Sutherland's Theory Of Differential Association

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Sutherland’s theory of Differential Association takes a macro level analysis as to why people commit crimes and brings it to a micro level analysis. He concludes that looking at a multiple factor approach did not explain why crimes are committed. Instead he asks the question what one singular factor touches on these multilevel factors. Sutherland looked for the universal explanation as to why crimes are committed rather than looking at individual reasons. His theory seeks what has always been present in crime and what has not or better yet what mechanism or experiences correlate to the crimes committed. Sutherland proceeded to look at a singular force that made people commit crimes. Whether it’s their group, society or history and how this…show more content…
Both Burgees and Akers used B.F. Skinners theory to create the classical and operant conditioning of discriminative stimuli. (Matsueda, Et. Al, 1988) They conclude that definitions of crime serve as discriminative stimuli. Under Sutherlands theory the individual must learn the skills to commit a discriminative crime. An example of this would be if a parent were racist then the child will more than likely grow up with a biased opinion of a certain group or culture. The second part of Sutherlands theory is learning a definition of crime. The child in this situation could argue it’s not discriminatory if it is deemed acceptable by everyone else. Lastly Sutherlands theory hits on objective opportunity. If a child sees a parent yell at someone because of their skin then the child in a social setting may find it ok and may proceed to treat an individual the same if like the parent, there were no repercussions. (Matsueda, Et. Al,…show more content…
In the article techniques of neutralization, Sutherland argues that delinquent behavior is a learned trait. These traits can be learned from school, home, friends, political affiliations, etc. It is through this idea that the term flexibility is brought up. This is an idea that instead of coming together as a society, these groups, individuals, etc. do not follow a body of rules. This as Sutherland points out can be seen more in criminal law with pleas, compulsion, self-defense, etc. Thus, the delinquent committing the act rationalizes that since there is no body of rules for either themselves or for their organizations then there is no criminal intent. They do not believe they have committed a delinquent act against the legal system even if they think what they did was wrong. The five techniques of neutralization therefore hit on the denial of responsibility, The denial of injury, the denial of the victim, the condemnation of the condemners and lastly the appeal to higher loyalties. (Sykes, et al,
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