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Social Process Theories: Socialized to Crime

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1 Social Process Theories: Socialized to Crime
Chapter Seven: Social Process Theories: Socialized to Crime

2 Social Process Theory The view that criminality is a function of people’s interactions with various organizations, institutions, and processes in society All people, regardless of their race, class, or gender, have the potential to become delinquents or criminals

3 Critical Elements of Socialization
Family relations Peer group School Church


5 3 Major Types of Social Process Theories
Social learning theory Social control theory Social reaction (labeling) theory

6 Social Learning Theories
The view that people learn to be aggressive by observing others acting aggressively to achieve some goal or being rewarded for violent acts Types of social learning theories: differential association theory neutralization theory

7 Principles of Differential Association
Criminal behavior is learned Learning occurs within intimate personal groups Learning involves assimilating the techniques of committing crime The specific direction of motives is learned from perceptions of various aspects of the legal code as favorable or unfavorable

8 Principles of Differential Association Continued
A person becomes a criminal when s/he perceives more favorable than unfavorable consequences to violating the law Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity The process of learning criminal behavior involves all of the mechanisms involved in any learning process

9 Criticisms of Differential Association Theory
Fails to account for the origin of criminal definitions Assumes criminal and delinquent acts are rational and systematic Tautological (circular in reasoning)

10 Neutralization Theory
The view that law violators learn to neutralize conventional values and attitudes, enabling them to drift back and forth between criminal and conventional behavior The neutralization has to occur BEFORE the act.

11 5 Techniques of Neutralization
Denial of responsibility Denial of injury Denial of the victim Condemnation of the condemners Appeal to higher loyalties


13 Social Control Theory The view that people commit crime when the forces binding them to society are weakened or broken Explains the onset of crime Has been empirically tested

14 Contemporary Social Control Theory
Links the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties that bind people to society Hirschi’s four main elements: attachment commitment involvement belief


16 Social Reaction (Labeling) Theory
The view that people become criminals when labeled as such and when they accept the label as a personal identity Explains society’s role in creating deviance

17 Primary vs. Secondary Deviance
Primary deviance is a norm violation or crime with little or no long-term influence on the violator Secondary deviance is a norm violation or crime that comes to the attention of significant others or social control agents, who apply a negative label with long-term consequences for the violator’s self-identity and social interactions

18 Social Process Theories and Public Policy
Promote conventional lines of behavior Focus on the family and schools to strengthen bonds Reconfigure an offender’s self-image Diversion and restitution programs

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