology, data reliability, or data analysis, rather than upon the desire to maintain a certain view of reality. References accompany each presentation.
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Criminology; Cultural influences; Ethnic groups; Female offenders; Feminism; Genetic influences on behavior; Intelligence Quotient (IQ); Juvenile delinquency factors; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Political influences; Racial discrimination; Research
Note: Sage Research Progress Series in Criminology volume 15.
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