A commitment to science and rationality and their application in public policy was a defining characteristic of modernity.

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The visible presence of class conflict and social misery in Europe,the rise of scientific interest and industrial innovation,and the idea of evolution and stages in human development were all to influence the establishment of positivism …

Introduction

Positivism was founded upon the belief that society (civilisation) is progressing ever forward, and that the social scientist can study society, provide a more accurate understanding of how society works, and ultimately provide a rational means of overcoming existing social problems and ills by using scientific methods. Social scientists were interested in promoting a positive view of the social order, and in providing positive interventions in social life to make things better. This required systematic study of existing social problems, and the development of a wide range of techniques and strategies to deal with issues relating to schooling, poverty and family life.Under the rubric of positive reform, a wide variety of "experts" - medical, doctors, psychiatrists, health workers, teachers, criminal justice officials and social workers - began to devise "scientific" ways to raise children better, to professionalise parenting, to deal with personal troubles and individual deficiencies, to deal with young offenders and generally to engineer wide scale social reform. The development of positivism was related to efforts to adopt natural science methods and concepts in the study of society. Positivism is based on the idea of a scientific understanding of crime and criminality. It assumes that there is a distinction between the "normal" and the "deviant" and attempts to study the specific factors that give rise to deviant or criminal behaviour. ...
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