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Lecture 4

Sociology 2266A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Social Control Theory, White-Collar Crime, Child Abuse

Course Code
SOC 2266A/B
Tara Bruno

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Social Process Theories
Basic Premise
Criminality is a function of socialization
Everyone has the potential to be a criminal
oHowever not everyone turns to crime
oLess than 0.5% of people responsible for the majority of crime in 2006
We need to examine the agents of socialization
oEg, family, school, peers
Family Relations
Conflict and tensions
oAges 4 to 9 are critical
Separation and divorce
Single parenthood
oEspecially important for girls
Blended families
Inconsistent discipline and poor supervision
oRelationship with parents
Parental deviance
oMental health problems, drug abuse
Child abuse and neglect
oThe cycle of violence
Educational Experience
Poor academic achievement
oImportance for whites and boys
Bullying victims
oAlso become aggressors
"Streaming" or tracking (labelling)
Differential school funding
Crimes occurs at school
Peer Relations
Acceptance and popularity
oFrom age 8 on
Influence on decision-making
Cliques and crowds
oPhysical, relational bullying
Source of social skills
oUnpopular kids more antisocial
Gang activity
oPeers support delinquency
Institutional Involvement and Belief
Religious beliefs and values
oLess important than participation
Religious participation
oDecreases drug use and crime
Participation in other organized activities
oEg, sports, insulates against deviance also
Social Learning Theories
Differential Association
Neutralization Theory
Differential Association
Edwin H. Sutherland (1883-1950)
Introduced the concept of "white collar crime"
Challenged the stereotype of crime as a lower-class phenomenon
Criminal attitudes and skills are learned just like any other behaviour
oThrough interaction
oWith significant others
Criminal learning includes skills and motives
Significant others give definitions favourable and unfavourable to law-breaking
Differential Association
Too many definitions favourable to breaking the law results in deviance
Association vary in priority, frequency, duration and intensity
Criminal behaviour results from general needs and values, not special needs and values
Differential Association
Research shows that
oDeviant friends are particularly important in illegal drug behaviours
o"I had a friend of mine who was an older guy and he introduced me to selling
marijuana to make a few dollars"
oRecently cultivated friendships are more important in deviant behaviours
Which comes first
oDeviant friends or criminal behaviour?
Neutralization Theory
Sykes and Matza (1957)
People "drift" between deviant and conventional behaviours
Techniques of neutralization justify the deviance and paves the way for further deviance
Subterranean values exist side by side with conventional values in the larger culture
oEg, watching pornography
Techniques of Neutralization
Denial of responsibility
Denial of injury
Denial of victim
Condemnation of the condemners
Appeal to higher loyalties
Social Control Theories
Containment Theory
The Social Bond
Self-Control Theory
Power-Control Theory
Social Control Theories
Key issue
oAll people are tempted to be deviant
oHow are some people able to resist temptation?
oSelf-concept, self-esteem
oSelf-report surveys to identify "good boys" in bad neighbourhoods
Containment Theory
Walter Reckless (1967)
Deviance is motivated by
oInternal pushes (personality)
oExternal pressures (poverty)
oExternal pulls (deviant peers)
A positive self-image and ego strength counteract these forces
The Social Bond
oSocial clubs
oFuture goals
Testing Social Control Theory
Non Delinquent Youth
oHave close family ties
oDon’t smoke or drink
oHave close friendships
oDo well at school
oEngage in conventional activities
Delinquent Youth
oFamily detachment
Conflict, abuse, lack of affection
oEducational detachment
Low academic achievement