John Gotti Received More Publicity Any Crime Figure, Discuss the Theories Developed by Merton and Sutherland and Compare and Contrast Regarding Which Would Describe Gottis Criminal Development

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Differential Association Theory Differential association theory was Sutherland 's major sociological contribution to criminology; similar in importance to strain theory and social control theory. These theories all explain deviance in terms of the individual 's social relationships. Sutherland 's theory departs from the pathological perspective and biological perspective by attributing the cause of crime to the social context of individuals. "He rejected biological determinism and the extreme individualism of psychiatry, as well as economic explanations of crime. His search for an alternative understanding of crime led to the development of differential association theory. In contrast to both classical and biological theories,…show more content…
Negatively, this means that the learning of criminal behavior is not restricted to the process of imitation. A person who is seduced, for instance, learns criminal behavior by association, but this would not be ordinarily described as imitation. 9. While criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those general needs and values since non-criminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values. Thieves generally steal in order to secure money, but likewise honest laborers work in order to money. The attempts to explain criminal behavior by general drives and values such as the money motive have been, and must completely to be, futile, since they explain lawful behavior as completely as they explain criminal behavior. They are similar to respiration, which is necessary for any behavior, but which does not differentiate criminal from noncriminal behavior. (Sutherland, 1974: 75-76) In summary, he believed that an individual’s associations are determined in a general context of social organization (for instance, family income as a factor of determining residence of family and in many cases, delinquency rate is largely related to the rental value of houses) and thus differential group organization as an explanation of various crime rates is consistent with the differential association theory. (Sutherland, 1974: 77) Much of Sutherland’s theory relied upon the work of Chicago school

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