Examining Theory Paper

1224 words 5 pages
Examining Theory Paper
December 20, 2012
Sandra Janics


There are many theories in the field of criminology that seek to explain the reasons behind why people commit crimes. Social process theory is one such theory and asserts that criminal behavior is learned through interactions with others (Schmalleger, 2012). There are four types of social process theories including: social learning theory, social control theory, labeling theory, and dramaturgical perspective. This paper will explore two of the theories including social learning theory and social control theory. The paper will discuss social process theory and the history of its development, the theory’s importance to criminology, examples of
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Individuals in gangs are an example of a group of individuals, who by coming together and having a common interest, become engaged in deviant activities. They have learned by acting out in a certain way will gain them acceptance from their peers. The social process theory can also have a negative effect on people because of the alienation they feel from others based on an emotional conflict the person may have. This alienation can result in hostility that can manifest into violence behavior or socially non-accepted behavior. The lack of commitment the person feels toward creating any type of social bond will be reflected in the person’s actions as far as getting a job, continuing with educational pursuits or building a positive reputation. Conclusion The social process theories assert that crime is a product of one’s social environment. Additionally, this theory unlike others, helps to explain how otherwise normal individuals can and will turn to crime. The social learning theory and the social control theory both highlight that criminality is not an innate behavior that we are born with but is rather the result of socialization and learning from one’s environment. One example of how individuals learn certain behaviors includes a parent smoking cigarettes in front of a young child. The child learns from this interaction that this behavior is


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