Differential Association Theory Sutherland
Definition • According to Sutherland: Crime is a function of a learning process that could affect any individual in any culture.
Principals of Differential Association • Criminal Behavior is learned. -Sutherland says that delinquency/criminal behavior is learned in the same way that any other behavior is learned. • Criminal Behavior is learned as a by-product of interacting with others. -People don’t just start doing criminal acts, they learn how to do these acts from “teachers of crime.” Criminal Behavior can’t occur without the aid of others. • Learning criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups. -The interactions people have with their most intimate social companions, family, friends, peers, have the greatest influence on their deviant behavior and attitude development.
Principals of Differential Association • Learning criminal behavior involves assimilating the techniques of committing crime , including Motives, Drives, Rationalizations, and Attitudes. -Young delinquents or novice criminals learn the ways of crime from the people that they associate with. They also learn how to defend, rationalize, and show remorse for their criminal acts. • The specific direction of Motives and Drives is learned from perceptions of various aspects of the legal code as favorable or unfavorable. -This involves what Sutherland calls “culture conflict.” This is where the juvenile admires someone who holds a view about the law that is different than the one of society. In turn the juvenile will start to believe in or alter their perception of the views of the person they admire rather than those of normal of society.
Principals of Differential Association • A person becomes a criminal when he/she perceives more favorable than unfavorable consequences to violating the law. -According to Sutherland’s theory, individuals become law violators when they are in contact with persons, groups, or events that produce an excess of definitions favorable toward criminality and are isolated from counteracting forces. • Differential Associations may vary in Frequency, Duration, Priority, and Intensity. -Frequency – the more frequent the interactions the more likely to have more influence. -Duration – the longer the duration the greater influence the interaction will have. -Priority – means the age of the juvenile when they first encounter criminality. Interactions made early in life most likely have more influence. -Intensity – the importance or prestige attributed to the individual or groups for which they have interactions with.
Principals of Differential Association • The process of learning criminal behavior by association with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning process. -Learning criminal behavior patterns is just like learning any other behavior pattern, just because it is criminal it doesn’t mean that it is just imitated. • Although criminal behavior expresses general needs and values, it is not excused by those general needs and values because non-criminal behavior also expresses the same needs and values. -This states that the motives for criminal behavior can’t possibly be the same as those for normal behavior.
Questions? • Associate coming to college and college life with the Differential Association Theory. • Are there any other variables besides the ones listed in the article that you could link with the Differential Association Theory?