Sociological Explanations Of Crime And Deviance Essay

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In Sociological Explanations of Crime and Deviance, Barry Cartwright (2011) emphasized that the fundamental aspect of Edwin Sutherland’s theory of differential association is that criminal behaviour is learned (p. 156). Criminal behaviour is learned through interaction and communication, but an essential part of the learning is that it occurs in groups (Sutherland & Cressey, 1985, p. 165-166). When learning about crime delinquent individuals adapt to several properties of crime in which the individual has their own interpretation. These properties of crime include the motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes. With these new learned ideas, individuals can deduce their own reason as to why they are committing the crime, by seeing the …show more content…
In Sociological Explanations of Crime and Deviance, Cartwright (2011) states that Sykes and Matza’s Techniques of Neutralization is an elaboration on Sutherland’s proposition that delinquents learn to rationalize their behaviour (as cited in Lilly, Cullen, & Ball, 2011, p. 103). Sykes and Matza established five different techniques of neutralization. The first being the denial of responsibility, which is when individuals denies taking responsibility of their deviant actions; the second being the denial of injury, where individuals think of their actions as being un-harmful even though what they did was unlawful; the third technique of neutralization is the denial of the victim, and in this technique the individual tries to shift the blame to the accuser, and tries to make them out to be the transgressor; the fourth technique is condemnation of the condemners, and here the delinquent individual tries to change the dialogue, and calls the complainants hypocrites; and lastly the final technique is the appeal to higher loyalties, where deviant persons try to justify their actions by saying they were defending their family or friends (Sykes & Matza, 1957, p. 176-178). These techniques of neutralization illustrate how the concept of differential association, allows a wide array of behaviours to be learned. The neutralizations discussed are the justifications that …show more content…
1). Sutherland (1940) applies multiple facets of his differential association theory to white collar criminality, as he notes that just like any other type of crime, “white-collar criminality is learned through indirect or direct association with those who already practice the behaviour (p. 10). This demonstrates Sutherland’s development of thinking from focusing on crime in general, to how it can be applied to white-collar criminality. Michael Benson’s (1985) article on Denying the Guilty Mind: Accounting for Involvement in a White-Collar Crime, draws strong connections between his article and Sykes and Matza’s Techniques of Neutralization. Benson (1985) states that criminals who have been convicted of their crime, begin to rationalize their conduct to themselves before participating in crime (p. 588). Benson’s article shows the growth in between the differential association theory and the techniques of neutralization, since he combines the concept of criminal behaviour being learned, and that criminals form rationalizes of their actions. Throughout Benson’s study it is noted that the criminals that participated in fraud, often try to shift blame, which corresponds directly to the denial of responsibility in

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