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Criminology Chapter 7

by: Kathryn Hardison

Criminology Chapter 7 3600

Kathryn Hardison

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notes for chapter 7
Andrew Fisher
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kathryn Hardison on Thursday March 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 3600 at University of Missouri - Columbia taught by Andrew Fisher in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at University of Missouri - Columbia.


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Date Created: 03/03/16
Criminology Chapter 7: Social Process Theories  Social Process Theories o Definition  The view that criminality is a function of people’s interactions with  various organizations, institutions, and processes in society  It happens because of what happens in society  Theorists believe this is from politics, religion, economy, schools, etc.  All people have the potential to commit crime o Institutions of Socialization (the process of becoming a member of society)  Family relations  Major determinant of behavior. Criminologists find strong  relationships between supportive parents and non­criminals, but  kids with troubled homes are more anti­social. Teenagers with  fighting parents are more likely to be anti­social. Kids who don’t  receive affection are more likely to be aggressive and use drugs.  Abused children are more prone to crime, depression, suicide, etc.  Educational experiences  The type of classes and education you get depends on what school  you go to. Different schools have different kinds of kids. You may  not be as motivated at one school than another.  Vastly different experiences in life  Most likely to engage in criminal activity: less motivation in  school and feel like they don’t fit in  Peer relations  Kids who hang out with friends for long spans of unsupervised  time are more likely to commit crime  Kids who completely reject people and don’t spend time with  anyone are more likely to commit crime  Peer pressure  Pro­social friends may help shield you from criminality  Religions and beliefs  Belief systems bind people together  Religious service attendance = less criminality  You can’t be legal and illegal at the same time  Church = less drug use  Holding religious beliefs aren’t enough to combat criminality. You have to engage in the beliefs o Social Process Theories  Social learning theories  Criminal behavior is learned through social interaction with  criminal peers  Crime is like any other activity… you have to learn the techniques  Ex: How to hotwire a car, roll a joint  Becker, Howard, “Becoming a Marihuana User” o You can only use marihuana after you learn how to smoke  it right. Then you can enjoy it  Differential Association theory o Sutherland  Began with idea that crime has nothing to do with  your class, gender, etc. but can affect anyone  because it’s a learning process o 9 Points  Criminal behavior is learned  Just like writing, reading, driving, etc.  Criminal behavior is learned by interacting with  others  Learning criminal behavior occurs within intimate  personal groups  Learning criminal behavior involves assimilating  the techniques of committing crime  The direction of motives and drives is learned from  perceptions of various aspects of the legal code as  favorable or unfavorable  A person becomes a criminal when they perceive  more favorable than unfavorable consequences to  violating the law  Can be from peer pressure and then parent  restriction  Differential associations may vary in frequency,  duration, priority, and intensity  The process of learning criminal behavior by  association with criminal and anti­criminal patterns  involves all of the mechanisms that are involved in  any other learning process  Although criminal behavior expresses general needs and values, it is not excused by those general needs  and values, because noncriminal behavior expresses the same needs and values o Testing  Studies (observations)  Scales (numbers and rates) o Critique  It can’t account for the very first criminal. Someone had to start the criminal behavior for it to be passed  on  Assumes criminal acts are rational and ignores  irrational crime and random acts of violence  Serial killers learn on their own  Neutralization theory o The view that law violators learn to neutralize conventional values and attitudes, enabling them to drift back and forth  between criminal and conventional behavior o Enables people to commit crime and then return to a  conventional behavior o Criminals don’t commit crime 24/7  So there has to be some sort of process to prevent  that o When a person moves in and out of delinquency, that is  referred to as drift o Techniques  Denial of responsibility  They made me do it  Denial of injury  They have insurance and too much money  Denial of the victim  He had it coming  Condemnation of the condemners  Everyone steals  Appeal to higher loyalties  I have to protect my friends o Testing o Critique  Social control theory  The view that everyone has the potential to become a criminal, but  most people refrain due to their bonds with society  Theorists are interested in why people obey laws  Self­control or moral senses keep people from breaking laws o Ex: I think about the ducks and birds so I don’t litter  Socialized to conform to society’s rules o Ex: family is dependent on them or their job. Santa Claus is watching you!  Hirschi’s “Social Bonds” o Attachment  Weakening of ties that attach people to society  Family, friends, community o Commitment  Will their commitment to other people keep them  from behaving in such a way?  Future, career, goals, success o Involvement  You’re involved in school activities, organizations,  religious groups, sports teams, social clubs, etc.  Little time for involvement in illegal activities o Belief  Honesty, morality, fairness, patriotism,  responsibility, etc.  You have similar beliefs to people around you o Individuals are more likely to engage in illegal activities  without these bonds o Testing  Youths who are more attached to their parents are  less prone to crime  People who shun anti­social behaviors will be  closer to their peers and will commit less crime o Critique  Influence of friendship  Can be negative, rather than positive  Family connection is more positive  Group activities and peer pressure lead to  criminal activity  Failure to achieve  You can be committed to doing something  great, but if you fail, are you crime­prone?  Deviant involvement  Multiple romantic relationships = more  trouble  Deviant peers and parents  If you’re attached to deviant peers and  parents, then you’ll copy their acts  Mistaken causal order  Is it the bond that came first or the  criminality?  Kids with more problems are provided with  more support  Labeling Theory o Definition  The view that people become criminals when they are labeled as such and  the label is applied to their identity  It’s not until you’re labeled successfully that you’re labeled that way  There has to be an action (you’re caught)  Criminals emerge out of stigma­producing encounters  Labels are internalized and acted on as truth o Theory Assumptions  Behaviors that are considered criminal are highly subjective  Even the worst crimes in society are never crimes until we decide  that they are. It’s simply a matter of perspective  Crime is defined by those in power  Labels apply to people and acts  Positive and negative labels involve subjective interpretation of behavior o Consequence of Labeling Theory  Self­labeling  Joining deviant cliques  Retrospective reading o Primary Deviance  A violation with little or no long­term effects  Ex: DUI, noise complaint, etc. o Secondary Deviance  A violation that leads to the offender being successfully labeled deviant o Research on Social Reaction Theory  Targets of labeling  Minority group members, poor and powerless, etc.  Effects of labeling  Negative labels dramatically influence the self esteem of a person  Children negatively labeled by parents are anti­social and self  image  Helps sustain criminality over time o Validity  3 important contributions  Definition of law. This is criminal. This is a thing.  Crime isn’t a disease, they’re acts.  Different conceptual realities of criminals and these concepts have  to be treated differently. Labeling dictates actions of all parties.  Consequences of Social Process Theory o Social Process Theory and Public Policy  Re­learning  You have to relearn how to live a life without crime  Paying back in society  Rehabilitation  We don’t want to label and punish them… but drug offenders may  need to go to rehab


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