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Chapter 7 Social Process Theories.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 7 Social Process Theories."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 7 Social Process Theories

2 Socialization and Crime
Social process theories suggest criminality is a function of socialization Any person regardless of race, class or gender can become criminal Elements of family, peer group, school, and church contribute to socialization processes

3 Socialization and Crime
Family Relations Family plays a critical role in the determinant of behavior Parental efficacy refers to supportive parents who effectively control their children Links between inconsistent discipline and delinquency

4 Socialization and Crime

5 Socialization and Crime
Child Abuse and Crime Linkage between child abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, and crime Children subjected to abuse are more likely to use violence in personal interactions In nonviolent societies, parents rarely punish children physically

6 Socialization and Crime
Educational Experience Children who fail in school offend more frequently than those who succeed Schools contribute to delinquency by labeling students School dropouts have a significant chance of entering a criminal career 2003 national survey estimates about 1.5 million violent incidents occur in public schools each year

7 Socialization and Crime
Peer Relations Children seek out peer groups between the ages of 8 and 14 Peer Rejection: Children rejected by peers are more likely to display aggressive behavior Pro-social friends may inhibit criminality Peers and Criminality: Antisocial peer groups increase the likelihood of delinquency Mark Warr suggests delinquent friends tend to be “sticky” meaning they are not easily lost once they are acquired

8 Socialization and Crime
Institutional Involvement and Belief Religion binds people together Travis Hirschi and Rodney Stark found the association between religion attendance, belief, and delinquency is insignificant Recent research contends that attending religious services is a significant inhibitor of crime

9 Socialization and Crime
The Effects of Socialization on Crime Social learning theory suggests people learn techniques of crimes from criminal peers Social control theory contends people are controlled by their bonds to society Social reaction theory argues that society contributes to criminality through the use of labels

10 Social Learning Theory
Crime is a product of learning norms, values, and behaviors associated with criminal activity Differential Association: Edwin H. Sutherland’s view that criminality is a function of the socialization process

11 Social Learning Theory
Differential Association Theory Differential Association: Edwin H. Sutherland’s view that criminality is a function of the socialization process Criminal behavior is learned Learning is a by-product of interacting with others Learning criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups Learning criminal behavior involves assimilating the techniques of committing crime, including motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes The specific direction is learned from perceptions of various aspects of the legal code as favorable or unfavorable

12 Social Learning Theory
A person becomes criminal when perceiving the consequences of violating the law as favorable Differential associations vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity The process of learning criminal behavior involves the same mechanisms as any other learning process Criminal behavior and noncriminal behavior express the same needs and values

13 Social Learning Theory
Testing Differential Association Theory Difficult to conceptualize and test empirically Research does support the core principles such as links to family, and peers with criminality

14 Social Learning Theory
Analysis of Differential Association Theory Fails to account for the origin of criminal definitions Assumes criminal and delinquent acts to be rational and systematic Some suggest the theory is tautological

15 Social Learning Theory
Differential Reinforcement Theory Ronald Akers suggests “direct conditioning” occurs when behavior is reinforced by rewards or punishment People evaluate their own behavior through their interactions with significant others and groups in their lives Once people are indoctrinated into crime, their behavior can be reinforced through peers and the lack of negative sanctions

16 Social Learning Theory
Testing Differential Reinforcement Studies have suggested a strong association between drug and alcohol abuse and social learning variables Deviant behavior is reinforced over time (I.E. smoking) Parents may supply negative reinforcements to children’s deviant behavior

17 Social Learning Theory
Neutralization Theory David Matza and Gresham Sykes view criminality as a process learning neutralizing techniques Subterranean values are morally tinged influences Drift occurs from conventional behavior to criminal behavior if one can neutralize their sense of responsibility for antisocial behavior

18 Social Learning Theory
Techniques of Neutralization Denial of responsibility: unlawful acts are beyond an offenders control Denial of injury: offender’s perception is changed (i.e. stealing is borrowing) Denial of the victim: the victim had it coming (i.e. vandalism) Condemnation of the condemners: shifting the blame to others (i.e. society) Appeal to higher loyalties: loyalty to a higher cause (i.e. Oliver North and Iran Contra)

19 Social Learning Theory
Testing Neutralization Theory Empirical test results are inconclusive Not all criminal offenders approve of social values such as honesty and fairness As Matza predicted, people do seem to drift in and out of antisocial behavior

20 Social Learning Theory
Are Learning Theories Valid? Learning theories fail to explain how the first criminal learned the necessary techniques and definitions of crime Fails to account for spontaneous crime or expressive crimes Learning of some criminality frequently occurs after one has committed the first criminal act

21 Social Control Theory All people have potential to violate the law Self-control refers to a strong moral sense that renders a person incapable of hurting others or violating social norms Walter Reckless argued a strong self-image insulates a person from the criminogenic influences of the environment Howard Kaplan suggests youths with poor self-concepts are more likely to engage in delinquent behavior (normative groups)

22 Social Control Theory Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory (social control theory) Travis Hirschi links the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties than bind people to society ( social bonds) Attachment (sensitivity to and interest in others) Commitment (time, energy, and effort into conventional activities) Involvement (insulates people from the lure of crime) Belief (moral respect for law and social values)

23 Social Control Theory Testing Social Control Theory Empirical studies revealed a strong support for Hirschi’s control theory Youths strongly attached to parents were less likely to commit criminal acts Youths involved in conventional activities were less likely to engage in criminal behavior Youths involved in unconventional behaviors such as drinking and smoking were more prone to delinquency Youths who maintained weak relationships with others moved toward delinquency Those who shunned unconventional acts were attached to peers Delinquents and nondelinquents shar similar beliefs about society Recent research shows attachments to peers, school and family may be interrelated

24 Social Control Theory Opposing Views Friendship: A criticism of Hirschi’s theory is the notion that delinquents are detached loners Not all elements of the bond are equal: Some people are very involved and not attached Deviant peers and parents: Some people are very attached to deviant peers Restricted in scope: May not explain all modes of criminality Change bonds: Bonds seem to change over time Crime and social bonds: Direction of association might be miscalculated in the wrong direction

25 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Explains criminal careers in terms of destructive social interactions and stigma-producing encounters (symbolic interaction theory) People are given a variety of symbolic labels that define the whole person Negative labels stigmatize and reduce one’s self-image Social groups create definitions of positive and negative labels Labels may actually maintain and amplify criminal behavior

26 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Crime and Labeling Theory Crime and deviance are defined by the social audience Howard Becker described those making the rules as moral entrepreneurs Social groups create deviance by labeling particular people as “outsiders”

27 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Differential Enforcement Those with social power penalize the powerless Content of law reflects power relationships Street crimes punished more severely than white-collar crimes

28 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Consequences of Labeling Labels produce stigma Condemnation is carried out in “ceremonies” such as trials and media attention (degradation ceremonies) Differential social control: Self-labeling involves one taking on the attitudes and roles reflected in how a person views the way others see them Joining deviant cliques: Some labeled people may join cliques and other outcast peers Retrospective reading: refers to the reassessment of a person’s past to fit a current generalized label or status Dramatization of evil: Labels become a personal identity

29 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Primary and Secondary Deviance Edwin Lemert defined a norm violation with little or no long-term influence as primary deviance Secondary deviance refers to a norm violation that results in application of a negative label with long-term consequences The process whereby secondary deviance pushes offenders out of the mainstream of society is referred to as deviance amplification

30 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Research on Social Reaction Theory Evidence supports the targets of labeling (poor and powerless) are victimized by the law and justice system Contextual discrimination: refers to judges imposing harsher sentences on minorities Empirical evidence supports that negative labels influence self-image Cumulative disadvantage: Provokes repeat behaviors

31 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Is Labeling Theory Valid? Inability to specify the conditions the must exist before an act or individual is labeled Failure to explain differences in crime rates Ignores the onset of deviant behavior Charles Tittle suggests criminal careers occur without labeling

32 Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory)
Evaluating Social Process Theories The branches of social process theory-social learning-social control and social reaction are compatible Interactions of social institutions, family, schools, peers, and the justice system are important in creating and inhibiting criminal behavior Social process theories are not persuasive in explaining fluctuations in crime patterns

33 Public Policy Implications of Social Process Theory
Learning theories have greatly influenced the way criminal offenders are treated Residential treatment programs utilize group interaction to promote conventional behavior Head Start is a well-known program designed to help lower-class youths achieve proper socialization Diversion programs are concerned with avoiding the stigma of a criminal label Restitution programs permit an offender to repay the victim rather than face the stigma of a formal trial and court-ordered sentence

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