Techniques Of Use Of Excuses By Thieves And Juvenile Delinquents

1695 Words May 27th, 2016 null Page
Techniques of Neutralisation: The use of Excuses by Thieves and Juvenile Delinquents
The definition of crime in any given society is governed by the prevailing values of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, and the legislations that act as formal sanctions to deter offences. Previous understandings of delinquent subcultures (see Cohen 1958) suggest that crime occurs when individuals develop moral codes that directly oppose the beliefs of dominant society. The works of Skyes and Matza (1957), and Cromwell and Thurman (2003) suggest an alternate explanation of deviancy, with specific reference to juveniles and retail theft, in explanations referred to as Techniques of Neutralisation. In accordance with this theory, individuals are able to ‘drift’ in and out of delinquent subcultures and behaviours (Matza 1964). Since their popularisation, neutralisation techniques have been used as tools of enquiry when researching the rational thoughts of offenders (see Taylor 2014; Taylor 2016; Cromwell & Thurman 2003; Harris & Daunt 2011; and Copes 2003). Despite the support and empirical evidences of these justifications, questions surrounding the validity and absolute truth of techniques used remain. Tangney, Stuewig and Hafaz (2011) suggest that the techniques of neutralisation allow offenders to hide, or amend their motives to escape the shame that others associate with transgression. Here it is hard to differentiate between valid justifications of crime, and excuses made after the fact to protect the…

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