differential association theory

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  • Psychological Explanations: Differential Association Theory
    • Sutherland aimed to develop a set of scientific principles to explain offending
      • There should be clear cause and effect links between background of criminals and those who don't want to become criminals
        • Social experiences should clearly predict criminal behaviour
        • Ignore race, class and ethnicity
    • Crime is learned through interaction with others
      • Family and peer group
      • Two factors
        • Learned attitudes towards crime
        • Learned of criminal acts
    • Crime results if exposure to pro-crime values outweighs anti-crime values
    • It should be possible to predict the likelihood that someone will commit a crime using maths
      • Must have knowledge of frequency, intensity and duration of exposure to deviant and non-deviant norms and values
    • We also learn criminal techniques as well as attitudes
      • Include how to break into someone's house through locked windows or steal car radios
    • Reoffending may be due to socialisation in prison
      • Inmates are constantly around pro-crime attitudes and may also learn criminal techniques
        • Put this into practice when released


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