Criminological Perspective: Classicism And Positivism

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This essay will focus on two criminological perspectives which are classicism and positivism. Moreover, these two school of thoughts will be explained in relation to the offence of assault.

First of all, the classical school was founded in the 18th century and it was the first school of criminology. It was mainly connected with the work of Cesare Beccaria, an Italian theorist (Morrison, 1995). The school was concerned with the development of a rational, systematic and efficient way to fight crime rather than understand the nature of it (Hughes, 1998). Additionally, classicism tried to understand crime as “a product of a rational free will”, Hughes (1998) continues, and a criminal act was seen as something chosen and as a result of the calculation of pain and pleasure involved with the crime (Hughes, 1998). Besides, punishment, as Hughes (1998) depicts, was seen as “an instrument of social control to achieve certain desired ends” and it must be warranted, effective and profitable. Furthermore, classicists believed that it was better to prevent than to punish (Hughes, 1998). During the Enlightenment period, new theories about crime, punishment and new ways of rationalising justice arose (Newburn, 2013). Beforehand, it was believed that people could not choose rationally but with the development of the classical school, the assumption that criminals can exercise free will and rationality was introduced (Newburn, 2013). Classical thinkers suggested that human beings are

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