SOCIAL PROCESS THEORIES Theories which are based on the concept that an individual’s socialization determines the likelihood of criminality. According to social process theories, all people, regardless of their race, class, or gender, have the potential to become delinquent or criminals.
The Influences of Peers, Cliques and Crowds To what extent is our behavior influenced by others? Do all people affect our behavior to the same degree? Do different kinds of people have different kinds of effects on our behavior? How do these questions relate to delinquency and crime control?
Socialization Processes of Society Family relations Education experience Peer relations Child abuse; Sexual abuse; Neglect Interaction with authority figures Institutions (church attendance and religious beliefs)
QUESTIONS Does delinquency cause educational failure? Or, Does educational failure cause delinquency?
SOCIAL PROCESS THEORIES Social learning theories: differential association theory, differential reinforcement theory, and theory of neutralization. Social control theories: containment theory and social bond theory. Social reaction theory (labeling).
Social Learning Theory: Differential Association Sutherland and Cressey. Criminal behavior and criminal techniques are learned. Learned behavior is a byproduct of interacting with others. Learned behavior begins when a person is in their adolescence from close friends and relatives. Criminal behavior occurs when the definitions toward crime outweigh the definitions against crime.
Social Learning Theory: Differential Association Major Premise: People learn to commit crime from exposure to antisocial definitions.
Differential Reinforcement Theory Akers Direct conditioning – Differential Reinforcement Negative Reinforcement Applies the concepts of differential association with psychological learning theory – behavior is influenced by those groups that control reinforcement and punishment which defines normative definitions.
Social Learning Theories; Differential Reinforcement Theory STRENGTHS Adds learning theory STRENGTHS Adds learning theory principles to differential principles to differential association. Links association. Links sociological and sociological and psychological psychological principles. principles. MAJOR PREMISE Criminal behavior depends on the person’s experiences with rewards for conventional behaviors and deviant ones. Being rewarded for deviance leads to crime.
Neutralization Theory Matza and Sykes Criminal behavior is learned. Stresses that youths’ learning of behavior is based on rationalizations that enable them to neutralize values and drift back and forth between accepted social values and illegal behavior.
Social Process Theories Neutralization Youth learn ways of neutralizing Youth learn ways of neutralizing moral restraints and periodically moral restraints and periodically drift in and out of criminal drift in and out of criminal behavior. behavior. MAJOR PREMISE
QUESTION If criminal behavior is learned, how do learning theorists account for the origin of criminal definitions? How do learning theorists explain spontaneous and wanton acts of violence and damage?
SOCIAL CONTROL THEORY Control theories maintain that all people have potential to become criminals but that bonds to conventional society prevent them from violating the law.
Social Control Theories Reckless’ containment theory – a strong self- image insulates a youth from crimogenic influences. Hirshi’s social bond theory – onset of criminality is linked to the weakening of social ties or bonds.
Social Control Theories: Containment Theory PREMISE Society produces pushes and pulls toward crime. In some people, they are counteracted by internal and external containments, such as a good self-concept and group cohesiveness. cohesiveness.
Elements of the Social Bond Commitment Belief AttachmentInvolvement CriminalBehavior
Hirschi’s Control Theory MAJOR PREMISE A person’s bond to society prevents him or her from violating social rules. If the bond weakens, the person is free to commit crime. MAJOR PREMISE A person’s bond to society prevents him or her from violating social rules. If the bond weakens, the person is free to commit crime. STRENGTHS Explains the onset of crime; can apply to both middle- and lower-class crime. Explains its theoretical constructs adequately so they can be measured. Has been empirically tested.STRENGTHS Explains the onset of crime; can apply to both middle- and lower-class crime. Explains its theoretical constructs adequately so they can be measured. Has been empirically tested.
Testing Social Control Theory Hirischi’s research among 4,000 junior and senior high school students showed that: Students who had strong attachment to parents were less likely to commit criminal acts. Commitment to conventional values was indicative of conventional behavior. Youths involved in conventional activities were less likely to engage in criminal behavior. Youths involved in unconventional activities were more delinquent prone. Youths with weak and distant relationships with others tended toward delinquent behavior. Those who shunned unconventional acts were attached to their peers. Delinquents and nondelinquents shared similar beliefs about society.
Opposing Views of Social Control Theory Some contend delinquents may be influenced by close relationships with deviant peers and family members. Not all elements of the bond are equal. Many believe that social control theory cannot explain all modes of criminality. Bonds change over time and this is not accounted for. Some contend that delinquency weakens bonds, not that weakened bonds lead to delinquency.
SOCIAL REACTION THEORY or LABELING THEORY This theory holds that criminality is promoted by becoming negatively labeled by significant others.
Labeling Theory: The Basis for Self-Concept Initial Criminal Act Detection by the Justice System Decision to Label Creation of a New Identity Acceptance of Labels DevianceAmplification
QUESTION According to the previous diagram, is labeling a “cause” of crime or, the result of crime?
Labeling Theory: Social Reaction Theory MAJOR PREMISE People enter into law-violating careers when they are labeled for their acts and organize their personalities around the labels.
Social Reaction Theory: Differential Enforcement This theory holds that the law is differentially applied – it favors those in power in a particular society.
Labeling Theory: Differential Social Control MAJOR PREMISE Social rejection leads to self-fulfilling prophecy. Weak social controls encourage deviance. MAJOR PREMISE Social rejection leads to self-fulfilling prophecy. Weak social controls encourage deviance. STRENGTHS Considers the role of social control in the label making process. STRENGTHS Considers the role of social control in the label making process.
Is Labeling Theory Valid? Contributions of Labeling Theory: It identifies the role played by social control agents in crime causation. It recognizes that criminality is not a disease of pathological behavior. It distinguishes between criminal acts and criminal careers. Criticisms: It is unable to specify the conditions that must exist before an act or individual is labeled deviant. It fails to explain differences in crime rates. It ignores the onset of deviant behavior.
Social Process Theory and Social Policy Learning theories influence development of facilities to “unlearn” criminality. Control theories influence programs to increase bonds to established values, like the Head Start program. Labeling theories influence diversion and restitution programs.