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Creating born criminals

Author: Nicole Hahn Rafter
Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Genetic screening, new reproductive technologies, the promise of gene therapies, and the possibility of cloning have made biological solutions to human social problems seem plausible. Creating Born Criminals shows us how history can guide us in responding to the reemergence of eugenics. In this first social history in sixty years of biological theories of crime, Nicole Hahn Rafter examines those theories' origins as
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Rafter, Nicole Hahn, 1939-
Creating born criminals.
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©1997
(OCoLC)643755191
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Nicole Hahn Rafter
ISBN: 0252022378 9780252022371 025206741X 9780252067419
OCLC Number: 35548813
Description: xi, 284 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Introduction : born criminals, eugenics, and biological theories of crime --
Before eugenics : idiots and idiocy in the mid-nineteenth century --
Feeble-minded women and the advent of eugenic criminology --
Criminalizing the mentally retarded --
The rise of the moral imbecile --
Degenerates appear in the prison system --
The anthropological born criminal --
The criminal imbecile --
Defective delinquents --
Psychopaths and the decline of eugenic criminology --
Defective delinquent legislation --
The aftermath of eugenic criminology.
Responsibility: Nicole Hahn Rafter.
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Abstract:

Genetic screening, new reproductive technologies, the promise of gene therapies, and the possibility of cloning have made biological solutions to human social problems seem plausible. Creating Born Criminals shows us how history can guide us in responding to the reemergence of eugenics. In this first social history in sixty years of biological theories of crime, Nicole Hahn Rafter examines those theories' origins as well as their content and demonstrates their undue influence on crime control in the United States. Rafter reveals the astonishing reality of eugenic prisons, designed to hold "unfit" criminals for life, which existed as late as the 1960s and which sought to label some offenders not only as inferior but also as a threat to future generations.

But Creating Born Criminals is much more than a look at the past. It is an exploration of the role of biological explanation as a form of discourse and of its impact upon society. While The Bell Curve and other recent books have stopped short of making eugenic recommendations, their contentions point toward eugenic conclusions, and people familiar with the history of eugenics can hear in them its echoes. Rafter demonstrates that we need to know how eugenic reasoning worked in the past and that we must recognize the dangers posed by the dominance of a theory that interprets social problems in biological terms and difference as biological inferiority.

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"In a highly readable and superbly researched study, Dr. Rafter traces the origins of the evocative concept of the 'defective delinquent'. She explores the complex origins of biocriminology, which Read more...

 
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