The Differential Association Theory

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The differential association theory was developed by Edwin Sutherland in order to describe the social aspects of crime and how individuals learn criminal behavior by interaction with those who have criminal attitudes, values, techniques and motives. This social theory can be easily used when trying to describe the cliques and social aspects of high school. For each different social group there is a specific set of social tendencies and attitudes present, whether delinquent or not. Based on social acceptance the individuals involved make different choices or even different crimes based off of what group they are apart of. “The important point in the theory is that all criminal behavior is learned in a process of social interaction” (Cressey 2013), the three main groups that are most associated with differential association theory are the Goths, the Jocks and the Rich Kids/Populars. The Goths are one of the most common examples of social cliques. They are seen in movies, tv and books as being the main group of delinquents that commit crimes. From a theory aspect criminal behavior is learned and when talking about the Goths it is easy to see why. The Goth clique commits crimes such as vandalism, underage smoking, drug/alcohol use and even…show more content…
Differential association theory is a way of predicting crime and how it relates to society. Broken down criminals are not born criminals, they learn to be that way by whom they associate with, whom they interact with and whom they look up to. High school is a vital place for one to find themselves which makes it easy to fall into groups that don’t always make legal decisions in order to fit in anywhere. When faced with an opportunity to fit in, the theory states that one will learn to commit crimes in order to be able to associate with those around

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