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Differential Association Essay

786 words - 4 pages

Differential Association
Differential association basically states that an individual becomes a criminal because of a genetic predisposition to crime. In other words he cannot help the fact that he is a criminal because it is in his genetic make-up. Because of this he is unable to change himself when he is presented with the various situations that happen to him as he grows into a life of crime.
According to Sutherland there are 9 ways that an individual "comes to engage in criminal behavior" (p. 56). These 9 ways are listed here:
1. The behavior is learned-- according to this statement an individual learns to do crime and if it is genetic he takes to it easily. According to ...view middle of the document...

Sutherland states that in America people get mixed messages and cultural conflicts happen because some believe it is okay to break laws while others do not.
6. A person becomes a criminal because they have more information about breaking the rules than not breaking them. This creates a "differential association". Basically the author says that differential association happens because the individual has more associations with criminal behavior than with non-criminals. He is isolated from anti-criminal patterns. If this pattern is neutral it doesn't have an effect on the criminal behavior. When an individual is leaning the basics of being human like learning to walk or toileting he will not be engaged in learning criminal behavior.
7. Differential association can vary in "frequency, duration, priority and intensity" (p. 57). Association with anti-criminal or criminal behavior will vary and will cause an individual become a criminal or not, depending on his genetic predisposition. He spells out these areas as follows:
a). frequency and duration -- Sutherland does not describe this because he says it is obvious. Perhaps it means that the more a person is in criminal behavior and the more frequently it happens, the more he will engage in it.
b). Priority -- he says it is...

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