Learning & Control Theories Catriona Woolner

Aims of Lecture
Housekeeping Introduce Social Process Theory: Including: Learning, Culture Conflict and Social Control Outline underlying assumptions, principles and objectives Explore critiques Guest Speaker

Social Process Theories
Underlying Assumptions: Criminality is a function of individual socialisation Interaction of individuals with more immediate groups is key to explaining behaviour Focus on crime across all social classes Primarily Micro-level, but integrate Macro and psychological explanations Key Question: Are they Classicist or Positivist?


Social Learning Theories: Underlying Assumptions
Criminal behaviour is learned in a social context Crime is “normal” rather than “pathological” Crime is a product of learning the norms, values, and behaviours associated with criminal activity Key Objective:
To detail the processes through which criminal patterns are cultivated

Micro versus Macro
Micro level explanations: focus on the individual
Implications for policy? Examples?

Macro level explanations: focus on the wider social context in which crime occurs

Differential Association [Edwin H Sutherland]
Criminal behaviour is learned Learning is a by-product of interaction Learning occurs within intimate groups Criminal techniques are learned Perceptions of legal codes influence motives and drives A person becomes delinquent due to an excess of favourable definitions over unfavourable definitions


Differential Association

Variations in Differential Association
Frequency Duration Priority Intensity Further principle:
Learning criminal behaviour involves all of the mechanisms involved in any other learning

Criticisms of Differential Association
Testability/Measurement Does the internalisation of deviant attitudes precede or follow criminality? Revised theory [Akers and Burgess, 1966]
All criminal behaviour depends on a person’s experiences with rewards for...