Social Learning Theory suggests that people learn the techniques and attitudes of crime from close and intimate relationships with criminal peers; crime is a learned behavior. Social Control Theory maintains that everyone has the potential to become a criminal, but that most people are controlled by their bonds to society. Crime occurs when the forces that bind people to society are weakened or broken. Social Reaction Theory (Labeling Theory) says that people become criminals when significant members of society label them as such and they accept those labels as a personal identity. Put another way, Social Learning Theory assumes that people are born good and learn to be bad; Social Control Theory assumes that people are born bad and must be controlled in order to be good; Social Reaction Theory assumes that, whether good or bad, people are controlled by the reactions of others.
According to the Social Disorganization Theory crime occurs in disorganized areas where institutions of social control, such as family, commercial establishments and schools, have broken down and can no longer perform their expected function. When members of the lower class who are unable to achieve wealth, material possessions, power and prestige through conventional means feel anger, frustration and resentment. This is collectively referred to as Strain. Cultural Deviance Theory combines elements of Strain and Social Disorganization Theories. A unique lower-class can develop in disorganized neighborhoods.
● In your opinion, given your studies thus far, which theories do you believe best explains crime?
● Do you know someone personally, professionally or otherwise whose behavior would fit into one or more of these theories.