Adolphe Quetelet and the Origins of Positivist Criminology

  title={Adolphe Quetelet and the Origins of Positivist Criminology},
  author={Piers Beirne},
  journal={American Journal of Sociology},
  pages={1140 - 1169}
  • P. Beirne
  • Published 1 March 1987
  • Sociology
  • American Journal of Sociology
This article examines the largely unacknowledged contribution of Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874) to the origins of positivist criminology. Quetelet's labors have previously tended to be misrepresented either as a political project that was an unmediated expression of state and class interests or as a discourse that anticipated the subsequent maturation of Lombrosianism and the Chicago school of ecology. It is suggested here, instead, that Quetelet's social mechanics of crime should properly be… 
The Sutherland-Glueck Debate: On the Sociology of Criminological Knowledge
During the 1930, Edwin Sutherland established the sociological model of crime as the dominant paradigm in criminology and as a result became the most influential criminologist of the 20th century.
This study is a foray into a neglected but nevertheless important area in the intellectual history of the sociology of crime. Its focus is the writings of Gabriel Tarde (1843–1904), an elusive figure
At the borders of the average man: Adolphe Quêtelet on mental, moral, and criminal monstrosities.
  • F. M. Sposini
  • Sociology
    Journal of the history of the behavioral sciences
  • 2019
The main thesis is that Quêtelet provided scientific authority to a conception of deviance as sickness, immorality, and cost thus encouraging legislators to use statistics for containing social marginalities.
Hobbesian causation and personal identity in the history of criminology
ABSTRACT Hobbes is known for bridging natural and political philosophy, but less attention has been given to how this distinguishes the Hobbesian conception of the self from individualist strands of
‘Seeing’ is believing: Positivist terrology, peacemaking criminology, and the northern ireland peace process
In this essay, the authors seek to draw upon the understanding and critique of positivism within criminological discourse in order to offer one analysis of the British governments’ approach to the
A History of Statistics in the Social Sciences
Adolphe Quetelet (1796-1874) was a Belgian social statistician and a forerunner in demonstrating the importance of statistics to social science. Amongst his influences were Malthus, Fourier and
Proliferation of crime causation theories in an era of fragmentation: Reflections on the current state of criminological theory
In this presidential address I reflect on the theme of the 2015 annual European Society of Criminology meeting by addressing and discussing the issue of the overwhelming number of crime causation
Proposal for a typology in criminology from a place-oriented perspective
Crime is a major ‘research subject’ in the social sciences and a ‘concern’ in policy making. Hence, criminology emerged as a specialised discipline which is gradually building a theoretical body of
Some Perspectives on Quantitative Criminology Pre-JQC: and Then Some
I am honored to have been invited to participate with the editors of JQC to join in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Journal. I think I got called on because I probably have had the
The eternal dilemma: Poverty or inequality in the explanation of homicides. Unexpected findings and a proposal to overcome the dilemma
In Mexico, crime has increased and diversified over the last 20 years, but we have few theoretical, empirically verified, explanations. Here I explore a way of explaining violent crime in


The Lombrosian Myth in Criminology
The prevailing conception in this country of Lombroso as the founder of scientific criminology may best be described as a myth. Many earlier studies of crime closely parallel contemporary
Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
This writer who has warned us of the “ideological” function of both the oeuvre and the author as unquestioned forms of discursive organization has gone quite far in constituting for both these
"Discipline and punish. The birth of the prison", Michel Foucault, New York 1979 : [recenzja] / Jacek Sobczak.
In the Middle Ages there were gaols and dungeons, but punishment was for the most part a spectacle. The economic changes and growing popular dissent of the 18th century made necessary a more
The promise of punishment. Prisons in nineteenth-century France
adequately documented. Crissey and Parish see the two dermatological paradigms as English and French: the observational school of Willan and Thomas Bateman, content to describe on the basis of
Sociology and the Social Sciences
  • R. Park
  • Philosophy
    American Journal of Sociology
  • 1921
Sociology first gained recognition as an independent science with the publication, between 1830 and 1842, of Auguste Comte's Cours de Philosopiie Positive. Comte did not, to be sure, create
  • A. Giddens
  • Sociology
    The British journal of sociology
  • 1965
MY PURPOS ES in this paper are the following: (I) to describe the origins and the course of a controversy in French sociology revolving around the question: what contributions can sociology make to
The Promise of Punishment: Prisons in Nineteenth-Century France
Patricia O'Brien traces the creation and development of a modern prison system in nineteenth-century France. The study has three principal areas of concern: prisons and their populations; the
Urbanization, Crime, and Collective Violence in 19th-Century France
This investigation treates the plausibility of "structural" and "tension" analyses of the relationships among crimes against persons, crimes against property, collective violence, urban population,
The Mathematics of Society: Variation and Error in Quetelet's Statistics
  • T. Porter
  • Physics
    The British Journal for the History of Science
  • 1985
“Let us apply to the political and moral sciences the method founded upon observation and upon calculus, the method which has served us so well in the natural sciences.” The social sciences have
Labouring Classes and Dangerous Classes in Paris During the First Half of the Nineteenth Century
This is an English translation of a book originally published in French in 1958. The author uses both quantitative and qualitative evidence to examine the biological bases of the social history of