Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Crime as Pathology
The meaning of the word pathology is “disease” and connotes both abnormality and dysfunction in an organ or system. The Greek root of the word, pathos , means “great suffering.” Pathology is a diagnostic term, suggesting that certain trademark criteria for a particular syndrome have been met. It is also an etiological term, indicating that a particular disorder has either organic or psychological roots. Finally, the notion that something is, by nature, pathological implies that an efficacious treatment exists or will someday exist. Those applying this medical model to the understanding of crime assume that repetitive criminality indicates the presence of a diagnosable disorder or comprises, in and of itself, a disease. As such, a pathological model of criminality makes a number of assumptions. First, crime is seen as residing in the individual, rather than being symptomatic of a “sick” society. Second, criminal actions are considered largely determined by forces ...