19/07/2021

Categories: Crime and Criminal Justice, Undergradute

Criminology - The Art vs Science Debate

Criminology, which takes its name from crimen – the Latin word for “accusation” and logos – the Ancient Greek word for “reason or word”, has been around for several hundred years, and the term criminology can be credited to Raffaele Garafalo, an Italian law professor who came up with it in 1885. The early use of the term referred more to the idea of reforms in criminal law rather than looking at the causes of crime.

Over the years the field of criminology has developed significantly, in part thanks to the improved technology that can be used to assist criminologists. In addition, professionals now have a better understanding through the study of what makes criminals “tick” and what traits to look for. One argument remains, however, and that is ‘Is criminology a science? Or is it an art?’

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Criminology – a Social Science?

The answer to the question ‘is criminology a science?’ is that it is officially considered to be a social science. Which brings us to the question of what is social science? Social science is defined as the study of societies and any relationships within those societies amongst its individuals. What is social science nowadays is what used to be referred to as sociology (the science of society).

In other words, it is the science of studying people and how they behave. This is definitely what criminologists have to do as part of their role. It is the job of a criminologist to look at a crime where there is no clear suspect, to build up a picture of the person they are looking for so that those investigating the crime have some information to go on.

Criminology – an Art

Building up a “picture” of an unknown suspect based on a selection of clues related to the crime calls for some speculation on the part of the criminologist, which in many ways makes criminology more of an art form than an exact science. It is probably fair to say that due to its ever-evolving nature criminology is not as much a science as it is an art, however, there are certainly elements of both that come into play.

This is an argument that has been going on for many years. Those who argue for the side “is criminology a science?” often state that as it deals with facts, it must be. However, those who feel it is an art argue that there is an element of the natural ability to see beyond the facts.

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BSC Hons Criminology and Forensic Psychology at University of Bolton - Deciphering the Future

If you are looking for a subject that will challenge you on a daily basis then criminology and forensic psychology may offer you the perfect career path. This is certainly not a subject for everyone, but it can lead to incredibly rewarding career opportunities where no two days will ever be the same.

At the University of Bolton, our undergraduate BSc (Hons) Criminology and Forensic Psychology degree course can help you on the path to a rewarding future in this fascinating sector. We are proud to have been voted in the top 5 in the UK for Teaching Quality for the second year running*. In addition to the quality of our educational provision, we offer a welcoming and inclusive community for our students, ensuring you can experience #UniAsItShouldBe.

If you would like to find out more about the university and our criminology and forensic psychology course, we would be delighted to talk to you. We have a team of friendly advisors who can be reached on +44 (0)1204 900 600 or by sending a message to enquiries@bolton.ac.uk.

 

*The Times and The Sunday Times 2020, 2019.

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