Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology Pages: 6 (2245 words) Published: January 11, 2014

Dialogue between Beccaria, Lombroso and Durkheim
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Dialogue between Beccaria, Lombroso and Durkheim
Criminology, as every science, relies on facts and evidence. This paper is aimed at creating a dialogue between three criminologists of the nineteenth century Beccaria, Lombroso and Durkheim; in this discussion, they will explain their points of view and try to implement their theories into the reality at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty first century. Their doctrines were a response to the processes of industrialization and the modernization in the 18th and 19th centuries; they aimed to promote cohesion and rationality in the society (Vold & Bernard, 1986, p.101) Lombroso and Beccaria are sitting in a bright living room drinking tea and waiting for Durkheim to join them. While the criminologist has not come yet, they have time to talk and discuss each other’s works: Beccaria: Good afternoon, Mr. Lombroso. How are you doing?

Lombroso: Good afternoon, Mr. Beccaria. Fine, thanks. What about you? Beccaria: I’m also fine, thank you. I should compliment you: recently I have read your work The Criminal Man (1911) and it appeared to be fantastic; I must admit that your point of view is rather interesting; but I have not understood the way you distinguish those three classes of criminals. Lombroso: I will gladly explain you that. Three types of criminals are: Atavist, Criminaloid and Insane criminal. Atavists are the criminals that reproduce the most ferocious characters of a wild animal or a primitive man, which explains that they are well recognized by large jaws, prominent superciliary arches, solitary lines in the palms, their orbits are of extremely large size, handle-shaped or sessile ears found in criminals, they are insensible to pain, have extremely acute sight, their bodies are covered with tattoos, excessive idleness, they love to participate in orgies and have the irresistible craving for evil for its own sake, the desire not only to extinguish life in the victim but to mutilate the corpse, tear its flesh and drink its blood. (Lombroso, 2006, p. 101) Becaria: Remember the case of the Op shop vandalism? I suppose that those teenagers, who have robbed this shop, may be classified as Atavists. Am I right? Lombroso: Exactly. Now let me explain you about two other types of criminals. Criminaloids are respectable persons, who carefully and thoroughly hide their criminal nature from society. They enjoy being respected and realizing that nobody knows about their other “me”. Criminaloids usually connect their occupation with law or they work for government, which makes it easier for them to hide their crimes. Besides, Criminaloids tend to commit misdemeanors rather than felonies. Insane criminals are mentally ill and not born to be criminals as Criminaloids or Atavists. Insane criminals commit crimes because “of an alteration of the brain, which completely upsets their moral nature” (Lombroso, 2006, pp. 14-15). I would say that to such category belong alcoholics, kleptomaniacs, child molesters. Beccaria: I must admit that your theory is rather interesting. Knowing what type of criminal a detective faces, he will know how to punish him or her and where to search for an offender. Lombroso: Yes, but it is not as easy as it may seem. Nowadays, it is very popular among teenagers to have piercing and tattoos or behave aggressively; on the other hand, that does not mean that they are Atavists, it is only the way of expressing themselves. Beccaria: To my mind, Mr. Lombroso, your theory is not perfect. I am sure that there are no those, who were born to be criminals; we live in a free country, and every person is willing to choose what he or she wants; therefore, I am sure that if a person is a criminal, he or she has chosen to act so. I do not say that your approach is not right, but it cannot be implemented in life. Lombroso: I have read your book On Crimes...

References: Beccaria, C. (2012). On crimes and punishment. Empire Books
Botta, J. (2003). Criminological theories and theorists: An American social perspective on crime. AuthorHouse.
Durkheim, E. (1982). Rules of sociological method. New York: Free Press.
Durkheim, E. (1997). The division of labor in society. New York: Free Press.
Lombroso, C. (2006). The criminal man. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Vold, G. B., & Bernard, T. J. (1986). Theoretical criminology (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
Williams, F. P., III, & McShane, M. D. (2009). Criminological theory (5th ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
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