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SOC 222 (41)

Juvenile Delinquency

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SOC 222
Lindsay Van Wyck

Juvenile Delinquency Interpersonal and Situational theories: Differential association theory -fair share of delinquency happens in groups -what are major assumptions for interpersonal and situational theories? -behaviour is flexible not fixed -same conditions as non-delinquent behaviour -delinquency happens most often in a group context -these theories are arguing two things: 1. influence of peers in situational factors can independently have an impact on the decision to commit a d. act 2. primary cause is outside the person -the behaviour is delinquent- not the person Differential Association (lecture 4.1) -criminality learned by other people -Edwin H. Sutherland's theory -all behaviours are learned through the acquisition of norms and values, patterns of behaviour that are conducive to crime -not an inate characteristic of the person -theory provides micro and macro explanation -macro: norms, values, behaviour patters vary depending on environment -micro: peers -theoretical propositions (Sutherland's 9 principles): -anyone can learn criminal behaviour- its learned -principle part of learning occurs within intimate, personal groups (media/music don’t play a big role in learning) -these behaviours are internalized -how to commit the act, and why to commit it -excess to definitions that favour the law cause delinquency -needs are expressed in d. acts as well as non d. acts -all propositions have 3 interrelated concepts: 1. normative culture context 2. differential association (definitions that are favourable or not favourable of criminal behaviour) 3. differential social organization (every area has some form of social organization that may/may not be conducive to criminality) *differential association as fluid and flexible -it is not necessary to observe delinquent acts -the degree of differential association can vary depending on... -frequency -duration -priority -intensity (the more important the person is in your life, the bigger influence they will have) Adaptations to Differential Association Theory (4.2) -criticisms: 1. not applicable at the individual level -some people who rarely heard criminal definitions end up becoming criminal -doesn’t account for the emergence of criminal values- only the communication of them -assumes that those who are not delinquent have been successfully socialized to conventional values 2. many conceptual terms are vague -theory is difficult to test empirically Glaser's Differential identification theory -reference group: person seeks approval from group, whether group is real (in contact with individual) or imaginary (not directly in contact with) Akers and Burgess's Differential Reinforcement theory -criminal behaviour is rewarded by those who value it -Four learning mechanisms: 1. differential association 2. definitions (positive and neutralizing) -neutralizing definitions reinforce criminal behaviour 3. differential reinforcement -anticipated social rewards/punishments -closely linked to rational choice 4. imitation
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