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Differential Association Theory- Cunningham

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Criminological Theory

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Differential Association Theory
Edwin H. Sutherland
Differential Association
In 1947 Edwin Sutherland proposed:
Crime is a learning process that could
affect any individual in any culture.
Differential Association Main
Principles
Criminal behavior is learned from intimate personal
groups.
The learning includes techniques for committing crimes,
motives, rationalizations and attitudes.
The specific direction of motives and drives is learned
from definitions of legal codes as favorable or
unfavorable.
A person becomes delinquent because of an access of
definitions favorable to breaking the law.
Principles
Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration,
priority and intensity.
The process of learning criminal behavior is the same as
in any other learning process.
Criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and
values, it is not explained by those needs and values
since noncriminal behavior is an expression of the same
needs and values.
Learned Behavior
good and bad
good and bad
Not Just Taught By Family

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Differential Association Theory- Cunningham

  • 2. Differential Association In 1947 Edwin Sutherland proposed: Crime is a learning process that could affect any individual in any culture.
  • 3. Differential Association Main Principles Criminal behavior is learned from intimate personal groups. The learning includes techniques for committing crimes, motives, rationalizations and attitudes. The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of legal codes as favorable or unfavorable. A person becomes delinquent because of an access of definitions favorable to breaking the law.
  • 4. Principles Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration, priority and intensity. The process of learning criminal behavior is the same as in any other learning process. Criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those needs and values since noncriminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values.
  • 5. Learned Behavior good and bad good and bad
  • 6. Not Just Taught By Family
  • 7. White Collar Crime is also learned behavior
  • 8. The ones who know teach
  • 9. Differential Association Critics It does not explain a law abiding family having a child who falls into a life of crime. The theory lacks the ability to explain acts of deviance that aren’t learned and/or are spontaneous. The influence of drugs on an individual’s psychological and physiological condition could contribute to an individual’s deviant behavior (Burgess & Akers, 1968) It ignores the role of personality or the role of biological and psychological factors in crime (Paul Tappan, 1947).
  • 10. Differential Association: The complete answer? Sutherland was one of the most astute critics of the Differential Association Theory. He conceded: Not everyone in contact with criminality becomes a criminal. He recognized his theory did not take into account various personality factors.
  • 11. Differential Association: A large piece of the criminal puzzle Differential Association is not the complete answer but it does bring attention to: The importance of social factors The similarity between the process of learning criminal behavior and that of learning lawful behavior The fact that criminality cannot be explained entirely in terms of personality maladjustments. The answer lies in the choice of the people we associate with and who we look up to as role models.
  • 12. References: Lilly, R., Cullen, T. & Ball, Richard. (2011) Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences, Sage Publications, Inc. Burgess, R. & Akers, R.(1966). A Differential Association- Reinforcement Theory of Criminal Behavior. Social Problems, 14: 363-383. Tappan, P., (1947). Short Notes on Differential Association Theory of Crime, retrieved on line from http://www.preservearticles.com/2012050131531/short-notes-on- differential-association-theory-of-crime.html