Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Sheldon, William H.: Somatotypes and Delinquency
Some of the earliest criminological theories equated crime to the biological makeup of humans. Because some of the earlier biological studies either overstated the causal nature of biological variables or were completely disproved due to methodological shortcomings or antiquated statistical techniques, a majority of criminologists today dismiss the biological research on criminality without a second thought. James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein suggest that many criminologists are not attuned to biological and psychological concepts involved with the causes of criminality due to their sociological training; “physical correlates of crime are often dismissed by most criminologists, for whom these are at best historical stages in the development of their subject” (p. 72). Because of this lack of understanding of the biological approach or the inherent bias of most sociological theories of criminality, the debate of whether or not criminals are characterized by a certain type of body-build has long been ...