Monday, April 20, 2020

Positivism Essay Example

Positivism Paper Positivism is a theoretical and methodological approach in contemporary criminology. Positivists believe that human behavior is shaped by biological, psychological or social factors and forces. These factors and forces are called individual pathology which deter the decision-making and control ability of an individual and results in behavioral problems (White Haines, 2003). To extend to legal definition, crime is defined as individual pathology to obey law and to conform to moral consensus of the society. Positivism approach in criminology examines the trait distinctions between offenders, rather than on the criminal acts as the focus of analysis. Also, positivism determines how these differences predispose a person towards criminality (White Haines, 2003). Positivists believed that these traits observed can be diagnosed and treated by dealing with and removing the factors and forces that cause the offending behavior to occur. Rather than punishment, positivism directs toward the treatment of offender as a response to crime (White Haines, 2003). The study of positivism is to classify and quantify human behaviors to uncover the causal relations between deviants traits and the committed crime. Therefore, positivism is a scientific approach in the criminal justice system. We will write a custom essay sample on Positivism specifically for you for only $16.38 $13.9/page Order now We will write a custom essay sample on Positivism specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer We will write a custom essay sample on Positivism specifically for you FOR ONLY $16.38 $13.9/page Hire Writer Psychological positivism Positivism concerning with psychological factors induced behavior is called psychological positivism. The consequences and impact of individual trauma are psychological factors which provoke behavior problems (White Haines, 2003). These psychological factors hinder the cognitive development in decision making, social understanding and moral reasoning. Thus, people with psychological problem are potential to commit in crime as they are unconscious in doing so (White Haines, 2003). Based on psychological positivism, criminals are associated with one of these psychological theories: psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive and physiological theory (Senna Siegel, 1990). The following will explain these theories by the case of man rape against woman. (a) Psychoanalytic theory Psychoanalytic theory was developed by Sigmund Freud (Senna Siegel, 1990). He believed that the personality arises from a conflict between three interacting systems: id, ego and superego (Senna Siegel, 1990). Id is unconscious energy that strives to satisfy instant gratification, it operates on the pleasure principle. Superego incorporates the moral norms of the society that how one ought to behave. Ego is conscious part of personality that satisfies the ids desires in ways that realistically bring pleasure rather than pain. It operates on the reality principle and struggles to reconcile the conflict between ego and superego. Psychoanalysts believe that law violators may suffer from personality disorder which is caused by damaged egos or superego (Senna Siegel, 1990). The personality disorder is self control inability which denoted that the capacity to repress urges is diminished. Criminals seek immediate gratification of wishes without consideration of right and wrong or the need s of others in the absence of self control. Humans are impulsive and anti-social in nature, they learn to aside to law through the system of self control. Low self control is consisted of incapability of defer gratification, lack of perseverance, and preference for risky and physical behavior (White Haines, 2003). To relate rape with self control theory, rape is seen as a gratification from sexual provocation. Mens sexual drive is aroused by womens dress, presence or movements. The drive is power and is so overwhelming to control (Vogelman, 1990). Men have no choice but to rape for a surge of excitement. As Groth and Birnbau (1979) argued, rape is not a symptom of mental illness but of personality dysfunction (cited in Hall, 1995: 74). Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) argued that child-rearing is critical to the development of self-control (cited in White Haines, 2003: 47). Family which lack of harmony, emotional warmth, and mutual acceptance promote the development of delinquency. Parents in these families treat the child aggressively or overly strict. Child abuse and neglect are also found in these families (Friedrich, 2003). Through such experiences, children learn aggressive behavior via modeling and perform similar reactions in the future. Warrne, Hazelwood and Reboussin (1991) reported that 76% rapists had experienced some sort of sexual abuse when they were children (cited in Hall, 1995: 75). These abuses include physical penetration or coercion to watch sexual act by assaults who were their family member or known assailants such as teacher, neighbor or friend (Hall, 1995). (b) Behavioral Theory Behavioral theory believes that behavior is determined. It is learned from others or through experiences. Human beings learn from daily observations (Senna Siegel, 1990). For example, youth exposed to aggressive, antisocial behavior on television and movies are likely to copy that violent behavior. Similarly, reading pornography laced with violence causes people to commit to rape. Laboratory researchers have claimed that media exposure on sexual aggression such as violence, degrade and humiliate against women encourage sexual offends (Howitt, 1998). It have been found that the majority of rapists to be of average or above average intelligence, educational level and income. However, they have inability to form or maintain emotionally intimate relationships with others (Hall, 1995). In fact, antisocial behavior can be induced by social disability such as deprivation or discrimination. Also, when people are unable to attain what they desire, they become frustrated and their potential for aggression is increased (Vogelman, 1990). Physical acts are often the quickest way to express anger or stress to diminish the inability and impairments (Conley, Luckasson Bouthilet, 1992). Groth and Hobson (1083) defined rape as a sexual expression of aggression against women (cited in Howitt, 1998: 91). This can be illustrated by anger rape. Anger rape involves physically force than necessary to overpower and damage the victim to obtain sex. Abusive, obscene and degrading languages are accompanied with anger rapist to express their hostility (How itt, 1998). This indicates that rape cannot be understood in terms of sexual desire alone. (c) Cognitive theory Cognitive theory focuses on how people process and store information. A child may do what is right simply to avoid punishment. The same person will do what is right to avoid hurting others in later life. This is called moral reasoning (Senna Siegel, 1990). Moral reasoning determines the perception one acquired. Perception dominates people behavior. Moral reasoning also endeavor one to obey law on behalf of their social responsibility and to identify the perspectives, feelings or thoughts of the others (Murphy Clare, 2003). Based on these theories, criminals are probably to have faulty perception and information processing as they are unable to think logically in the system of axiom. Axiom is the causal relationship of if and then, that is the impact of criminals behavior (Conley, Luckasson Bouthilet, 1992). Senna Siegel (1990) suggested that criminals are significantly lower in their moral judgment than non-criminals as they have limited insight into the motivations and character istics of others. They perceive other people as more aggressive than they are. Undoubtedly, they are more likely to be vigilant and suspicious. When criminals attack victims, they believe they were actually defending themselves (Senna Siegel, 1990). For male rapists, women are percept as sex objects and they believe that women are not worthy of respect since men are more competitive in the sphere of sexual relations. Rapists are unable to identify the equality between the two sex roles. The expression of mens masculinity is demonstrated in power rape. As Groth and Birnbaum (1979) stated, The intent of the power rapist is to assert his competency and validate his masculinity (as cited in Hall, 1995:76). Power rape is driven by fantasy. The power rapist projects his own desires on the victim, thereby interpreting her resistance as a facade of non-compliance. The rapists are exited by pain and suffering of the victim (Murphy Clare, 2003). The dehumanization of women reflects rapists inconsideration on others. The power rapists use language of instructional as to express conquest against women. (d) Physiological theory Physiological theory is the identification of the psychopathic personality (Senna Siegel, 1990). Psychopathic personality is caused by physical abnormality in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS mediates internal activities such as heart beat and blood pressure when associated with emotions. The physical abnormality can be caused by genetic and biochemical factors. Therefore, psychopathic personality is predisposed innately and is unaffected by socialization. Psychopath experiences lower arousal levels to stimuli and react differently from the normal. Therefore, it is possible that psychopaths are thrill seekers who engage in high-risk, antisocial activities to raise their general neurological level to a more optimal rate (Senna Siegel, 1990). Criminals are potential psychopaths who devoted in risky activities. As Freud developed, libidinal energy is internalized in particular zone of human, these zones are oral, anal, phallic and genital. These zones will evoke a feeling of pleasure when they are stimulated (Vogelman, 1990). Therefore, it is possible for men to have biological drive for sex. Moreover, As Gebbard, Gagnon, Pomeroy and Christenseon (1965) stated, In many mammals, coitus is preceded by a physical strugglethe physiological by-products of excitement and exertion is the increased heart rate, increased breathing, muscle tension, the greater supply of blood to the body surfaces, etc (cited in Vogelman, 1990: 39). Men rape not purely because of lust and lack of sex, but to facilitate sexual arousal. The arousal is obtained from the struggle of woman to produce a sense of excitement (Vogelman, 1990). Treatment As mentioned previously, the response of crime in positivism concentrates on treatment rather than punishment. Offenders who seem to have personality problems will undergo a psychological evaluation examined by forensic psychologists and psychiatrists (Senna Siegel, 1990). These professionals worked within the criminal justice system to assess the possibility of personality disorder. They also assert appropriate treatment to criminals according to their degree of deficiency. Treatment for rapists seeks to identify the causes of their deviant behavior, and to cure them by changing their thinking processing. Treatments for rapists include psychotherapy, behavior modification and biomedical therapy (Hall, 1995). There are three forms of psychotherapy: relapse prevention, cognitive therapy, and victim empathy. Relapse prevention is based on the belief that an event such as emotion and behavior are prior to rape, rapists are asked to identify the preceding events so that whenever the event appear they can consciously terminate their offensive behavior (Hall, 1995). Relapse prevention is the exercise of self control utilization. Cognitive therapy indoctrinates a moral perception to rapists that it is necessary to rationalize and justify their own offensive behavior (Hall, 1995). Victim empathy enables the rapists to empathize with his victims, thereby gaining recognition of the lasting impact of his action. In this therapy, rapist reenacts the rape from the perspective of a victim (Hall, 1995). A new moral reasoning system is constructed from this torture experience. Behavior modification is done by arousal control (Hall, 1995). It makes use of adverse conditions to control unacceptable behavior. For example, a rapist is assigned to be exposed to a scene which depicts a violent sexual encounter. If he is sexually aroused, he might receive a series of electrical shocks or might be subjected to an offensive odor (Hall, 1995). The purpose of the treatment is to cause the rapist to respond adversely to the thoughts of sexual violence. Thus, behavior is reformed. Biomedical therapy involves the use of drugs in conjunction with other forms of therapy. Drugs are used as a form of chemical castration that results in suppression of the manufacture of the sex hormones, testosterone. It may also use to suppress inappropriate fantasies and compulsive behavior (Hall, 1995). Offensive behavior can be removed. Psychological positivism as legal defense mechanism In criminal justice system, a voluntary act, the actus reus and a mental element, the mens reas are required to condemn someone to be guilty (Murphy Clare, 2003). The mental elements include the cognitive development and psychiatric conditions of the offenders. The cognitive development contributes to the ability to identify existing problems and formulate an effective way to solve the problems (Murphy Clare, 2003). If the development is interrupted, the offender is claimed to be no intention for their acts. Likely is the psychiatric illness sufferer. The criminal law recognizes these abnormal mental conditions of a person not to entirely responsible for their actions as intent for the commission of crime is negated (Senna Siegel, 1990). The mental state of unconscious is used as a legal defense mechanism. If a person is declared insane when they were committing crime, a judgment of not guilty by reason of insanity (cited in Senna Siegel, 1990) is entered. The person is then held in an institution for the criminally insane until found to be sane and eligible for release (Senna Siegel, 1990). Offenders can escape from punishment liked incarceration. Besides, involuntarily intoxication under duress or by mistake may also be an excuse to refute the crime committed. Even though voluntary intoxication can lessen the degree of crime because the defendant can prove they were lacking of critical element for mental intention (Senna Siegel, 1990). For example, a judgment may be decreased from first to second-degree murder. The defense mechanism in respect to psychological positivism is being criticized as it spurs crime as it releases criminal offenders. Criminal justice system is thus unjust. Conclusion The willingness of time and money consumption to investigate psychological positivism indicates that policymakers ascertain that personal trait is a contributing cause of criminality. Nevertheless, there are critiques in psychological positivism. Since positivism is a science, it is inaccessible to the general community. Power is centered in the hands of forensic psychologists and psychiatrists with their specialized knowledge (White Haines, 2003). Debate was also found on the efficacy of criminal profiling. Psychological positivism brings suspicious people into innocent criminals simply because they match certain personality traits (White Haines, 2003). In contrast, psychological positivism allows crime to be prevented by early intervention such as pre-school program to enforce discipline to children. Psychological positivism tends to construct a more harmonic society for the future.

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