Positivism consists of three strands which apply the methods of the natural sciences to study deviance the three strands are made up of biological, psychological and sociological positivism.
Biological positivism is based on the idea that those who are deviant have certain physical characteristics which observed and measured. Cesare Lombroso was instrumental in the study of deviance using the methods of the natural sciences. In his book the criminal mind
Lombroso believed that those who are deviant (criminally) have physical attributes which make them more susceptible to deviancy these include a deformed skull, unusually shaped noses, slopping foreheads, protruding jaws and large ears. (Lombroso, 2006)
Psychological positivism which can be observed in the work of Freud focuses on the effects poor primary socialization as a child can have on an individual in their later years. Psychological positivists believe that poor primary socialization as a child can lead to a person not developing “normal” personality traits. It is believed those who were not socialized well as children grow into deviant adults. They tend to struggle to deal with unresolved issues from childhood as well as having thoughts and urges to perform deeds that would be seen as unacceptable by society (Williams, 2008) . Freud identifies three distinct components of the personality: The ID, the EGO and the SUPEREGO. The ID, the unconscious area of the personality, includes the instinctual and primitive behaviors. It seeks immediate gratification of desires which when left unchecked can result in highly antisocial behaviour. The EGO is the element of the personality which enables the ID to function in a socially acceptable way. It does not exist at birth; it is learnt. The SUPEREGO is the internalised parental and social authority which indicates what is right and wrong (Scott and Marshall, 2009). The theory is based upon the idea that, through the ID we are all born to be deviant, but we are kept in check by the EGO and SUPEREGO. Deviance then is the result of a harsh, weak or deviant SUPEREGO. If the SUPEREGO is excessively harsh, the individual is prone to immature/ fixated, deviant or perverse behavior (Newburn, 2007). Those with a weak superego act in ways which gratifies their ID regardless of social constraints. They have few inhibitions and lack guilt. This is often associated with self-centeredness, impulsivity and psychopathy. With a deviant superego, the superego standards develop normally, however the standards are deviant, e.g. a son raised by a criminal father might develop a deviant superego that does not react to criminal acts (Newburn, 2007).
Gottfredson and hirchi shared similar ideas as to that of Sigmund F rued. (Gottfredson&Hirschi,1990) placed great importance on child rearing and how it is criterial to the development of a persons self control. Gottfried and Hirschi stated that a family that is not loving, nurturing or does not promote individuality and does not punish bad behaviour . They found that children from these types of homes are often subjected to abuse or neglect. (Friedrich,2003) A child who has experienced these things often have issues in later life with formulating 'normal' relationships and often leads to them performing deviant actions.
Sociological Positivism uses scientific methodology to find causes of deviance in social factors. Emile Durkheim (1897) used official statistics to study the suicide rates among Catholics and Protestants (Durkheim, 1951). Durkheim believed that if he could provide evidence that suicide an act which is deemed to be the most individual acts had social causes. Durkheim believed that proof of a link between suicide…