Today, the debate onthe motivations and causation of crime is popular topic discussed acrossvarious academic domains (i.e. Anthropology). These interdisciplinary debateshave incorporated new principles, allowing some of the formation of newtheories building upon the earlier apperceptions.
For instance, rationalchoice, routine activity as well as control theories builds up upon theprinciples of Beccaria (e.g. free will; cost and benefits). Another examplewould be Lombroso’s thesis on physical aberration, which is now improvised withneurobiology and genetics with environmental methodologies (e.g. twin studies)deployed in observations and research.Criminology, as anacademic discipline has been endured constant advancement since the 18thcentury, despite of its young age (Werkentin et al., 1974).
With the rise ofthe Classical School led by Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham to theestablishment of the individual Positivist schools (i.e. biological,psychological, and social), we as criminologists, have derived a list ofreasons in which why an individual may commit crime. Of course, the context andimplications of crime and justice has changed as the theoretical paradigmshifts from one to another (i.e. retributive versus restorative).
However, most theoriesoften deduce and explain the causation of criminality of an individual througha one-sided perspective (Gadd and Jefferson, 2007, p. 2-5). Sociologicalpositivists often argue that societal factors such as gender and poverty werecrucial factors in understanding criminality. On the other hand, psychologiststend to look for traits within individuals, identifying aspects and abnormalityto distinguish individuals who may be inclined towards criminality from thegroup.
Indeed, both viewpoint provides enticing implications in confabulatingone’s desire to engage in criminal behaviour.With this in mind, Gaddand Jefferson (ibid) argues that both perspectives mentioned above only focalpoint either internal and external conditions of the individual (i.e. social vspsychological/developmental factors). The impetus which draws one tocriminality could be due to multiple factors which may come from bothpsychological and sociological domains. To truly understand the motivation thatstimulates the engagement of crime, Gadd and Jefferson’s (2007) psychosocialapproach amalgamate the spirit of psychology and sociology, providing a deeperinsight of the offender’s inner world.
“The point is that, whenever we propose asolution to a problem, we ought to try as hard as we can to overthrow oursolution, rather than defend it. Few of us, unfortunately, practice thisprecept; but other people, fortunately, will supply the criticism for us if wefail to supply it ourselves.”(Popper, 1959) Like Popper describes,all scientific theories and hypotheses are falsifiable. Using their book: PsychosocialCriminology (Gad and Jefferson,2007) as the main literature reviewed, this paper will provide a critical,in-depth analysis of the theory in the following order:1. Conceptand methodology2. Policyimplication (1): Restorative Justice3. Policyimplication (2): Intervention – Therapies Prior in goingstraight to the section of critically analysis, it is vital to outline the key featuresof this theory.When hearing the term”psychosocial criminology”, one of the thing that may come to a person’s mindis the study of criminal behaviour via one’s psychological well-being inrelation to sociological factors.
In comparison to Gadd and Jefferson’s renditionof “psychosocial”, the definition resumed above is wrong despite beingpartially correct to a certain degree.Though there arebranches in the school of psychology (i.e. social psychology and abnormalpsychology) which outlines the psychological mechanism in the sphere ofcriminal behaviour, there is limited literature if not little evidence inconsidering the offender as an individual with conflicting, paradoxicalthoughts (Ritchie, 2014). Following the steps of Frosh (2003, p. 183, as citedin Gadd and Jefferson, 2007), “psychosocial criminology” as an approachendorses a censorious stance against Psychology while trying to formulate the”psychological subject”, the human psyche.
Humans, as Frosh emphasised,(as a psychological subject), are the output compound created by theircognitive mind (inner psyche) and the shared social dimension (reality). Insimpler terms, the subject (individual) acts as a structural center of actionand thought with external forces exchanging information (i.e.
gender, ethnicity,and social class). More importantly, it is also because of the havingsensations of feeling weak or defenseless that leads one into paths (which maybe considered as discourse by others) that may grant them strength on apsychological level (i.e. respect in the neighbourhood).
It is also importantto remember that the inner psyche accounts both conscious and unconsciousprocesses, emotions (i.e. fear and happiness) as well as ability to manifestimagination/fantasy. In terms of methodology and data gathering, Gadd andJefferson deploy interpretative biographies with elements of free associationwhen conducting interviews.Undeniably, Gadd and Jefferson’sapproach in Psychosocial Criminology presents thought-provoking ideas assynopsized above, but there are points worth questioning (Brown, 2003, 2007; Gelsthrope,2009; Ritchie, 2014).
In their own words, the authors of this theoryacknowledge that their theory is an “ambitious project” that is not detachedwhen viewed from the wider spectrum of social sciences. Concept: Methodology – Subjectivity andValidityThe stance in applyingnarrative techniques in qualitative research has been an on-going trend formore than a decade, with various field of disciplines to understand the subjecton an encyclopedic level (Franzosi, 1998; Polkinghorne, 1991; Sandelowski, 1991).Knowing that theirapproach in anatomising criminology through the method of biographicalinterpretation may raise opposing criticisms, the two listed several points injustifying this notion (Gadd and Jefferson’s, 2007, p. 5-8). For instance, thenature of case studies – being open to interpretation, is considered as thestrength of this approach. Case studies investigates content through an atypicalcontext, irradiating and canvass unconsidered factors of actual reality, challengingthe mainstream understanding (Fraser, 2004; Mitchell 2000, p. 170, as cited inGadd and Jefferson, ibid; Riessman,2000).
“Narratives do not mirror, they refract thepast. Imagination and strategic interests influence how storytellers choose toconnect events and make them meaningful for others. Narratives are useful inresearch precisely because storytellers interpret the past rather thanreproduce it as it was. The “truths” of narrative accounts are not in theirfaithful representations of a past world, but in the shifting connections theyforge among past, present, and future”(Kreiswirth, 2000)From a criticalperspective, Concept: Psyche – Splitting and ProjectionWith reference toFairbairn and Klein’s notion of splitting, the authors of this theory states thatthe human psyche (commonly referred as the inner voice/internal thought) is notonly a center of agency but also a primary ego defensive system. This allowsthe individual to “splits” information (i.e. societal values: masculinity) fromthe social world into – positive and negative emotions. When under severe distress,the individual may project the emotions that have been repressed internallytowards people around him or her (i.
e. shouting at a child). Likewise, if theindividual is capable of “containing” these uncomfortable sensation (i.
e. beingbullied by peers), the individual might be able to “detoxify” the negativethoughts and respond rationally.Such elaboration ofone’s ego defense mechanism is far too simplistic in comparison to the othertheories of the same/relevant academic field in conjunction to withcriminality. By re-examining the work ofJung and Vallaint, a more well-rounded explanation is inaugerated while keepingthe in a non-reductive stance between social constructionism of the “socialworld” and psychology of the “inner psyche”.
Carl Jung’s (2016)theory of the unconscious also adopts a humanistic viewpoint in understandingthe psyche. In accordance Jung, the human psyche consists of 3 main layers:ego, personal unconscious and collective unconscious. Focusing solely on the 2ndand 3rd layer of the psyche, Jung blueprints the darker side ofhuman nature through the various archetypes he draws upon. The anima/animus reflectsthe manifestation of both masculine and feminine archetype, the “persona” beingthe mask that one wears to masquerade the real self, whilst the “shadow” actsas power source for both creative and destructive energy. In juxtaposition ofthe holistic beliefs held by Jung, George Eman Valliant (1992) advocates that thehuman psyche can be identified through a four-level classification system.
Though his thesis nucleates from the context of psychiatry, he expands thedissertate how one may pick up defensive mechanism (i.e. Projection of unwantedthoughts or emotions) through a developmental vista, which can be observed ineveryday life. Due to the list ofclassification being exhaustive, not all mechanisms will be mentioned.
Level 1: PsychoticLevel 2: ImmatureLevel 3: NeuroticLevel 4: MatureIn the first level,mechanisms (i.e. delusional projection or denial) are considered pathologicalor anomalous towards others. Interestingly, this can be seen through one’schildhood.The second level:immature, suggests that the mechanisms associated in this stage is frequentlyobserved among adults (i.
e. schizoid fantasy and projection). Whereas,delusional projection refers to a belief based on invalid information (e.g.racist belief learned in childhood) whereas projection links back to Gadd andJefferson’s concept of defense- the expulsion of undesired thoughts or emotionswithout acknowledging on a conscious level.In the third level,mechanisms such as (i.
e. repression and displacement) provides short-termeffects in coping with stress. In the last level, mechanisms (i.e. humor) affiliatedwith this level allows one to engage conflicting mental states peacefully.Despite of thedifferences between the two, both theories elucidates the human psyche fromdifferent levels of perception. If onewas to merge the two theories together and incorporate Frosh’s concept (ibid)as mentioned earlier, one would realise that the defensive mechanism of thehuman ego is not just limited to the concept of “defensive splitting and projection”(Gadd and Jefferson, p.
53). Certainly, Gadd andJefferson’s approach provides a new limelight in illustrating how the innermind of the offender interacts with the social realm. Be that as it may, itwould be too simplistic in consider that the human psyche often/tends to onlyresolves with projection of thoughts or emotions through the means of verbal orphysical exhibition. On a structural level, it can be congitated that humansoften repress their “shadow” self from engaging criminal behaviour as it doesnot match (Costello, 2002 as cited in Brown, 2007).Policy and implication: Restorative JusticeEmbracing a humanistapproach in evaluating deviant behaviour, it instantly resolves and illuminatesthe unknown factor(s) in seeking to unravel the thoughts of the (potential)offender.
Instead of pathologizing the individual, this theory suggests thateveryone in society has the potential in becoming a criminal. Having said so, this raises philosophicalconfusion when the status of the victim can be argued as an offender, as wellas how should societies or the criminal justice/penal system should managecomplex cases like this. Policy and implication: Rehabilitation