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Chapter Seven:. Social Process Theories. 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

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Chapter seven

Chapter Seven:

Social Process Theories

Social process theory
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

Critical elements of socialization
Critical Elements of Socialization

  • Family relations

    • Divorce

  • Family Deviance

    • Parental efficacy

    • Child Abuse and Crime

  • Educational Experience

  • Peer Relations

  • Institutional Involvement and Belief

    • Religion

Effects of socialization on crime
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

Types of social process theories
Types of Social Process Theories

  • Social learning theory

  • Social control theory

  • Social reaction (labeling) theory

Social learning theories
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

Differential association theory
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

Criticisms of differential association theory
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)

Differential reinforcement theory
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

Neutralization theory
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

Basics of neutralization theory
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

Techniques of neutralization
Techniques of Neutralization

  • Denial of responsibility

  • Denial of injury

  • Denial of the victim

  • Condemnation of the condemners

  • Appeal to higher loyalties

Are learning theories valid
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

Social control theory
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

Why do some people obey the rules
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

Self concept and crime
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

Hirschi s social bond theory
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

Social reaction labeling theory
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

The labeling process
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

Consequences of labeling
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

Primary vs secondary deviance
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

Contributions of social reaction labeling theory
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

Social process theories and public policy
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