The Explanation of Crime

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THE EXPLANATION OF CRIME CMY301H - ASSIGNMENT 1 QUESTION 1 Akers is of the opinion that both law-abiding behaviour and criminal behaviour can be explained by means of his social learning theory (differential reinforcement) 1. Explain this statement - Address the four key elements of his theory Introduction Akers is of the opinion that both law-abiding behaviour and criminal behaviour can be explained by means of his social learning theory. What is meant by this is that there is more than one element as to why someone becomes a law abiding citizen, or a criminal and Akers focuses on four key elements; differential association, definitions, differential reinforcement and imitation. Exposure to these elements can determine whether an individual will become a law biding citizen or a criminal. Differential association “Sutherland introduced the concept of differential association, which he developed into a theory to explain the process by which an individual engages in criminal behaviour” (http://www.oup.com/ us/pdf/reid/Reid_ Chapter6.pdf) which is the first of Akers key elements is differential association. This refers to ones exposure to, and interactions with, others. The impact of this exposure may vary according to the rate of recurrence, how long the exposure and the intensity of this exposure, to others. Definitions The second of Akers key elements is definitions. This element refers to attitudes or level of approval individuals hold regarding morals and laws in general as well as specific deviant behaviours. In Akers’ model, deviant behaviour does not require positive acceptance of the behaviour; instead, morals or conventional values that are weakly held or temporarily neutralised may be sufficient to generate deviance. Clearly, such a proposition has important implications for the intimate violence: the less likely they are to resort
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