Where can you see different theories repeat the same ideas?


Studying criminal justice and criminology means picking apart all published and supported theories and ideologies behind why someone (or why doesn’t someone) commit a crime. From biological to psychological, to physiological, the theories seem to be endless. Chapter 10 in our textbook focuses mainly on a wide array of different theories. However, the grouping of all these theories goes as follows:

  • Social Process theories
  • Learning theories
  • Control theories

Social process theories are defined as the focus on how behavior is learned, internalized, and transmitted between individuals (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). Learning theories focus on why individuals learn criminal behavior and believe in the idea that they are socialized into it (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). Control theories are the ones that take a different approach: they focus on social or personal factors that prevent individuals from engaging in selfish, antisocial behavior (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021).

Those discussed under learning theories according to, Schram, are differential association theory, differential reinforcement theory, and neutralization theory. As mentioned in its name, the differential association theory focuses on association with significant others in learned criminal behavior (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). The reinforcement theory focuses on various types of social learning like operant conditioning, classical conditioning, and imitation (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). Neutralization theory is described as the idea that individuals drift between the two extremes of complete conformity and complete nonconformity (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). Between these 3, the neutralization theory seems like an outlier.

The few discussed under the control and social process theories, once again according to Schram, include the social contract theory, the collective conscience, the Id and the Superego, the stake in conformity, the containment theory, drift theory, and social bonding theory (Schram & Tibbetts, 2021). To avoid wordy descriptions, I will not add definitions but rather you to process them and compare.

Among these (not all mentioned) are even more sub-parts to these ideas. They take from one another and add to, or remove some aspects. Tweaking one idea could be a completely different approach and most of the ideas in this chapter do overlap. Every person is unique in their ways of thinking that even one part of a theory could describe them completely or absolutely not.

By knowing definitions, where do you see overlaps ad shared ideas? Who came first?

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