Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: September 17, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971997 | Print ISBN: 9781412960199 | Online ISBN: 9781412971997| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this handbook
Chapter 23: Classical Perspectives
Classical perspectives Classical criminology usually refers to the work of 18th-century philosophers of legal reform, such as Beccaria and Bentham, but its influence extends into contemporary works on crime and economics and on deterrence, as well as into the rational choice perspective. The entire range of social phenomena can be understood more or less accurately using models of economic transactions and the assumption that people make rational choices between opportunities to maximize their own utility. This was a foundational assumption of classical criminology. Sociological theory viewed crime through economic models, and this assumption is called rational choice theory . For criminologists, rational choice theory has origins in sociological theoretical thought and in various perspectives on economics and markets, but, more prominently, its influences are found in the classical school of criminology. Drawing on the classical contention that man is a calculating creature, rational choice criminology begins with the assumption that ...