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Social Process Theories

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Presentation on theme: "Social Process Theories"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Process Theories
Chapter Seven: Social Process Theories

2 Based on the process of socialization
Social Process Theory Based on the process of socialization The interactions people have with various organizations, institutions, and processes of society Criminality is a function of the above All people, regardless of their race, class, or gender, have the potential to become delinquents or criminals

3 Critical Elements of Socialization
Family relations Divorce Family Deviance Parental efficacy Child Abuse and Crime Educational Experience Peer Relations Institutional Involvement and Belief Religion

4 Effects of Socialization on Crime
A positive self image, learning moral values, support of parents, peers, teachers, and neighbors can help to combat inducements to crime Living in deteriorated areas The more social problems encountered during the socialization process, the greater the likelihood that youths will encounter difficulties as they mature

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

6 Social Learning Theories
Belief that crime is a product of learning the norms, values, and behaviors associated with criminal activity Can involve learning the techniques of crime Prominent social learning theories: Differential association theory Differential reinforcement theory Neutralization theory

7 Differential Association Theory
Criminal behavior is learned Learning is a by-product of interaction Learning occurs within intimate groups Criminal techniques are learned Perceptions of legal code influence motives and drives Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity The process of learning criminal behavior by association with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms involved in any other learning process Criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values but it is not excused by those general needs and values because noncriminal behavior is also an expression of those same needs and values

8 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)

9 Differential Reinforcement Theory
The same process is involved in learning both deviant and conventional behavior A number of learning processes shape behavior Direct conditioning (differential reinforcement) Negative reinforcement People begin to evaluate their own behavior through their interactions with significant others and groups in their lives Once people are accustomed to crime, their behavior can be reinforced by being exposed to deviant behavior models

10 Neutralization Theory
The process of becoming a criminal is a learning experience in which potential delinquents and criminals master techniques that enable them to neutralize conventional values and drift Explains why many delinquents do not become adult criminals Explains why youthful law violators can participate in conventional behavior

11 Basics of Neutralization Theory
Criminals sometimes voice guilt over their illegal acts Offenders frequently respect and admire honest, law-abiding people Criminals draw a line between those whom they can victimize and those whom they cannot Criminals are not immune to the demands of conformity

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

13 Are Learning Theories Valid?
They make a significant contribution to our understanding of the onset of criminal behavior But still they are subject to criticism Fails to account for the origin of criminal definitions Fail to explain random acts of violence There is little evidence that exists to substantiate that people learn techniques that enable them to become criminals before the actually commit crimes

14 All people have the potential to violate the law
Social Control Theory All people have the potential to violate the law Society presents many opportunities for illegal activity Truly is looking at why people obey the rules and do not commit crime Positives Explains the onset of crime Can apply to both the middle and lower classes Has been empirically tested

15 Why Do Some People Obey the Rules?
Self-control A strong moral sense that renders someone incapable of hurting others and violating social norms Commitment to conformity Develops with a strong commitment to conventional institutions, individuals, and processes

16 Self Concept and Crime A strong self-image insulates a youth from the pressures and pulls of criminogenic influences in the environment Maladaptive social relations produce weak self-concept and poor self-esteem These individuals are more at risk to crime

17 Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory
Links the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties that bind people to society Assumes that everyone is potentially a law violator They are kept under control because they fear illegal behavior will damage their relationships Without social bonds people are more likely to commit crime The social bond has four main elements: Attachment Commitment Involvement Belief

18 Social Reaction (Labeling) Theory
Explains how criminal careers form based on destructive social interactions and encounters Interaction and interpretation are key Behaviors that are considered criminal are highly subjective Crime is defined by those in power Not only are acts labeled, so too are people Both positive and negative labels involve subjective interpretation of behavior Explains society’s role in creating deviance Explains why some juvenile offenders do not become adult criminals

19 The Labeling Process Initial Criminal Act Detection by the Criminal Justice System Decision to Label Creation of a New Identity Acceptance of Labels Deviance Amplification

20 Consequences of Labeling
Labels produce a stigma Labeled individuals may join deviant cliques After someone is labeled, people begin to reconstruct the culprit’s identity so the act and the label become understandable Dramatization of evil

21 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

22 Contributions of Social Reaction (Labeling) Theory
Identifies the role played by social control agents in crime causation Recognizes that criminality is not a disease or pathological behavior Distinguishes between criminal acts (primary deviance) and criminal careers (secondary deviance) Contributes to understanding crime because of its focus on interaction as well as the situation surrounding the crime

23 Social Process Theories and Public Policy
Have had a major influence on policy-making since the 1950s 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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