Catalogue


Inventing the criminal : a history of German criminology, 1880-1945 /
Richard F. Wetzell.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2000.
description
xiv, 348 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0807825352 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2000.
isbn
0807825352 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
3846290
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Richard F. Wetzell is a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The first history of German criminology from Imperial Germany through the Third Reich. Exploring the interaction between law, social science, and medicine, Richard Wetzell reveals a constant tension between the criminologists' hereditarian biases and an increasing methodological sophistication that prevented many of them from endorsing the crude genetic determinism and racism of Hitler's regime.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2001-02-01:
This book both traces the development of the discipline of criminology in modern Germany and contributes to the debate over the relationship of Hitler's Third Reich to what preceded it. Wetzell sides with those who view the Nazi era as a pathological example of modernity rather than one of German particularity. Further, he joins those who have demonstrated that the Nazi regime was much less uniform than had been hitherto assumed. As 19th-century German academics moved away from an individualistic retributive theory of crime to a more deterministic one, they divided between those who emphasized the social origins of crime and those who emphasized its medical origins. The latter, under the lead of psychiatrists, became dominant by the Weimar Republic, but usually in a form qualified by the former. Many criminologists came to believe that criminal characteristics were hereditary, although there was widespread disagreement about how to constitute those characteristics. Wetzell demonstrates both the continuation of this disagreement into the Nazi era and the disagreement among criminologists over whether to endorse the Nazi policies of forced sterilization and "euthanasia" of criminals. Upper-division undergraduates and above. C. T. Loader; University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Reviews
Review Quotes
Wetzell's elegantly argued book offers a provocative but convincing history of the fate of biological determinism in Germany. Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University
Wetzell's book is solidly researched and clearly organized and written. American Historical Review
Wetzell's elegantly argued book offers a provocative but convincing history of the fate of biological determinism in Germany.Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State University
Wetzell's book is solidly researched and clearly organized and written.American Historical Review
No serious researcher in the area can afford to ignore it.Journal of Modern History
No serious researcher in the area can afford to ignore it. Journal of Modern History
Inventing the Criminal provides a well-researched overview of the development of German criminological thought. Bulletin of the History of Medicine
Inventing the Criminal makes a major contribution to our knowledge of criminological discourse.Andrew Lees, Rutgers University
Inventing the Criminal makes a major contribution to our knowledge of criminological discourse. Andrew Lees, Rutgers University
Inventing the Criminal provides a well-researched overview of the development of German criminological thought.Bulletin of the History of Medicine
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of biological research into the causes of crime, but the origins of this kind of research date back to the late nineteenth century. Here, Richard Wetzell presents the first history of German criminology from Imperial Germany through the Weimar Republic to the end of the Third Reich, a period that provided a unique test case for the perils associated with biological explanations of crime. Drawing on a wealth of primary sources from criminological, legal, and psychiatric literature, Wetzell shows that German biomedical research on crime predominated over sociological research and thus contributed to the rise of the eugenics movement and the eventual targeting of criminals for eugenic measures by the Nazi regime. However, he also demonstrates that the development of German criminology was characterized by a constant tension between the criminologists' hereditarian biases and an increasing methodological sophistication that prevented many of them from endorsing the crude genetic determinism and racism that characterized so much of Hitler's regime. As a result, proposals for the sterilization of criminals remained highly controversial during the Nazi years, suggesting that Nazi biological politics left more room for contention than has often been assumed.
Long Description
Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of biological research into the causes of crime, but the origins of this kind of research date back to the late nineteenth century. Here, Richard Wetzell presents the first history of German criminology from Imperial Germany through the Weimar Republic to the end of the Third Reich, a period that provided a unique test case for the perils associated with biological explanations of crime.Drawing on a wealth of primary sources from criminological, legal, and psychiatric literature, Wetzell shows that German biomedical research on crime predominated over sociological research and thus contributed to the rise of the eugenics movement and the eventual targeting of criminals for eugenic measures by the Nazi regime. However, he also demonstrates that the development of German criminology was characterized by a constant tension between the criminologists' hereditarian biases and an increasing methodological sophistication that prevented many of them from endorsing the crude genetic determinism and racism that characterized so much of Hitler's regime. As a result, proposals for the sterilization of criminals remained highly controversial during the Nazi years, suggesting that Nazi biological politics left more room for contention than has often been assumed.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Abbreviationsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
The Origins of Modern Criminologyp. 15
Medical Explanations of Crimep. 17
Moral Statisticsp. 21
Studies of the "Criminal Classes"p. 25
Lombroso's Theory of the "Born Criminal"p. 28
The German Penal Reform Movementp. 31
From Criminal Anthropology to Criminal Psychology, 1880-1914p. 39
Psychiatrists, Prison Doctors, and the Reception of Lombrosop. 40
Degeneration Theory and Lombroso's German Criticsp. 46
The "Born Criminal" Redefinedp. 52
Combining Biological and Social Explanations of Crimep. 60
Conclusionp. 68
Criminology and Penal Policy, 1880-1914p. 73
Criminal Justice, Criminology, and the Question of Legal Responsibilityp. 73
The Question of Diminished Legal Responsibilityp. 79
The IKV Debate over the Treatment of Minderwertigep. 83
The Juristentag Debate over the Treatment of Minderwertigep. 90
Proposals for the Surveillance and Preventive Internment of Minderwertigep. 96
Proposals for Sterilizationp. 100
Criminal Sociology in the Weimar Yearsp. 107
"A Giant Experiment": Studies of Crime during the First World Warp. 109
Franz Exner's Criminal Sociologyp. 116
Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Weimar Yearsp. 120
Varieties of Criminal Biology in the Weimar Yearsp. 125
The Creation of Bavaria's Criminal-Biological Servicep. 128
Criticisms of the Criminal-Biological Servicep. 137
Psychoanalysis and Somatotypingp. 142
The Search for Abnormal Character Traits: From Minderwertige to "Psychopathic Personalities"p. 144
The Search for Genetic Factorsp. 153
The First Twin Studyp. 161
Criminal Psychologyp. 168
Assessing the Different Trends in Weimar Criminal Biologyp. 174
Criminology Under the Nazi Regimep. 179
Criminology and Nazismp. 179
Anti-Semitismp. 186
The Search for Genetic Factors Continuedp. 190
The Search for Genetic Factors Criticizedp. 202
Combining Criminal Biology and Sociology: Two Synthesesp. 209
Research on "Asocials"p. 219
Conclusionp. 230
Criminology and Eugenics, 1919-1945p. 233
Sterilization Debates among Weimar Psychiatrists, 1923-1933p. 237
Weimar Bureaucrats and Politicians Respond, 1923-1933p. 246
The Nazi Sterilization Law of July 1933p. 254
Expanding the Definition of Feeblemindednessp. 260
Feeblemindedness and Crime in the Sterilization Courtsp. 265
The Treatment of Criminals under the Marriage Health Lawp. 272
Debates about Expanding the Sterilization Law to Include Criminalsp. 276
Radical Schemes and the Murder of Criminals in the "Euthanasia" Operation, 1939-1945p. 280
Conclusionp. 289
Conclusionp. 295
Bibliographyp. 307
Indexp. 345
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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