Theory of Differential Association

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To comprehend the differentiation correlation principle, we must first understand the concept of deviance and the forms of deviant behaviors. Until now, deviance has been described as conduct that violates social norms and is frowned upon by most people in society. On the other hand, criminal justice is set aside by society as a discipline that deals with people who participate in unlawful acts because every market must have a madman (“Openstax CNX”). Nonetheless, the definition of deviance is complex since different societies and communities have different perspectives on a single norm. Consequently, one panel in a community can consider a given deed acceptable while other groups term that particular act as deviant. The paper will discuss in details the differential association theory concerning deviance.

Differential Association Theory

Edwin Sutherland developed the theory, and its focus is on how individuals learn deviance. The theory stipulates that the environment have a significant role in making decisions on which norm people learn to break. Therefore is follows that people learn their rules from different agents of socializing such as teachers, families, friends and the media. It only means that individuals develop criminal behavior just the same way they learn other conducts just from interacting with others, particularly private groups.

The theory applies to various types of deviant behaviors. For instance, juvenile criminal gangs create and the environment in which young individuals learn to be criminals (“Openstax CNX”). The groups use violence, retaliation, and crime as ways of gaining social status. Hence, the members get to be deviant as they abide by the norm of the gang.


In conclusion, differential- association theory is preferable to others because of its contribution to the field of criminology by focusing on the how the nature of criminality develops. It puts it simply that people learn deviance from individuals with whom associate.

Works Cited

“Openstax CNX.” Cnx.Org, 2017,[email protected]:[email protected]/What-Is-Sociology.

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