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Differential Association Theory Essay

1362 words - 5 pages

The Differential Association Theory, established by Edwin Sutherland in 1947, explicit the deviance of an individual's behavior and how it is learned through interaction with others or associations. There are several components that play a role in this theory that determines the main causes of delinquency. One of the components of this theory is, a person do not inherently become a criminal, it is a learned behavior. A person cannot decide one day he wants to commit a crime if he is not influence or challenge by others. When someone engages in criminal acts, they are most likely influence in some way that motivates them to commit the crime.
This relates to another important component and that is, when criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes “specific criminal techniques that are learned by acquiring the motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes that is associated with particular behaviors” (Sutherland 1947). To determine where these specific drives and motives that trigger a person to become delinquent and violate the law, you will have to understand the legal codes of what favorable or unfavorable definitions are. According to Dr. Ryan Meldrum, examples of favorable definitions are: “the ‘high’ associated with using marijuana or getting initiated into a gang for having completed a task.” An example of unfavorable definition is when a child is punished by the parents because they misbehaved in school.
Last but not least, another component discuss is that, people learn either criminal or noncriminal behavior through interaction with other people. Criminal behavior is learned just like every other behavior. It is observe and interpreted through a process of communication. The Jack Roller: A delinquent boy’s own story is the perfect book that relates to the differential association theory and argues the point that delinquency is learned by others which can influence a person to become delinquent.
Clifford Shaw is the author of, The Jack Roller: A delinquent boy’s own story. This is an amazing book that describes the life journey of a delinquent boy named Stanley, who encounters many obstacles and behavioral struggles in life during the time from his adolescence adulthood years. During his childhood years, where most of his delinquency began, he lived in the large Polish neighborhood which is known as the “Back of the Yards.” It was one the ugliest and poorest neighborhoods in the city. According to the author it is “surrounded by packing plants, stock yards, railroads, factories, and waste lands. The population is composed largely of families of unskilled laborers who depended on stock yards and local industries for employment” (Shaw 34). It was not a community of wealth. After Stanley’s mother died at the age of four, his life was not the same.
A year later, his father remarried a woman from “hell” and she was one of the reasons why Stanley became destructive. She was selfish and only cared for her and her seven...

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