Criminological Theories of Deviance

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Criminological Theories of Deviance Kristie Barela American Intercontinental University Criminological Theories of Deviance What are criminological theories? It is understood that criminology is the study of crime, but criminological theories provide us with an explanation of criminal behavior. These theories help one to understand why people commit crime. Social control theory, strain theory, differential association theory, and neutralization theory are just a few examples of sociological theories of crime that will be examined within this paper. Along with a brief description of the criminological theories, an attempt to show how they differ from one another and discussion of one strength and one weakness unique to each theory will be made. Finally, I will provide my opinion as to which of the two philosophies (classical or positivist) explains criminal behavior in a much more complete manner and why. The first of the criminological theories is called Social Control Theory. What makes a person not a criminal? This is the main question asked in control theories. “Rather than asking the typical criminological question, “What makes people criminal?” these theorists share a conviction that deviant behavior is to be expected. What must be explained, they say, is “why people obey rules” (Williams & McShane, 2010, p. ). What I’ve understood from all of this is that society has placed certain constraints and rules upon each citizen and we are to live our lives according to said rules. When we break or deviate from any rule, no matter how minor it is, then we are committing acts of criminal behavior. The premise behind these social control theories is to explain what keeps a person from committing criminal or delinquent behavior (Williams & McShane, 2010). This theory finds strength in the idea that family structure has the most influence in predicting
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