Differential association


Differential association
Scale of justice 2.svg
Criminology and penology
Theories
Causes and correlates of crime
Anomie
Differential association theory
Deviance
Labeling theory
Psychopathy
Rational choice theory (criminology)
Social control theory
Social disorganization theory
Social learning theory
Strain theory
Subcultural theory
Symbolic interactionism · Victimology
Types of crimes
Blue-collar crime · Corporate crime
Juvenile crime
Organized crime
Political crime · Public order crime
State crime · State-corporate crime
White-collar crime · Victimless crime
Penology
Deterrence · Prison
Prison reform · Prisoner abuse
Prisoners' rights · Rehabilitation
Recidivism · Retribution
Utilitarianism
Criminal justice portal
See also: Wikibooks:Social Deviance
This box: view · talk · edit

In criminology, Differential Association is a theory developed by Edwin Sutherland proposing that through interaction with others, individuals learn the values, attitudes, techniques, and motives for criminal behavior.

The Differential Association Theory is the most talked about of the Interactionist theory of deviance. This theory focuses on how individuals learn how to become criminals, but does not concern itself with why they become criminals. They learn how to commit criminal acts; they learn motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes. It grows socially easier for the individuals to commit a crime. Their inspiration is the processes of cultural transmission and construction. Sutherland had developed the idea of the "self" as a social construct, as when a person's self-image is continuously being reconstructed especially when interacting with other people.

Phenomenology and ethnomethodology also encouraged people to debate the certainty of knowledge and to make sense of their everyday experiences using indexicality methods. People define their lives by reference to their experiences, and then generalise those definitions to provide a framework of reference for deciding on future action. From a researcher's perspective, a subject will view the world very differently if employed as opposed to unemployed, if in a supportive family or abused by parents or those close to the individual. However, individuals might respond differently to the same situation depending on how their experience predisposes them to define their current surroundings.

Differential association predicts that an individual will choose the criminal path when the balance of definitions for law-breaking exceeds those for law-abiding. This tendency will be reinforced if social association provides active people in the persons life. Earlier in life the individual comes under the influence of those of high status within that group, the more likely the individual to follow in their footsteps. This does not deny that there may be practical motives for crime. If a person is hungry but has no money, there is a temptations to steal. But, the use of "needs" and "values" is equivocal. To a greater or lesser extent, both non-criminal and criminal individuals are motivated by the need for money and social gain.

Therefore, the principles of Sutherland's Theory of Differential Association can be summarized into nine key points:

1. Criminal behavior is learned.

2. Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication.

3. The principal part of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups.

4. When criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes techniques of committing the crime, which are sometimes very complicated, sometimes simple and the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes.

5. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal codes as favorable or unfavorable.

6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of the law.

7. Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity.

8. 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.

9. While criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those needs and values, since non-criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values.

Furthermore, some new and additional theoretical specifications about the social influence of others on the individual, all in accordance with the original ideas of Sutherland, are proposed and empirically tested. The differential association theory according to the version of K.-D. Opp is fairly well corroborated by the data. Only three of the postulated relationships are rejected. The theory explains 51% of the variance of criminal behavior, even considering that no criminal population is used for the test and only minor offenses are measured. The test also shows that the impact of the frequency of contacts with deviant behavior patterns on the development of positive definitions and on the frequency of communication about relevant techniques is substantial and cannot be ignored by criminologists. Furthermore, special analyses show that several propositions favor the theory. It is the deviancy of others that has the most substantial impact: the more youngsters have contact with their friends, the stronger the impact of the deviancy of their friends on the development of positive definitions or on the frequency of communication about techniques. The tests also show that the more youngsters identify themselves with others, the stronger will be the impact of the deviancy of the others on their norms. These results support the modification of the DA theory according to Opp and falsify some propositions of social control theory.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • differential association — A theory of crime and delinquency pioneered by Edwin Sutherland in the 1930s, as a response to the dominant multi factorial approaches to crime causation, associated particularly with the work of Eleanor (Glueck) and Sheldon Glueck. In contrast… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • differential association — a theory that criminal and deviant behavior is learned through close and frequent association with criminal or deviant behavior patterns, norms, and values. * * * …   Universalium

  • differential association — noun : abnormal distribution of personal associations; specifically : a theory in sociology: continuous contact with criminals is chiefly responsible for the development of criminal behavior in an individual * * * a theory that criminal and… …   Useful english dictionary

  • differential opportunity structure — A theory of delinquency developed by Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd B. Ohlin. In their book Delinquency and Opportunity(1960), they attempt to link the Mertonian theory of anomie to the Chicago School tradition of cultural transmission and… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Differential diagnosis — Intervention MeSH D003937 A differential diagnosis (sometimes abbreviated DDx, ddx, DD, D/Dx, or ΔΔ) is a systematic diagnostic method used to identify the presence of an entity where multiple alternatives are …   Wikipedia

  • Differential susceptibility hypothesis — According to the differential susceptibility hypothesis by Belsky[1] individuals vary in the degree they are affected by experiences or qualities of the environment they are exposed to. Some individuals are more susceptible to such influences… …   Wikipedia

  • Differential geometry of surfaces — Carl Friedrich Gauss in 1828 In mathematics, the differential geometry of surfaces deals with smooth surfaces with various additional structures, most often, a Riemannian metric. Surfaces have been extensively studied from various perspectives:… …   Wikipedia

  • Differential-GPS — DGPS Referenzantenne (Chokering Antenne) Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS, „Globales Positionssystem (mit) Differential(signal)“) ist eine Bezeichnung für Verfahren, die durch das Ausstrahlen von Korrekturdaten (Bahn und Zeitsystem)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Differential GPS — DGPS Referenzantenne (Chokering Antenne) Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS, „Globales Positionssystem (mit) Differential(signal)“) ist eine Bezeichnung für Verfahren, die durch das Ausstrahlen von Korrekturdaten (Bahn und Zeitsystem)… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities — The Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities [http://www.abrf.org (ABRF)] is dedicated to advancing core and research biotechnology laboratories through research, communication, and education. ABRF members include over 700 scientists… …   Wikipedia