The discipline of criminology has been dominated since the turn of the century by an explanatory paradigm' known as 'positivism'. The distinctive features of that paradigm have been both substantive and methodological. On the substantive side 'positivist criminology' has been marked by a commitment to the explanation of criminal behaviour (and deviance generally) in terms of characteristics of the individual. Thus positivist criminology has been notable for its explanations of criminal behaviour in terms of gross bodily features, patterns of child-rearing, genetic defect, and idiosyncratic personality traits. On the methodological side positivist criminology has been marked by a preference for scientific method in the evaluation of theory and scientific ideas in the formulation of that theory.' By and large these methodological predilections have meant assigning a primacy both to the role of systematic observation in the evaluation of theory and to the avoidance of theoretical assumptions whose validity could not be checked by recourse to observation.
Criminal Law | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance
Law, Society and Governance
Wiley: 24 months
WEATHERBURN, Don and FINDLAY, Mark.
Positivism, Empiricism and Criminology Theory. (1985). Legal Studies. 5, (2), 191-204. Research Collection School Of Law.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/sol_research/2074
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