Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory vs. Differential Association Research Paper

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Criminological Theory

Self-Control Theory vs. Differential Association Theory

The term 'deviance' is a difficult one to assess objectively. Its implications are of an act, pattern of behavior or psychology which reflects a clear and significant divergence from sociological norms. However, this is a definition that is inherently riddled with philosophical problems. Particularly, it is unclear exactly how these divergences are defined and who is entitled to define them. Yet, it is also typically clear that in cases where criminal behavior, violence or depravity of an extreme nature have occurred, some degree of deviance may be easily identified. This denotes that while there is a cause to define deviance as a way of understanding those divergences which reflect a direct danger to society or civil order, it has often been done at the expense of those whose personal lifestyle decisions may harmlessly diverge from societal norms or at the expense of those who exist in subcultures where allegedly deviant behaviors have become the norm. In a sense, both of these dimensions would apply to my discussions with three subjects who described pertinent 'misadventures of their youth' to the benefit of my research process. In the discussions that would ensure, the three respondents would induce consideration of the way that both Developmental and Social Learning models may apply to the deviant behaviors sometimes inherent to youth.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Paper on Criminological Theory Self-Control Theory vs. Differential Association Assignment

Before proceeding into an assessment of their various misadventures, it is appropriate to select the theoretical constructs which may best help to evaluate the claims of our respondents. Therefore, Gottfreddson & Hirschi's theory of self-control is invoked to demonstrate the Developmental Approach and Sutherland's Differential Association Theory is invoked to demonstrated the Social Learning Approach. Sutherland's differential association theory argues that "criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of communication." (Mork, 1) Such is to say that in a broader system where corruption or otherwise deviant behavior is epidemic, those involved in criminal or deviant activities have been bred into such roles by their access to others of a similar orientation. This suggests both that criminal behavior is learned rather than inborn and that those engaged in this may view such behavior as ultimately yielding desirable results. This theory descends from the premise that for most criminals, there is a process of decision-making which concerns either favorable or unfavorable interpretation of the law. Where one is particularly enveloped in a culture where this interpretation is predominantly negative, one will be inclined to diverge from legal parameters.

By contrast, our consideration of the low self-control theory, a strand of the General Theory of Crime will instead relate such criminal behavior to the definitive nature of crime and the individual deviance of criminals. Thus, according to Gottfredson & Hirschi (1990), the General Theory of Crime "grants the basic thrust of the classical and of the positivist traditions, where the former focuses on the criminal act, or crime, and the latter on the properties of the act, or criminal." (p. 3) This integration of characteristics produces the view that expressive impulses concerning individual traits of criminality are primary in the consent to criminal behavior. The text by Wright (2008) relates this particularly to the condition of self-control as this develops during an individuals youth. According to Wright, "Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) low self-control theory. . . holds that children develop levels of self-control by about ages seven or eight, and these levels remain relatively stable the rest of their lives. Children with low levels of self-control end up being more prone to crime, and their criminal propensity continues into later life." (p. 1) As this contrast's Sutherland's model, there may be a total absence of rationality in the outcomes of this approach to one's action choices affairs. This points to a sweeping argument by Gottfredson and Hirschi as to the heavy tipping of the balance toward irrationality in our understanding of 'crime,' 'criminals,' and deviant behavior.

This brings us to consideration of the three respondents addressed during my research process. Each of these was asked to describe a behavior in which he or she participating as a youth which might have been viewed as deviant or divergent from social norms. I found that two of these behaviors were easily explicable within the context of one of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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