CRIM 012H Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Social Learning Theory, Embezzlement, Cognitive Dissonance

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8 Nov 2016

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Vocabularies of Motive: Neutralizations and Accounts
A special kind of “definition” favorable to crime. Covered
under “definitions” in social learning theory
“Vocabularies of Motive” – C. Wright Mills
Rhetoric about our motives that is deployed for strategic
social purposes, to others and even ourselves
How we talk about our motives and make them socially
Stages of becoming an embezzler:
Non-shareable financial problem
o Gambling debts
o Extramarital affairs
o Drug habit
o Illegal investments
Embezzlement as a solution
o When a person’s job gives them access to large
amounts of money with little supervision
o I’m only borrowing it
o I had no choice
o Nobody was hurt
o The company owes it to me
o I did it for my family
Excuses that people articulate after behavior to protect self-
concept from guilt and counter negative reactions of others
Pre-behavior rhetoric that allows people to overcome or
“neutralize” the hold of norms forbidding the behavior
Ex. I’m usually very studious, but tonight I am giving myself
the night off and going out
Matza and Sykes: 5 techniques of neutralizations/accounts
Denial of Responsibility
o It’s not my fault they left money out
Denial of Injury
o I’m not going to hurt anyone by doing this
Denial/Blaming of the Victim
o People are stupid to leave their keys in the car, it’s their
fault their car was stolen
Condemning the Condemners
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