Posts Tagged ‘Cesare Lombroso’

Okay, it’s a bit macabre and probably a pretty strange gift suggestion, but if you just don’t have any clue what to buy this holiday season for that macabre, strange person in your life, consider gifting a donation to the Mutter Museum to help restore the Hyrtl skull collection.

The Hyrtl Skull Collection

The Hyrtl Skull Collection

These aren’t just any old skulls, of course; they were once used by Josef Hyrtl to debunk the pseudo-science of phrenology, which I’ve written about before in the context of Lombroso’s theories of criminality.

The museum is promoting their Save Our Skulls campaign in an effort to raise money for restoration of the 150-year-old collection.

Save Our Skulls Campaign Video

For a $200 annual subscription, you can have your macabre, strange friend’s name enshrined next to the skull of your choice.

And what says “Happy Holidays” more than that?

Share this post with all your favorite services!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

The nature versus nurture debate has raged on in the fields of psychology and sociology for many years. Cesare Lombroso, an Italian criminologist from the 1800s, believed that people were born into crime. He literally thought there were physical characteristics (such as ear shape) that marked people as law breakers.

oren-van-lombroso

His theory was very influential in its time, and it drew a lot of attention from the scientific community for a number of years. Fortunately, it fell out of favor entirely as more and more evidence demonstrated that there was no such thing as a “born criminal.”

Theories based on social factors, such as Edwin Sutherland’s Differential Association Theory, came into vogue at the beginning of the twentieth century. In direct opposition to Lombroso, Sutherland believed that criminal behavior was transmitted by family members via social learning, not by genes.

Dr. Vanessa Goodwin, a politician and criminologist from Tasmania, has taken Sutherland’s idea one step further by exploring the connections between gender and the transmission of learned criminal behavior. Her 2011 study,  Crime families: Gender and the intergenerational transfer of crime tendencies,  showed that boys are more susceptible to social learning about crime than are girls.

Her research also supports the notion that intergenerational cycles of crime can be broken by working intensively with families to develop communication and parenting skills. So, being born into a crime-prone family is a risk factor for criminal behavior, but it’s definitely not a life sentence.

Which leads to this week’s vid about crime families, including some of the most prolific in Tasmania and Australia.

Today Tonight: Generations of Crime

What are your thoughts on intergenerational crime? Do you believe the cycle can be broken, or are children who are born into crime-prone families doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents?

Have a safe weekend!

Want posts conveniently delivered to your email inbox? Just follow crimeandjusticeblog.com by clicking on the link in the left sidebar, or sign up for our monthly roundup of top blog posts.

Share this article with all your favorite services!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine