The influence of Antropology on the genesis
and development of Criminology Cover Image

The influence of Antropology on the genesis and development of Criminology

Author(s): Miomira Kostić
Subject(s): Anthropology, Law, Constitution, Jurisprudence, Criminal Law, Criminology
Published by: Правни факултет Универзитета у Нишу
Keywords: physiognomy; anthropology; biological determinism; Lombroso

Summary/Abstract: The historical development of criminology provides an excellent opportunity to look into the interaction between the natural and social sciences as well as between law and medicine. The biological determinism of the 19th century involved three significant postulates: the concept of the biological determinism on the commission of a criminal act, the distinction between criminals and non-criminals, and the pathological traits in criminal offenders. Considering that criminological studies are originally interdisciplinary, jurists who were involved in examining the nature of crime had to “get into grips” with the research conducted by biologists and psychiatrists, and vice versa. In Vienna, F. J. Gall embarked on his research on the brain anatomy in the period from 1785 to 1805. Gall’s ideas had been discarded by the medical scientists until the1870s, when C. Lombroso developed his theory on the “born” criminal offender. Yet, Gall’s phrenological theory still played a significant role in laying grounds for Lombroso’s ideas. Alongside J. G. Lavater and Giambattista Della Porta, Gall is considered to be one of the founding father of physiognomy in criminology. Although their theoretical standpoints had been abandoned at the time, they were still regarded as the forerunners of the anthropological approach in criminology and their work is significant because in their research they relied on the methods applied in exact sciences to study each criminal offender individually in the same way as they studied their patients. At the beginning of the 20th century, the continuation of Lombroso’s theory and the influence of anthropology on the development of criminology is reflected in the works dealing with diverse issues, such as: tattoos, identical twins, XYY chromosomes, man’s physical constitution, as well as in the theoretical standpoints of eugenics and racial hygiene.

  • Issue Year: LXII/2012
  • Issue No: 62
  • Page Range: 177-190
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: Serbian