Sutherland's Differential Association Theory
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What was Sutherland's basic assumption regarding crime?
- Learning criminal behaviour is no different than learning any different type of behaviour
- This learning includes criminal techniques, specific attitudes, drives and motivation towards crime
How did Sutherland claim criminal behaviour was learnt?
- Socialising with others in close personal groups
- The associations made are different and so too are the values meaning some may develop pro crime and anti authority attitudes
From which two factors did Sutherland claim criminality arose?
- Learned attitudes towards or against crime
- Imitation of specific acts
What was the aim of the 2006 Farrington study?
To carry out a longitudinal study on delinquent development
What methodology was employed during the 2006 Farrington study?
- 411 working class boys and their families from a deprived inner city area of South London were studied from the age of 9 in 1961 to the age of 50
- Family background, parenting styles, school behaviour and rate and type of convictions were all taken into account
What were the results of the 2006 Farrington study?
- 41% had criminal convictions between the ages of 10-50 years
- Key risk factors were identified as family criminality, poverty, poor parenting and low school achievement
What can be concluded from the 2006 Farrington study?
Criminality develops in a context of inappropriate role models and dysfunctional systems of reward and punishment
How can the DA theory be said to be generalisable?
Differential association theory can be applied to all aspects of criminal behaviour so is not limited to one type of crime
What did Matthews find in 1968?
Juvenile delinquents are more likely than non delinquents to report having friends who also engage in antisocial activities
What evidence can be used to support the DA theory of crime?
- Mednick et al found that people with criminal parents were more likely to become criminals themselves
- This might not be relevant evidence as the children in Mednick's study were adopted
What did Blackburn argue in 1993?
The DA theory applies mainly to petty crimes such as vandalism rather than more serious offences
What criticisms can be made against the evidence for DA theory?
- It is correlational and it is difficult to say what the direction of causality is.
- It is possible that, instead of becoming a delinquent through association with other delinquents, people with delinquent tendencies select delinquent friends
How can the DA theory be said to be unquantifiable?
- Some concepts within the theory are vaguely defined and difficult to scientifically test
- For instance, someone's level of pro criminal disposition cannot be measured or statistically tested for significance
How can the theory be said to be vague?
It is never stated in the theory how many pro criminal values must outnumber anti criminal ones in order for the individual to become a criminal
How can the DA theory be said to be deterministic?
It does not account for individual differences in criminality such as why some people exposed to 'criminogenic' influences turn to crime whereas others exposed to the same circumstances do not
How can the notion of pr/anti criminal ratios be criticised?
It fails to specify to what extent pro criminal values must outweigh anti criminal ones in order for an individual to become a criminal
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