Sociology 2259 Lecture Notes - Social Learning Theory, Differential Association, Routine Activity Theory

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9 Feb 2013
Learning Theories
Deviance as Learned Behaviour
Bandura: “Social Learning Theory”--we learn to be deviant through observing and interacting
with others
It is a byproduct of socialization
Rejects the macro-level idea that society arises solely from institutions and social structures
Social learning Theories
1. Differential association (Sutherland)
2. Differential Identification (Glaser)
3. Techniques of Neutralization (Sykes & Matza)
4. Differential reinforcement (Akers)
Differential Association
Sutherland (1939)
Deviance is learned from one's subculture and is based on “excess definitions favourable to
violation of the law”
Must be presented with an OPPORTUNITY to engage in deviance
Within small, intimate groups, individuals learn both techniques (ex. Skills) AND motives (ex.
Reasons) for engaging in deviant behaviour
Learning deviance involves:
Opportunity—defining certain situations as the appropriate occasions for deviant
Techniques—Mastering the techniques (skills) of successful deviant activity
Motives—acquiring motives, drives, attitudes and rationalizations which justify deviant
**These are learned via our subcultures!
Sutherland's 9 Principles
1. Criminal behaviour is learned
2. Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with others in a process of communication
3. The principle part of the learning occurs within intimate personal groups
4. The learning includes techniques and motives
5. The vocabulary of motives and desires are learned from definitions of the legal codes as
favourable or unfavourable
6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favourable to violation
of law over definitions unfavourable to violation o law
7. Differential associations may vary in;
8. The process of learning criminal behaviour involves criminal behaviour all of the
mechanisms that are involved in any other learning
9. While criminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, it is not
explained by them, since non-criminal behaviour is an expression of the same needs and
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