WDW205 Lecture 6

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Woodsworth College Courses
Jim Davies

WDW205 Lecture 6 10/29/2012 Social Learning and Social Control Theories of Crime Social Learning Theories - Origins lie in the ideas of Gabriel Tarde (1843-1904) and his theory of imitation - Consistent with ideas and concepts developed within psychology. - Idea that crime – and the values and motivations that promote crime – are the product of normal human learning processes. o You are the product of your learning Differential Association Theory - Edwin Sutherland and Donald Cressey. - Crime is a politically defined construct. - Criminal behavior is learned – just like conventional behavior – within social groups. - Must learn both criminal motivations and criminal techniques. o What justifies the crime o How to engage in a criminal crime - A person becomes deviant when they experience more favorable than unfavorable definitions towards deviance o Not everybody you know has the same impact on your life (some may be for influential than others) - Definitions vary according to frequency, duration, intensity and priority. o Frequency: how often you interact with someone o Duration: those people that you have known longer o Intensity: how close you feel to somebody (closeness of the relationship) o Priority: when they came into your life Pro-Crime Values, by Gang Membership - Gangs socialize people into thinking and acting in a particular way - We need to justify when it is appropriate to use violence Differential Reinforcement Theory - Ron Akers: Deviant Behavior: A Social Learning Approach. - Consistent with the principles of operant conditioning. - Behavioral modeling (intimate social groups not needed) o As long as you are positively reinforced - Positive and negative reinforcement o Behaviors are more likely to be repeated with positive reinforcement, vice versa for negative reinforcements Neutralization - Sykes and Matza: Most people – including criminals – adhere to conventional values and beliefs o Tend to have the same beliefs of what is right and what is wrong - Crime, therefore, must be rationalized in order to neutralize feelings of guilt. These rationalizations must be learned. o Criminals learn excuse for their behavior at their psychic level feel better, of who they are and the thing they engage in - Techniques of Neutralization: 1. Denial of responsibility; the devil made me do it, insanity 2. Denial of injury; this did not hurt anyone 3. Denial of the victim; the victim deserved it 4. Condemnation of the condemners; the police that arrested me are more corrupted than I am 5. Appeal to higher loyalties; I didn’t do it for myself I did it for others that are in need Labeling Theory - We are a product of the environment, and how people treat us is going to have an influence on who we become - People who are labeled deviant/criminal, will start to behavior according to the script - Kai Erickson and Edwin Lemert. - Interactionist definitions of crime and criminality. - Differential enforcement. - Negative social labels cause permanent harm to those so labelled. - Two harms of the criminal label: 1. Stigmatization; 2. Change to self-concept. - Difference between primary and secondary deviance o Everybody will engage in deviance in one point or time o Primary deviance: does not develop a consistent criminal behavior o Secondary deviance: more permanent and engraved deviant behavior Social Learning Theories: Policy Implication - Peers deviance and ones’ own deviance > strong single correlate - Treatment or rehabilitation programs that focus on resocialization and learning processes. o Teach more pro-social behaviors > behavior will change for the better - Diversion programs for criminal offenders. o Take out before you are permanently labeled - Keeps novice criminals separate from “hardened” criminals. o Prevents hardened criminals from association to novice criminals, not allowing them to pass down technics and motivations o Did not want gang members to recruit new members (pass down techniques) - The youth justice system.
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