Edwin Sutherland's Differential Association Theory

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Edwin H. Sutherland’s differential association theory was developed in 1939. This theory is known to be a “completely sociological theory of crime” (Walsh and Hemmens 187). It drives criminologists away from the belief that criminal behavior is only biological and psychological. Sutherland’s ambition was to compose a theory that could draw out both aggregate crime rates and individual criminality by recognizing provisions that must be available for criminal intent to occur and unavailable when crime does not occur. This social process theory starts with an individual’s differences from society to the group a person associates with. When an individual engages in what they are predetermined to engage in, it demonstrates “birds of a feather flock …show more content…
The social learning theory is quite like differential association due to the fact both deal with social experiences. Differential association is more about the different groups we associate ourselves with versus an individual we learn our social skills from. This is where the social learning theory comes into play because it primarily focuses on behavior with one-on-one social interactions throughout everyday life. For example, some individual associates himself daily with gang members who also have the same social experiences as himself, such as rejection from society, suffrage of poverty, and not being well educated. These risk factors bring them together as an association and lead them to act upon criminal behavior. This is an example of the differential association theory. An example of the social learning theory would be an individual in a low-class society learning criminal behaviors from the people around him growing up such as his caretakers, siblings, and even friends from school or …show more content…
For criminologist to identify criminal behavior, they must learn the social aspect of a situation. For this to happen, these theories are broken down to figure out what may have caused the crime. Maybe it was because of an individual’s criminal past or a sudden change in their life. The social learning theory is a great example for this because it identifies what leads up to an individual committing a crime. An individual is more prone to commit a crime when they lack a social life or happened to be rejected from society. Specific factors play a role in a person’s life that leads them to act in a criminal

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