Monday, June 11, 2012

Integrating Criminologies

Crime is the sine qua non problem of every society.  What a culture regards as harms and how people respond to harm defines them even more than their achievements.  

In the Bible and Hesiod’s Theogeny, human error is given.  Modern criminology, originating in the Enlightenment with Cesare Breccaria’s Crimes and Punishments (1763), assumes that crime is exceptional and remediable because human nature is perfectible.  Even recent theories –the “critical” school (i.e., Marxists) and post-modernists – claim that crime is a natural response to capitalist oppression and that if we did away with property (and those who own it), we would all live happily ever after.  No laissez faire criminologist asserts that what we mistakenly were told were harms and crimes are only the benefits of an Invisible Hand of Human Action.  

Integrative Systems Theory (Robinson) and Integration Theory (Barak) attempt to bring order to the many theories of crime.

Most integrators of crime and/or punishment agree that integration involves connecting, linking, combining, and/or synthesizing the relations and fragments of other models and theories into formulations of crime and crime control that are more comprehensive than the more traditional and one-dimensional explanations that have been perpetually elaborated on for some forty years. Despite this abstract agreement on the meaning of integration, actual approaches to integration vary significantly. -- "Integrative Theories, Integrating Criminologies" by Prof. Gregg Barack on his website here.

Integration is a formidable task because different hypotheses rest on different assumptions. Criminologists argue past each other because they are expressing different paradigms.
Integrative criminology correctly identifies what all harms have in common. It resolves conflicts within the individuals involved, as well as remediating their externally apparent problem, and integrates the actors into their society.

Different schools of thought stem from different sets of data.  The collection of data has always been driven by theory.  Unlike scientists who discover some previously unperceived phenomenon – nebulae through a telescope; germs via a microscope – criminologists absorb their social contexts long before they learn methods of investigating their own and other cultures at university.  From the medieval lecturers to online interactions, academic cultures always range within the collectivist models based on the assumption that only altruism defines ethics because it is identical with morality. Those rest on erroneous epistemologies.  Among the few islands of individualism in the sea of unquestioned assumptions are Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Abraham Maslow’s Theory of Human Motivation, and Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Ethics.

In his apologia for chemistry, The Same and Not the Same, (Columbia University Press, 1995) Nobel laureate Roald Hoffmann asserts that no two hemoglobin molecules are identical. So-called “identical twins” are not. Individualism is objectively real: both empirically knowable and rationally explainable.  Yet, even the proposed integration criminologies do not take this fact into account.

Epistemological integration is the unifying of discrete elements into a single concept.  The individual person is the unit of society.  Therefore, successful criminology begins with the individual.  Most often, crimes are identified when individuals are united by a shared harm.  However, the state’s compelling interest in the welfare of the individual recognizes the problem of self-harm.  Diagnosed with a terminal illness, you have the right to end your life when you choose.  You do not have a political right to do that by jumping from a building. The difficulty is not the violation of the building owner’s right to property and contract; and it is not the violation of laws against littering the sidewalk.  Any individual who chooses such an obviously harmful public display is internally conflicted and lacking integration.  Thus, other people (via the police power of government) have a compelling interest to act.

When individuals come into conflict, one of them (certainly) and all of them (likely) are internally unintegrated or else the problem would not exist.  But not all problems are solvable. Whether a dishonest accountant is genetically cursed, or the product of a broken home, or differentially associated with a criminogenic corporation, or simply chooses to gain at the expense of others may be the bottom line.  It ends there.  Whether we can walk away from the harms and accept them as metaphysical facts is the essential problem of criminology
Some Theories of Crime
The Classical School - The Positive School - The Chicago School - Rational Choice
Lifestyle - Cognitive - XYZ Chromosome - Sociobiology
Social Learning - Modeling/Imitation
Differential Association - Differential Conditionality - Differential Identification
Differential Reinforcement - Differential Opportunity 
Social Learning - Psychoanalytic - Moral Development - Criminal Personality
Strain - Social Strain - General Strain - Social Disorganization - Anomie
Subculture - Culture Conflict - Subculture of Delinquency
Techniques of Neutralization = Subculture of Violence - Focal Concerns  -Routine Activities
High Delinquency Areas  - Labeling  -Tagging
Primary & Secondary Deviance
Developmental Career Model
Radical Non-Intervention - Social Control  - Containment - Social Bond  - Opportunity     
Power-Control - Instrumental - Low Self-Control 
Peacemaking  -Reintegrative Shaming  - Radical Feminist  - Conflict - Marxist          
Social Reality - Liberation

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