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Edwards, F.H. (1953). Revue Française De Psychanalyse 15, 1951, No. 1. Daniel Lagache. 'Psycho-Criminogenesis.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:74-75.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: Revue Française De Psychanalyse 15, 1951, No. 1. Daniel Lagache. 'Psycho-Criminogenesis.'

(1953). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:74-75

Revue Française De Psychanalyse 15, 1951, No. 1. Daniel Lagache. 'Psycho-Criminogenesis.'

F. H. Edwards

1. The psychologist's position. Contemporary tendencies of human psychology are rarefied by a psychological exclusiveness which takes the form of 'psycho-genesis'. Furnished with fundamental concepts of behaviour, personality environment and groups, psycho-criminology is today characterized by concern for whole effects and the interaction of biological, sociological, and psychological determinants. Psycho-criminogenesis is thus placed in a setting which is very near to that of general criminogenesis. It benefits principally by the contributions from social and dynamic psychology.

2. The resources of the psychologist. Psychocriminology utilizes the wide avenues of contemporary psychological approach: the naturalist and taxonomic approach, the clinical approach, and the psycho-analytic approach, which in spite of specific difficulties has been particularly fruitful. So far experiment has hardly been used; microsociology in return has given important results.

3. Formation of the criminal personality. A situation can be significantly criminogenic only for a given personality, which enables us to consider the personality as a system of conditions of behaviour. The difficulties of the problem proceed first of all from the diversity of criminal personalities; the greatest number do not verify, in the first analysis, that there are any great differences from the general population; it is to these that the problem of the genesis of the criminal personality must be applied. Another great difficulty lies in the diversity of methods of interpretation. Here two main tendencies are in opposition, one putting the accent on constitutional determinants, the other on individual experiences and socio-cultural factors. The proper tendency is to admit the interaction of these two groups. The development of personality on the whole is conceived as a socialization in which the mechanism of identification is the principal factor. The genesis of criminal personality is conceived as a disturbance of socialization and identification. The normal identification with the parent of the same sex was early recognized by Freud as the result of the resolution of the Oedipus complex. Contemporary works have shown the importance of earlier identifications, and as the more special concern of delinquency, the part played by disturbances of the mother-child relationship at a very early age. These recent works have, above all, thrown into relief the failure of normal identification; but the criminal personality is 'desocial' rather than antisocial or asocial. With many delinquents needs for identification and participation in groups give birth to a positive moral and social life. This way of looking at things is indispensable for the understanding of the dynamics of criminal conduct.

4. Interpersonal aspects of criminal behaviour. The difficulty of making an objective definition of criminal conduct is attributed principally to the fact that crime is an 'axiological' concept, differing in this from the objective concepts of neurosis and psychosis, and by variability of its concrete contents. The solution to this difficulty of definition is to disentangle the concept of crime on the basis of its original and positive properties. A certain number of principles are stated on the basis of which criminal conduct is defined—from a descriptive point of view as an aggression directed by an individual or a group of individuals, members of a group, against the common values of this group; their action is of the essence of values and of antagonistic groups. This inter-psychological definition greatly widens the concept of crime from its judicial meaning. The latter is only a particular case of analogous inter-psychological structures, so frequent in social life, that crime ought to be considered as a fundamental structure of human existence.

5. The intrapersonal aspects of criminal conduct. The aim of this chapter is to show that if criminal conduct is, in many respects, maladapted, it does, however, constitute for the personality an attempt at adjustment. Psycho-analytic discoveries have taken into account the dynamic and functional meaning of criminal behaviour. They show that although the subject appears active, he is acted on by unconscious motivation, and they show the active intervention of interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts in a situation where the personality is apparently not concerned, almost like an automatic act determined by a physiopathological process. It would be difficult to make a systematic inventory of all the dynamic meanings taken into account by the psycho-analyst. The theory of a pure constitutional determination hardly appears probable, except in cases of backwardness which renders all education impossible.

The appearance of constitutional criminality is conditioned by very early conflicts, where the subject is fixated to a stage of development in which interpersonal conflicts are regulated on a sadomasochistic basis. With later conflicts when the moral demands of the group have been partially internalized the criminogenic conflict becomes more apparent. The specific function of the criminal act is to act out the conflict by a

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mechanism of 'a pseudo-manic flight towards reality'. Criminal conduct appears as an alloplastic disorder in which aggression is directed outwards and not inwards.

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Article Citation

Edwards, F.H. (1953). Revue Française De Psychanalyse 15, 1951, No. 1.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:74-75

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