The Positivist Paradigm

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1. INTRODUCTION

As members in today’s information rich society, we are continually being pounded with the ferocious and ruthless actions that human beings are capable of. As society walks through these fragments of reality, it is cemented by the thoughts of what causes individuals to commit such appalling acts. Biological theories of crime, such as the positivism paradigm, sought to determine a biological deficiency within individuals that caused susceptibility towards criminal behaviour. For years there have been a number of behavioural genetic studies that have been conducted to finding out exactly how influential genetics are in violent crimes.”Results of these studies, which have been based on thousands of siblings, have pointed to the
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This approach to understanding and researching criminality brought in the idea of researching crime empirically. “Positivism aims to obtain objective facts, unlike interpretivism, which is subjective and is more concerned with uncovering the meaning behind actions, and has three basic premises; measurement (quantification), objectivity (neutrality), and causality (determinism).” (Hagan 2010: 117).The Positivist Paradigm presumes that criminals are essentially different from non-criminals by certain factors that are psychological (mental illness, weak conscience), biological (physical characteristics, intelligence, medical factors (adrenaline, testosterone) or sociological and sometimes it’s a combination of all these factors. This means that offenders are without free will therefore are absent of choice in whether to be involved in a criminal act or not and can deny any responsibility of the violent…show more content…
The environmental side. There are three main factors that determine criminal behaviour in the environment- family, peers and the Social learning theory. Some family risk factors include poverty, the overall family structure, education, parenting practices (inconsistent punishment), neglect and abuse. These factors have shown to have a correlation to delinquent, aggressive and criminal behaviour. Individuals tend to choose friends with whom they share the same interests and personalities. Antisocial individuals, outcasts and delinquents will be found together and will therefore motivate and influence each other into violent or criminal behaviour. In social learning theory Albert Bandura (1977) states that behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning. A normal offender will find a crime rewarding because he has learnt to commit a crime from observing people he models. These individuals are exposed to high levels of aggression and other factors portrayed by models that range from family, members of the community and neighbours, friends, celebrities and characters from movies and books. Violence has become a regular on our television screens, whether be it cartoons, war in the news or action movies. Not every individual reacts or absorbs information in the same way, therefore the witnessed violence is readily accepted by some viewers and it brings about within them behavioural
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