Journal
Bridging Eastern and Western Psychiatry
Мост между Восточной и Западной п&#

Cesare Lombroso (1836-1909)

Cesare Lombroso (1835-1909), an Italian psychiatrist, is considered the father of criminal anthropology. In the late XIX century by studying the anthropological measures of alive and executed prisoners, he hypothesized that the innate tendency of some individuals to criminal behaviours could be inferred by peculiar signs such as: shape and dimension and of the skull, forehead and jaw, tattoos, etc. In his opinion, these anomalies, named stigmata, recalling that of apes, and prehistoric humans represented a reappearance of primitive traits (atavism); these reversion of evolution was more likely persist in rural locations, but also in the slums of suburban areas, where violent behaviours could become adaptive.
By examining physical features it was possible to individuate potential criminals and adopt strategies for crime prevention and punishment. In any case, according to this point of view, crime repression had to take into account a more human attitude toward these people, who were unable to restrain from committing crime and thus biologically driven to delinquency.
Although Lombroso’s theories became widespread, as testified by the many translations of his writings, mainly “Criminal Man” (1876), they were also object of discredit and opposition, mainly due to the lack of any intrinsic scientific validity and in the nineteenth century theories emphasizing environmental and societal causes for criminality progressively became prevalent.
Elisabetta Coli







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