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The Deferential Association Theory Of Crime

1746 words - 7 pages

According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) the deferential association theory was created by Edwin Sutherland beginning in 1939. Cullen and Agnew (2011) provided some historical perspectives into the history of the creation of the differential association theory of crime. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) Edwin Sutherland developed the basis of his differential association theory from the work of Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) Edwin Sutherland developed his theory based on Shaw and McKay’s argument that crime differences in neighborhoods or communities resulted from the exposure to and learning of criminal values, mainly by association with others in the same neighborhood. Sutherland capitalized on these ideas in his theory of differential association which according to Cullen and Agnew (2011) was the first attempt at explaining crime from an individual’s perspective to what societal factors cause this individual to commit crime.
In the beginning, according to Cullen and Agnew (2011) Sutherland’s central thesis to the differential association theory explains why any individual gravitates toward criminal behavior, and that criminal behavior is learned through interaction with other people. Furthermore, Cullen and Agnew (2011) stated that that a person becomes delinquent( criminal) because of an "excess" of “definitions” favorable to committing crimes over “definitions” unfavorable to committing crime. Feldmeyer (Lecture, 3/12/2014) stated that “definitions” can be describes as exposure to social message towards behavior that you pick up over time and shape your views on crime such as: motives, rationalizations, beliefs, attitudes, life experiences.
Furthermore, according to Feldmeyer (Lecture, 3/12/2014) Sutherlands differential association theory continued to develop with time leading to the nine propositions of the theory. According to Sutherland and Cressey ( 1960)the nine proposition are that criminal behavior is learned, criminal behavior is learned through interaction, behavior is learned from intimate contacts( friends, family, peers), learning of criminal behavior includes learning techniques/skills, and criminal mindset, crime must have definition, person has an excess of “ definitions” favorable to crime as opposed to “definitions” unfavorable to crime, associations vary in frequency, duration, and importance of the lawful behavior, learning crime is similar if not the same as learning anything else, and criminal and non criminal behaviors are based on the result of learned needs and learned values.
Sutherland's theory differs from the individuals impact( psychological, biological) perspective’s of the time period by attributing the cause of crime to the impact that society has in context of individuals propensity to commit crime. According to Cullen and Agnew (2011) Sutherland rejected biological pre-determinism as well as economic explanations of crime, which led him to the...

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