Etiology of Crime
There are many theories to the development of criminal behavior - Etiology of Crime introduction. Equal in number are the perspectives. These studies of etiology of crime have increasingly expanded from focusing on the individual to include more external factors. Understanding the development and causes of criminal behavior is critical in developing measures to prevent them and the impact they have to others and society as a whole. Consider the illustrative model given.
The model for the study of the etiology crime shows the interaction of psychological, sociological, economic and political aspects on what defines crime and the perspectives by which they are committed. The model shows that these perspective interact with each other and consequently to individual criminal behavior. Psychological The most basic perspectives on the development of criminal behavior are based on psychological studies of motivation, learning and response.
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The primary perspective that psychology provides is regarding the how crime is related to the internal interactions of individuals as they learn the concept of what is permitted and what is not and how they ultimately respond to it (Coser, 2004). Behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism all have varying suggestions as to how a person learns that an act will not be accepted, what motivates individuals to follow these learned conditions and explanations as to the responses people have for them (Zucker, & Ichiyama, 1996).
These are not exclusively associated with criminal acts, and are instead used to explain all actions whether they are accepted by society or not (Bandura, 1975). For example, a psychodynamic motivation theory suggests that the conscious and unconscious elements in a person’s personality and experience are ctical to his motivations and thus his actions and thusly to crime (Mitchell, 1984). The drive for satisfying these motivations in turn gives basis for the criminal act (Mook,1987).
Similarly, Papernik (1985) points out that the struggle that exists between the conscious and unconscious mind regardless of their nature or purpose directly affect motivation. Sociological Researches have concluded the significance of society structures alone do not directly contribute to criminal incidence but it is the response to the manner by which these structures affect the individual’s environment, situation and function as an individual and in society that influences the nature or origin of development criminal tendencies (McCord, 1981).
Society defines what constitutes a criminal act which though may be identical with many other societies may not be essentially universal or absolute. Social rules that are the basis of what becomes to be considered as criminal behavior is based on social constructs that members have agreed upon to preserve their society (Atkinson et al, 1993). Therefore, if the social construct of one society differs from another, an act acceptable to one may not be acceptable in the other (Myers, 2003).
For example, take the issue of punishment that results in forms of social exclusion causes such as incarceration or limitations on civil rights. In principle, any rule that deters the freedom of a member of the society is in contradiction to the core purpose of crating a society which is to afford an individual the safety and freedom to exercise his rights within the society (Mitchell, 1984). But some actions have to be identified by the society as crimes to be able to preserve and ensure the rights of others.
Thus, the definition of a criminal act depends on what society believes is to be a danger to it or a danger to its members and its ideological foundations: evading taxes is a crime because it denies the state dues from citizens whom it uses to preserve social and civil institutions. Economic Recent experience to the impact of economics to the prevalence of crime is closely related to resource needs.
The central idea in using economic perspectives in understanding the etiology of crime is based on the theory that as economic pressures can motivate individuals to commit crimes to be able to gain economic advantage or to merely meet their most basic needs for resources (Reeve, 2005). Take the issue of slavery, though abolitionist ideologies were basic to any society or religion that prescribed to free will and liberty, the lucrative slave trade encouraged the industry even when it was deemed a criminal act (Sincliar, 2001)
Sinclair further points out during the Great Depression, in an age were America stood for civil liberty and rights, workers tolerated illegal labor practices and even protected the companies they worked for because of the fear of losing one’s only means of livelihood. Thus, the incidence and acceptance of crime can be seen as a consequence of social pressures that may not necessarily be true to an individual. Political Policies are formulated to regulate actions.
To differentiate this module from the sociological module, it should be kept in mind that political perspectives in the etiology of crime are based on the interaction of the individual against political institutions such a government and not necessarily the society itself. In this perspective, criminal acts are a bid to diminish the power of the state over the individual (Bandura, 1975). At the same time, the definition of what is criminal may simply based on the motivation of preserving the power and integrity of the state.
A state may then make a previously lawful act to become unlawful to protect its interests despite the innocence of an act. As much as the state creates laws to preserve what it considers then to become criminal acts, individuals also act against them to protect what they believe is within their rights or as protest in violation of the same rights (Zucker, & Ichiyama, 1996). Conclusion There should be an understanding that there can be no absolute explanation as to why a person commits a crime as much as there is no absolute explanation to the motivations of individuals.
Also, the very definition of what is criminal behavior is not absolute and they differ in every society and have different purposes. In a study of etiology of crime, there are four modules of approaches that can be used. For the purpose, the four modules that are proposed involve a psychological, sociological, political and economic influence to the development of criminal behavior or tendencies.