Theories of Criminal Deviance

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Atavism The theory of atavism, also referred to as sociobiology, was a concept developed by the criminologist Cesare Lombroso (1835 - 1909) that offers a biological explanation for criminal deviance. His theory states that criminal deviance is inherited and this inheritance is visible in the shape of the human skull. Through biological determinism Lombroso attempted to show that physical traits would be determinants of criminal behavior. His ideas were part of the 19th century movement known as …

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…borrowed from American sociologist Robert Merton in his study of deviance. Merton (1956) analyzed societal strains by pointing out the variety of ways that people might respond to such strain. As the strains occur in all walks of life so too do the (often-deviant) adaptations. The rebellion response to strain explains Nevet and Begonia’s action by offering that they were encouraged to act deviantly because there was so much strain of them to be perfect.