Comparing Cesare Lombroso and Edwin Sutherland and Their Competing Ideologies

Lombroso was a prominent Italian criminologist towards the end of the 19th Century in the arena of pathologically determined deviance. Lombroso’s emphasis on the scientific method and his revolutionary approach earned him the title “father” of scientific criminology. Lombroso’s prominent works include The Criminal Man (1876) and Crime, Its Causes and Remedies (1899). Lombroso idea’s contradicted the prevailing notion that crime was part of society, and thus should be accepted as an intrinsic factor of social conditions (Carrabine 2009, p.58). Lombroso rejected classical School assertions that crime was a typical trait of human nature and that rational choices formed the bedrock of behavior.
Lombroso attempted to discern a probable relationship between criminal psychopathology and physical or constitutional defects. The principal contention revolved around the presence of a hereditary or atavistic division of criminals comprising of biological throwbacks to the primitive stages of human evolution (Lily, Cullen and Ball 2011, p.15). Lombroso rejected the notion of free will and equality in which individuals were purported to exercise rational choices to engage in crime as advocated by classists. Lombroso advocated the assumption of determinism.

Lombroso applied scientific approaches and concepts derived from physiognomy, social Darwinism, early eugenics, and psychiatry. The approaches stipulated that criminality was inherited and “born criminal” could be apparent by physical defects, which validated criminals as “savage.” Although, the stipulated physical characteristics identifying criminals is no longer considered valid. nevertheless, the notion that definite factors incline certain individuals to commit crime continues to be the underpinning of criminology (Hayward, Maruna and Mooney 2010, p.25). Lombroso groundbreaking work, The Criminal Man (1876), alleged that criminals possessed a distinct physical characteristic that set them apart from noncriminals.

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