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SOC 222
Allison Chenier

4 February-05-13 2:37 PM Interpersonal & Situational Theories - Looks to explain the interaction between the individuals and their environments ○ How this can relate to offending • Major Assumptions - Human behaviour is flexible, not fixed, and can change depending on the situation - Delinquency occurs under the same conditions that non-delinquent behaviour occurs under ○ A delinquent isn't bad or deviant- the same person commits delinquent & non-delinquent acts - Most delinquency occirs within a group context • Two Fundamental Arguments: - The influence of peers in situational factors can independently have an impact on the decision to commit a delinquent act ○ Behavioural AND situational decision to offend - The primary cause is outside the person ○ Not a long-term behavioural pattern ○ Behaviour is delinquent not the person *These theories show the capacity that humans have to modify the impact of external factors due to their ability to rational choice and exercise free will • Differential Association - Edwin Sutherland *One of the first and arguable the most influential social learning theories - Suggests that criminality is learned through a process of differential association with others who communicate criminal values and support committing crime - All behaviour is learned - including criminal behaviour - Primary premise: ○ Crime is learned through social environments ○ Not an innate characteristic of an individual ○ Provides both micro and macro explanations Micro: delinquent acts occur in Macro: norms, values, and behavioural conjunction with delinquent patterns vary based on how the associations environment is organized • Theoretical Propositions 1. Criminal behaviour is learned - Not genetic or predetermined - Anyone can learn criminal behaviour 2. Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication - Gestures, watching, verbal interactions 3. Principal part of the learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate, personal groups - Work, school, family, peer networks - Media & music don't play a big role in development of norms and behaviours 4. When criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes : a. Techniques of committing the crime b. The specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations and attitudes  Both how and why to commit the crime 5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of legal code as favourable or unfavourable 6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violating the law - Differential association is fluid & flexible - Attitudes and norms can vary based on the type of behaviour/offence in question 7. Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity - How often, how long, how influential relationships are, the seriousness of the relationship  More important a person is believed to be in your life, the more influence they have on your behaviours/thoughts 8. The process of learning criminal behaviour involves all the mechanisms that are involved in learning other behaviours 9. Much like non-criminal behaviour, criminal behaviour expresses one's needs and values _________________________________________ • All propositions include three interrelated concepts: • Normative culture conflict - Results in a redefinition process • Differential association - Being the excess of definitions being favourable to breaking the law • Differential social organization - Relationship between social structure and the development of definitions  "Tabula Rosa" - We're born with a blank slate that is then filled with information we learn through social interactions with others close to us - Peer influence __________________________________________ 4.2 Adaptations to Differential Association • Criticisms of Differential Association Theory - No applicable at the individual level  Assumes that those who are not delinquent have been successful socialized but this isn't always true  Doesn’t account for the emergence of criminal values only the communication of them - Many concepts in this theory are vague  Rarely tested empirically  How can it be tested  How can It be assessed especially if it is retrospective after the criminal behaviour has taken place  Validity of the theory is difficult to test empirically • Glaser's Differential Identification Theory (1956) - Reference Group - person seeks approval from group, whether group is real SOC 222 Page 1 - Reference Group - person seeks approval from group, whether group is real of imaginary  A person peruses crime to the extent they identify with real or imaginary people from who's perspective the criminal behaviour seems acceptable - Person seeks approval from this group even if this includes criminal behaviours • Akers & Burgess's Differential Reinforcement Theory (1966) - Used reinforcement and skinners concept of operant conditioning  Behaviour which is rewarded- if it is rewarded it will be imitated & modelled  Rewards = positive - Criminal behaviour is rewarded by those who value it - a person's main source of reinforcement - 4 Learning Mechanisms: 1. Differential Association - The notion that delinquent attitudes & behaviours are learned in a group context - Group has the ability to model & reinforce these behaviours 2. Definitions - Delinquent definitions are positive or neutralizing → Positive definitions = beliefs/attitudes that make the behaviours morally desirable or whole-ly permissible → Neutralizing definitions = favour the commission of crime by justifying it or excusing it 3. Differential Reinforcement - behaviour is a function of the frequency, amount, or probablility of experienced and perceived rewards and punishments - The words/responses of other people directly reinforce behaviour through anticipated rewards/punishments → Similar to rational choice t
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