Adventures in Criminology by Sir Leon Radzinowicz

By Sir Leon Radzinowicz

Sir Leon Radzinowicz is among the key figures within the improvement of criminology within the 20th century. This account of the advance of criminology intertwines his own narrative as a criminologist with the development of criminology itself. His adventure won from a profession which has spanned 70 years because the Twenties, bargains a profound evaluation of ways the certainty of crime and criminals, of felony justice platforms and penology has replaced, and of the tensions and dilemmas those pose for democratic societies.

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Carl Stooss, strange as it may seem, became a lawyer almost malgré lui. In his delightful autobiographical sketch, which reveals his engaging personality, he informs us that ‘As I had no scientific, artistic or technical gifts, I became early in 1868 a jurist, in fact without following a disposition or a vocation’. Once he decided to follow this path he followed it at the exclusion of any other pursuit. He was not attracted by extensive travels abroad, not keen to agitate for the adoption of his penal views in endless conferences and congresses, not interested in political discourse or campaigns.

Especially noteworthy was the emphasis on assessing and weighing up the motives for the commission of the crime. A subtle and diversified range of considerations appeared in numerous provisions of the Special Part of the Code as well as in its General Part. Thus, a provision relating to the circumstances when punishment could be aggravated, so as to exceed the normal level, reads like an assessment by a highly trained Jungian or Freudian exponent of human motivation: ‘bassesse de caractère, en particulier par méchanceté, brutalité, ruse, vengeance, cupidité, joie de nuire ou simple plaisir criminel’.

He did, however, go out of his way to assure me that everything would turn out to be pleasing and worthwhile simply because, as far as he was aware, the faculty had never had so young a Privat-Dozent. Indeed, he said he was pretty certain that I would be the youngest in Europe. ’ He would try to come on the appointed day to listen to me. The meeting was brief, exceedingly amiable, but at such a low key that it could hardly have been lower (see Plate 2). 26 FROM ACTIVE VOLCANO TO WELL-ORDERED SCENERY In vain would one look for hundreds and hundreds of students flocking to the faculty’s premises for instruction like at the Sorbonne or in Rome.

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