This essay will explore the nature of criminology; defining its meaning will give us a better understanding of the topic. Criminology involves humans and society, it shares all the uncertainties presented in fields that study the constantly developing and changing individual (Paris, 1948). Criminology is an experimental science that investigates all elements of crime; this includes crime anthropology, crime sociology, crime prophylaxis, criminal psychology, penology, and crime policy (Artuk, Mehemet, E., 2018). Science develops as a natural selection that works by combining a system for managing information with creativity and unpredictability, as well as empirical validation, which characterizes the scientific method (Jaffe, 2009).
The social context is the foundation for interpreting crime as a social construct. While crime is done by an individual, it is nonetheless very significant to society to the point where the society is ascribed to the actual fulfilment of the crime. It is thought that the environment might impact an individual's liking to engage in crime. This notion is also closely tied to the concept of knowledge as a social construct. Knowledge is seen to be socially produced and even prone to various sorts of politically motivated fabrication (Savage, Brearly, 2007). Throughout history, it has been regarded that criminality is a product of the offender's decision. However, it was out dated by positivism, which argues that rather than crime being a matter of choice, it was a cause of illness of some type. Crime is caused not by the individual's choice of the perpetrator, but by something wrong with them. Indeed, they were compelled to commit a crime and had no option in the issue (Garland, 2002).
The idea of crime is so complicated that it cannot be described by a particular theory; there have been a variety of theories to try to explain the concept of crime in connection to persons and society. Behaviorism theory also known as the theory of learning was founded by John Broudus Watson in 1912. It says that all behaviors are taught through contact with the environment through a process known as conditioning. As a result, behavior is just a reaction to environmental stimuli (McLeod, S., 2020). It uses tactics of natural sciences to search for legitimate relations between behavior and the observable social and physical environment (Jensen et al., 2021). Skinner (1938) suggests that the criminal is influenced or taught to behave ‘badly’ by the genetic makeup of the person and/or the environment in which they surround themselves, such as school, social media, home environment, or potentially prison. Being around convectors can influence the offender’s behavior and thus making them act criminally. He regards the mind as an unscientific explanation because of the status as an inference from the behavior that it was supposed to be explained. While the psychological theory has redefined the mind in two main ways during the 1970s, Skinner observed that this redefinition has not solved the issues raised by scientific needs. In one description, mental processes were transformed into cognitive processes, a metaphor-based on computer operations; people are said to 'process' information by 'encoding, decoding, storing, and retrieving' it. All of these theorized activities, however, remain assumptions from the behavior that they are purported to explain. There is no independent observation of these hypothetical actions (Jensen et al., 2021).
Psychodynamic theory is a psychological theory that aims to explain how personality is formed, with a focus on how the conscious and unconscious intellects interact. It was initially introduced by Sigmund Freud, offers three components of the personality: the ID, the ego, and the superego. The ID is exclusively concerned with needs and desires in the here and now, regardless of practical consequences. The ego mediates between the wants of the id and the realities of the outer world. The superego, or conscience, directs the ego's choices by imposing moral judgments as well as other laws acquired from the outside world (Bill et al., 2020). Personality plays a massive role when a criminal offends, it can determine how the offender will react to the crime, and how well the crime was thought out. If it wasn’t thought out properly.
Classicism gives responsibility to the criminal arguing that they have the rational choice to commit; it is their individual decision to offend (Mercadal et al., 2020). While positivism argues that it’s not the criminal's fault because criminal behavior is inherited through genes, so it is predetermined if an individual is going to commit by his/her nature. Lombroso was regarded as the ‘father’ of positivist criminology, he focused on the biological factors of crime, observed the criminal body, and said that criminals have smaller skulls with marked deformities, physically taller and heavier, etc. He refers to crime as a natural phenomenon capable of being analyzed through objective, empirical research (Knepper et al., 2013). Over time Lombroso’s student Enrico Ferri expanded his work, unlike Lombroso who focused only on biological factors, Ferri broadened the search for the causes of crime, and he gave more emphasis to social, economic, and political factors that contribute to crime. Lombroso’s another student, Garofalo, who was interested in identifying criminal characteristics, but found Lombroso's work to be inadequate and lack proof.
To conclude, the nature of criminology is explained by multiple factors including the social side where I explained that a criminal is more likely to offend when they are surrounded by an immoral environment. Behaviorism theory links to this because it says behaviors are educated through interaction with the environment. This uses the process of conditioning. Skinner states that the offender is influenced or taught the ‘bad’ behaviors through genetics endowment and/or the environment they surround themselves in such as school, social media, home environment, or potentially prison, which again links back to the social context and can link to the psychodynamic theory which explains personality which can again be determined by the nature of an individual. Lambroso argues that being a criminal is completely biological including what they look like, in his studies, there is not enough proof for this factor which is why his student Garofalo was more interested in identifying the criminal’s characteristics rather than the biology while Ferri just expanded more on Lambroso’s study. The classicist and positivist sides argue against each other whether it’s the biology or characteristics of the criminal that determines if they commit which can also help explain what the nature of a criminal is.