Chapter Eight: Social Process Theories
social process theories: approaches that look at the operation of formal and informal
social institutions, such as socialization within family, peer groups, schools, and legal
socialization: the process of human development and enculturation. primary socialization
takes place in the family, and secondary socialization takes place in institutions.
stigmatize: to create an enduring label that taints a person’s identity and changes him or
her in the eyes of others.
social learning theory: the view that behaviour is modeled through observation of
human interactions, either directly from observing others or indirectly through the media.
rewarded interactions are copied, punished interactions are avoided.
control theory: an approach that looks at the ability of society and its institutions to
control, manage, restrain, or direct human behaviour.
labelling theory: the view that society creates deviance through the designation of
individual behaviour as deviant. the stigmatized individual feels unwanted and accepts
the label as his identity.
Differential Association Theory: the principle that criminal acts are related to a person’s
exposure to an excess amount of antisocial attitudes and values.
• Cime is learned in the same manner as any other behaviour
• Crime is learned in interaction with other persons
• Learning deviance occurs within intimate personal groups
• Learning deviance includes learning the techniques for committing crimes as well
as the motives
• People who come into contact with others who maintain different views on
whether to obey the legal code.
• Criminal perceives more benefits than unfavourable consequences to violating the
• Vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity.
• Learning definitions favourable to criminality produces illegal behaviour because
the motives for criminal behaviour are not the same as those for conventional
differential reinforcement theory: in social learning theory, the view that crime is a
type of learned behaviour, combining differential association with elements of
neutralization theory: an approach holds that offenders adhere to conventional values
while drifting into periods of illegal behaviour by neutralizing legal and moral values. subterranean values: in neutralization theory, the morally tinged influences that become
entrenched in the culture but are publicly condemned by conventional members of
drift: the movement of youth in and out of delinquency because their lifestyles can
embrace both conventional and deviant values.
techniques of neutralization: strategies used by deviants to counteract moral constraints
so that they may drift into criminal acts; a cognitive dissonance strategy.
• Deny responsibility: offenders claim their unlawful acts were not their control but
resulted from forces beyond their control.
• Deny injury: stealing is considered as borrowing, etc.
• Deny the victim: the victim of the crime ‘had it coming’ which makes it morally
• Condemn of the condemners: the world is a corrupt place with a dogeatdog
• Appeal to higher loyalties: novice criminals argue they are caught in the dilemma
of being loyal to their own peer group vs. abiding by societal rules.
Five Additional Techniques:
• The defense of necessity
• The metaphor of the ledger: good qualities make up for an illegal instance.
• The denial of the necessity of the law: the law is not fair or just.
• The claim that everyone else is doing it
• The claim of entitlement: entitled to the gains of a crime.
commitment to conformity: a positive orientation to the rules of society, whereby the
individual internalizes those rules.
selfrejection: the consequence of successfully being labeled, whereby the negative
stigma is internalized.