Neutralization Theory

1471 WordsDec 9, 20116 Pages
Neutralization Theory By Leidy Cardona 12/5/2011 Offenders learn “techniques” which permits them to neutralize such values and attitudes momentarily and therefore they drift back and forth among legitimate and illegitimate performances. Delinquents develop a special set of justification for their behavior when it violates social norms. Matza and Sykes developed five rationalizations and techniques of neutralization. 1. The denial of responsibility. 2. The denial of injury. 3. The denial of victim. 4. The condemnation of the condemners. 5. The appeal to higher loyalties. The neutralization theory holds that people learn the values, attitude and techniques to criminal behavior through hidden values. They also argue that most criminals…show more content…
They believe they are still conforming to society’s norms since no one is directly hurt, even though it is against the law. The denial of the victim “They deserved it; who cares about them”. “Even if the delinquent accepts the responsibility for his deviant actions and is willing to admit that his deviant actions involve an injury or hurt, the moral indignation of self and others may be neutralized by an insistence that the injury is not wrong in light of the circumstances” (Sykes & Matza, 1957, p.668). The delinquent views the act as not being wrong, that the victim deserves the injury, or that there is no real victim. ("They had it coming to them!"). They deny the action was wrong because the person or people deserved it. For example when a homosexual is attacked, the deviant is not wrong because the person claims is a form of right revenge or punishment. The condemnation of the condemners “Everybody does it; you have no right to judge me; they are just as bad”. The delinquent shifts the focus of attention from his own deviant acts to the motives and behaviors of those who disapprove of his violations (Sykes & Matza, 1957, p.668). Deviants say that other people have no right to judge. They will often accuse others by being hypocrites, and have done the same or worse themselves. The offender sees the world
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