The positivist school of criminology is one of the two major schools of criminology, the other being the classical school. In contrast to the classical school, which posits that criminal acts are the result of calculation and free, rational decision making, the positivist approach turns to factors outside and beyond the offender’s control as responsible for the root cause of criminal activity. The identification of these factors adheres to empirical methodologies, in particular statistical analysis. The earliest form of positivism within criminological thinking arose in the late 19th century, when some of the founding principles of the classical school began to be challenged by figures such as Cesare Lombroso, Enrico Ferri, and Raffaele Garofalo. The term criminology itself actually came into emergence during this time frame, both within Garofalo’s own works as well as that of French anthropologist Paul Topinard.
Positivist criminology asserts that criminal behaviour has its own set of distinct characteristics, and that criminal behaviour is accordingly linked with psychological factors and clearly defined genetic traits (the notion of a genetic criminal type has since been discredited). Positivist research seeks to identify key differences between criminals and non-criminals, such as linking personality traits with particular crimes to identify individual pathologies and formative experience that influence one’s predisposition towards law-breaking; this approach is known as individual positivism. In contrast, other theorists who regard crime as a consequence of social influences, seeking to realize factors responsible for crime within external categories such as poverty, population density, exposure to deviant or criminal subcultures, and racial or demographical alienation; this approach is known as sociological positivism. Together, these approaches have informed the positivist school’s quest to integrate criminal behaviour with the quantification practices of scientific objectivity.
At Homework Help USA, our experts in criminal law examine the positivist school in relation to the classical school of criminology, investigating biological, psychological, and sociological explanations of crime as well as the various intersections between theories involving control, rational choice, and deterrence in opposition to opportunity theory and sociology of law. They are capable of producing instructive and argumentative essays examining positivist legal principles and the underlying causes of criminal activity within a variety of social, economical, and political networks. Trust the experts at Homework Help USA – get a quote now!