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Towards a unified criminology

A scientific study of the clinician and of his judgement in order to objectify the imponderable elusive qualities which make for a 'good' or a 'bad' clinician would aid the integrative process and reduce the lack of communication between sociological criminologists and clinical criminologists. An example of the need for this kind of study may clarify the reasons for it. One of the areas of greatest irritation and friction between clinicians and sociologists is in the concern with causation. The sociologist looks for cause in a scientific sense, and usually strives for statistical confirmation. The clinician, on the other hand, is satisfied with a partial and pragmatic hypothesis that justifies his action (often, any action) and receives confirmation from immediate results but not from statistical manipulations. The consequence for the clinician is the availability of a criterion ex adjuvantibus, which the sociologist generally lacks and which reinforces the former's judgement and security in his own diagnostic ability and manipulative power. A clearer definition of their respective roles and a better understanding of their respective limitations in the use of concepts such as causation, prognosis, and treatment should help to develop mutual semantic awareness together with effective practical paths toward combined clinical and social action. Causation, to the clinician, is an almost meaningless term unless it implies an action of some sort, a prognosis and a treatment. To the sociologist it is meaningless unless it fits into a theory or system of theories.