Crime is a noun we use to describe bad actions/law breaking and the consequences that come of those actions. Several anthropologists have attempted to theorize and define crime. Some support the idea that you are born a criminal while others defend it to be as social construct. My perspective sides with anthropologist like Beccaria. When necessities are excruciatingly hard to obtain such as money for rent, gas, electricity, etc; we will view the consequences and tend to our own selfish desire in an oblivious sort of way. Social nature has always promoted the need to have money, because through money life is made easier. Some theoretical approaches taken upon the study of crime is Cesare Lombroso theory of the “criminal man”. He believed criminality was inhabited; that crime is just human nature. It is something you are born with, and can be based on physical appearance. Lombroso studies challenged to explain “the higher rate of crime in southern compared with northern Italy”(Schneider, Jane and Peter, 2008, 353p), as the large growing immigrant communities popularized in the northern cities they settled on a theory. Lombroso defined the southern part to be of “savage races” who view homicide as a mere incident. While also pointing out that because these southern men had harboured such thoughts, they had weaknesses for things like carnal love, drunkenness, and vengeance. Proving his theory of “born criminals”.Cesare Bonesana di Beccaria believed the paradigms of criminology should be built off of punishment “Influenced by the Enlightenment idea of a social contract between sovereign and populace… Beccaria proposed that violators of the contract were equally responsible and deserved equal punishment proportionate to their crimes”(Schneider, Jane and Peter, 2008, 353p). Beccaria believed that human beings are hedonistic beings who are selfish and only look out for their own interests. Which will result when we can see the outcome of the action whether it be good or bad, it will always revolve around our interests. Which can lead to criminal thoughts if the results of this specific action have some form of selfish pleasure that can outweigh the negative aspect its outcome may have. Because of this he also proposed that offending can be a choice out of free will as well as those who oppose to commit acts of crime.Both Anthropologist differ in several aspects of their theories about crime. Beccaria argued over how the people had the power of free will and rational behaviour. He supported the idea that government had the right to punish those who have gone/committed against the law. Beccaria differd to Lombroso on government punishment. Beccaria believed that the death penalty should be used. Lombroso believed that as a consequence for when an “atavistic” person commits crime it would fall onto the society to defend itself against this person. “…familiar to early evolutionist anthropology, that crime among the “civilized races” was an “atavistic” throwback to “savage custom”…” (Schneider, Jane and Peter, 2008, 354p)From two different ideologies there aren’t many similarities. They both understand that society isn’t quite ready for change, people are used to consistency and stability which can affect whether such societies will even accept change. So within both viewpoints of Beccaria and Lombroso there are limited amount of common ideas.As for my opinion, it is a combination of both anthropologist. I do believe that there is social construct in which act upon based on our own selfish thoughts. When we place situations into two categories being… pleasure, and unpleasant consequences; there will be a selfish outcome. Individuals will instinctively want to weigh out the negative aspect the consequence might bring, with the pleasure it will give. Although Beccaria also believes this, I oppose his thoughts on government punishment. Crime should be punished, but the Death Penalty is wrong. To me there is no sense in justice when this penalized criminal is given the death row. Lombroso and Beccaria are both influential persons in the field of criminology and have very interesting perspectives that do not equally match yet provoke a need for discussion. Congenital factors and non-congenital approaches are theories that need more elaboration. Cesare Lombroso is called the “father” of criminology due to his thorough research and implications that came from them, Beccaria may not have had that title but became known for his opposing and alternating side to Lombroso. My views may not agree wholly with one side yet agreeance can be made with the topic of change. Society will neglect change; it’s an inevitable circumstance and may only be the similarity between these anthropologist.
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