Chapter 8

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Woodsworth College Courses
Jim Davies

Criminology in Canada: Chapter 8: 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 system Socialization: the process of human development and enculturation. Primary socialization takes place in the family, and secondary socialization takes places in institutions  All people, regardless of race, class, or gender have the potential to become either delinquent or law-abiding citizens - Even in the most deteriorated areas, criminality is controlled by the quality of interpersonal interactions o Socialization is as important as social structure to understand crime Social Processes and Crime - Criminologist study the critical elements of socialization and how those elements contribute to the development of a criminal career Family Relations - Between ages of four and nine (window of opportunity), those children living in high-crime areas will be better able to resist the temptations of the streets if they receive fair discipline, care, and support from parents who provide them with strong, positive role models - Parents personal behavior and personality characteristics have a greater impact on their children’s behavior than does their married, never-married or divorced status o Having an intact family structure seems to be an important factor - The cycle of violence, children who are physically victimized and who witness interparental violence have an increased risk of becoming adults who abuse their children and partners - Men’s risk was increased by exposure to father-to-mother violence, women’s risk for being in an abusive relationship was increased by childhood victimization - Child abuse is the most prevalent among families living in socially disorganized neighborhoods (association between poverty and violence) Educational Experience - Studies show that children who do poorly in school, lack motivation and feel alienated are most likely to engage in criminal acts o Successful school performance is an insulating factor in delinquency - Children who do not like school, whose school progress is poor, and who think grades are unimportant are more likely to be involved in property offences o Children who have lowered educational aspirations and who skip classes are more likely to report being involved in high levels of property offences - Climate provided as either emotional or instrumental support at the levels of both the classroom and the school - Stigmatize: to create an enduring label that taints a person’s identity and changes him or her in the eyes of others Peer Relations - Between ages 8 and 14, friends become greater influence over decision making than do parents - Boys are more likely to be victims of physical bullying, girls, relational bullying (ostracized) Institutional Involvement and Belief - People with strong moral values and beliefs are generally less likely to be violent o Traditional form of social control and secondary institutional socialization Branches of Social Process Theory - Social learning theory: the view that behavior 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 o People are born good and learn to be bad - Control theory: an approach that looks at the ability of society and its institutions to control, manage, restrain, or direct human behavior; social control theory o People are born bad and must be controlled to be good - Labeling theory: the view that society creates deviance through the designation of individual behavior as deviant. The stigmatized individual behavior as deviant. The stigmatized individual feels unwanted and accepts the label as an identity o People are controlled by the reactions of others Social Learning Theory - Crime is a product of learning the norms, values, and behaviors associated with criminal activity Differential Association Theory (Edwin Sutherland) - Differential association (DA) theory: according to Sutherland, the principle that criminal acts are related to person’s exposure to an excess amount of antisocial attitudes and values - Believed that criminality is not steamed from individual traits nor socio-economic position, rather a learning process that could affect anymore - The acquisition of behavior is a social learning process, the criminal skills and motives are learned Principles of Differential Association 1. Crime is learned 2. Crime is learned through interaction with other persons 3. Learning deviance occurs within intimate personal groups 4. Learning deviance includes learning the techniques for committed crime and learning motives, rationalizations and attitudes 5. Because the reaction to social rules is not uniform across society, people come into contact with others who maintain different views on whether to obey the legal code 6. A criminal perceived more benefits than unfavorable consequences to violating the law. When their acquaintances have definitions that are favorable toward criminality and are isolated from counteracting forces 7. Differential associations vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity 8. Learning definitions favorable to criminality produces illegal behavior because the motives for criminal behavior are not the same as for conventional behavior - DA theory o People learn criminal behaviors and attitudes from close and trusted relatives and companions, criminal career develops if learned antisocial values and behaviors are not exceeded by conventional attitudes and behaviors.  Criminal behavior is learned in a process similar to learning any other human behavior Testing Differential Association - Following a cohort over time to see if repeated exposure escalates deviance - People who maintain deviant friendships are likely to persist in their offending careers, counteracting the crime-reducing effects of the aging out process Differential Reinforcement Theory (Akers and Burgess) - Differential reinforcement (DR) theory: in social learning theory, the view that crime is a type of learned behavior, combining differential association with elements of psychological learning - Various learning processes shape behavior o Direct conditioning: when behavior is either rewarded or punished during interaction with others o Differential association: learning from direct or indirect interaction with others o Imitation: observational learning experiences o Cognitive definitions: attitudes that are favorable or unfavorable toward a behavior and can either stimulate or extinguish that behavior - People make rational choices about crime because they have learned to balance risks against the potential for criminal gain Neutralization Theory (Matza and Sykes) - Neutralization theory: an approach holds that offenders adhere to conventional values while drifting into periods of illegal behavior 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 society - Drift: according to Matza, 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 Techniques of Neutralization 1. Deny responsibility 2. Deny injury 3. Deny the victim 4. Condemn of the condemners 5. Appeal to higher loyalties By Minor, Klockars and Coleman 6. The defense of necessity 7. The metaphor of the ledger 8. The denial of the necessity of the law 9. The claim that everybody else is doing it 10. The claim of entitlement Are Social Learning Theories Valid? - Its ability to explain criminality across class structures Social Control Theories - All people have the potential to violate the law and that modern society presents many opportunities for illegal activity - “Why do people obey the rules of society?” o Choice theorist: fear of punishment o Structural theorist: obedience is due to access to legitimate opportunities o Learning theorist: obedience is acquired through contact with law-abiding parents and peers - Commitment to conformity: a positive orientation to the rules of society, whereby the individual internalizes those rules Self-Concept and Crime - Self-rejection: the consequence of successfully being labeled, whereby the negative stigma is internalized o More likely to engage in deviant behaviors Containment Theory (Reckless) - Containments: internal and external factors that insulate youths from delinquency- promoting situations, such as strong self-concept, and positive-support from parents and teachers o Internal pushes (personal factors) o External pressures (adverse living conditions) o External pulls (deviant companions) - The ability of youths to resist crime depends on their maintaining a positive self- image in the face of environmental pressures toward delinquency Social Control Theory (Travis Hirschi) - The onset of criminality to the weakening of ties that bind people to society - All individuals are potential law violators but are kept under control because they fear that illegal behavior will damage their relationships with others - All elements of society, people vary I their responses to conventional social rules and values Elements of the Social Bond - The social bond a person maintains with society has four elements 1. Attachment: a person’s sensitivity to and intere
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