Sutherland's theory of differential association

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  • Created by: Steff06
  • Created on: 14-04-16 13:55
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  • Sutherland
    • 1. Criminal behaviour is LEARNT
      • Criminal behaviour not inherited or as a result of biology.
    • 2. Criminal behaviour is learnt in INTERACTING and COMMUNICATING with others.
      • Involved VERBAL interaction and use of GESTURES without words.
    • 3. Principle part of learning of criminal behaviour occurs within intimate personal groups.
      • Were the largest influence on learning criminal behaviour. Felt media played unimportant role in 'birth' of criminal behaviour.
    • 4. When criminal behaviour is learned, the learning includes the COMMITTING the crime, which can be very complicated, some simple and specific direction of MOTIVES, DRIVES, RATIONALISATIONS and ATTITUDES.
      • Criminal has to learn the techniques of the trade from someone, learns ATTIUDES taken and EXCUSES made for behaving in criminal way.
    • 5. Specific direction of MOTIVES and DRIVES is learned from definitions of LEGAL CODES as FAVOURABLE or UNFAVOURABLE.
      • Groups of people may see some laws as POINTLESS or DISCRIMINATORY and feel it is right to break them e.g. underage drinking laws.
    • 6. A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions FAVOURABLE to VIOLATION of law over definitions unfavourable to violation of law.
      • Principle of DIFFERENTIAL ASSOCIATION. Individuals become criminals due to repeated contacts with criminal activity and lack of contact with non-criminal activity.
    • 7. Differential associations (no. of contacts with criminals over non-criminals) may VARY in FREQUENCY, DURATION, PRIORITY and INTENSITY.
      • Description of a person's criminal behaviour possible in QUANTITATIVE form by analysing no. of contacts with criminals, leading to mathematical ratio. This has not yet been developed.
    • 8. Process of learning criminal behaviour by ASSOCIATION with criminal and anti-criminal patterns involves all mechanisms that are involved in any other learning.
      • Criminal behaviour is learned just like every other behaviour. Believes there was nothing special or abnormal about it.
    • 9. Criminal behaviour is an expression of general needs and values, not explained by those general needs and values, since non-criminal behaviour is an expression of the same needs and values.
    • Theory is based on 2 core ASSUMPTIONS: 1. Deviance occurs when people define a certain human situation as an appropriate occasion for violating social norms or criminal laws.
      • 2. Definitions of the situation are acquired through an individual's history of past experience.


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