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1. Lombroso and the ‘Born Criminal’
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About this Lecture
In this lecture, we think about the work of the Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso, focusing in particular on: (i) his famous work L’uomo delinquente [Delinquent Man] (1878) in which he proposed that criminality was a genetic trait and that criminals could be recognised by a certain set of atavistic physiological characteristics; (ii) the origins of Lombroso’s theory of atavistic form in his work as a physician and consider its critical success in nineteenth-century Italy and beyond; (iii) the suggestion that, while Lombroso’s work was significant in advancing the popularity of criminology and promoting a scientific approach to understanding crime, it was also fundamentally flawed and marked by scientific racism, classism and misogyny.
In this course, Professor Francis Pakes (University of Portsmouth) explores key issues in criminal psychology. In the first lecture, we think about Lombroso and the notion of the ‘born criminal’. In the second lecture, we discuss genetic explanations for crime more broadly. In the third lecture, we examine cognitive explanations for crime, focusing in particular on moral reasoning. Next, we think about cognitive distortions as a cognitive explanation for crime. In the fifth lecture, we consider the criminal justice system, focusing on the aims of imprisonment. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about recidivism.
Francis is Professor in Criminology. He studied psychology in Groningen (the Netherlands) and received his PhD from Leiden University (the Netherlands). He joined the University of Portsmouth in 1998. Francis has a keen interest in comparative criminal justice and the role of globalisation and shaping criminal justice across the globe. His background in psychology serves him well in studying issues of mental health and criminal justice and other vulnerable and excluded populations. He is an expert on prisons, crime and justice in the Netherlands and regularly features in the media discussing prisons, violent crime and other crime and justice related issues.
Cite this Lecture
Pakes, F. (2019, October 22). Forensic Psychology – Criminality - Lombroso and the ‘Born Criminal’ [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/criminal-psychology/lombroso-and-the-born-criminal
Pakes, F. "Forensic Psychology – Criminality – Lombroso and the ‘Born Criminal’." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 22 Oct 2019, https://massolit.io/courses/criminal-psychology/lombroso-and-the-born-criminal
• "Types of Italian delinquents" by Fondo Antiguo de la Biblioteca de la Universidad de Sevilla, licensed under CC BY 2.0