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In your response posts to the student identify as to why you are agreeing with your classmate. Respond to each student separately in three paragraphs. Again, give a separate answer to each student’s posts.
Student #1: give a separate answer to student #1
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I have selected two of the crime and social process theories to discuss for this post; the first being Akers’ Social Learning Theory. Akers’ theory was a revision of Sutherland’s initiatives that centered on behaviorism. The bottom-line basis for Akers’ theory is that criminal and deviant behavior is learned from the relationships and intimate interactions that we are involved with. SLT claims that as a result of the consequences of an individual’s social surroundings and relationships they learn behaviors and actions. (Curran &Renzetti, 2003) In other words, if a child is given an ice cream cone for cleaning their room, they will continue to clean their room.
SLT is centered on two processes, reinforcement and punishment. Reinforcement can be illustrated in the ice cream cone example. The circumstance will also cause the behavior to increase in frequency. Punishment is the flip side of reinforcement. If one is punished for their behavior it is thought that that will remove the behavior all together, or at least minimize the frequency. Instead of rewarding the child with an ice cream cone for cleaning his room, you take away his PS4 for not cleaning his room.
Another important component of SLT to mention is the imitation or modeling. Akers postulates that individuals are likely to imitate or model behaviors of those that they admire, like or respect. (Curran &Renzetti, 2003). This can be seen specifically in close familial relationships, friendships and also from watching celebrities on tv.
While SLT has some great empirical evidence to support its’ basis, there are some glaring weaknesses, namely, not being able to explain serious criminal behavior, particularly violent or heinous crimes. Aker’s solution for this is to integrate it with some other theories that do in fact offer explanations on society’s resources and rewards, such as anomie. (Curran &Renzetti, 2003).
The second theory is Hirchi’s Control Theory. Hirschi argues that we all are controlled by one high moral order. Instead of focusing on why people commit criminal or deviant acts, Hirschi focuses on why they do not. He argues that people chose NOT to commit crimes because of the bonds and ties that are in their life. Those bonds must be strong in order for an individual to adhere to the high moral code of society. Conversely, if those bonds are weak or broken, and individual will then commit delinquent acts.
Hirschi identifies 4 elements of the social bond. They are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Simply put, attachment is the most important element and it’s directly related to how a person feels about other people’s feelings. Commitment is when people play by the rules and actually cultivate a stake in the bond. Involvement is as simple as it seems. If a person is heavily involved in activities, time won’t allow them to commit deviant acts. Belief is whether a person actually “buys-in” to the fact that they should abstain from committing criminal acts. (Curran &Renzetti, 2003).
While both of these theories have some excellent points and explanations for why people do and don’t commit criminal activity, I’d like to examine the Social Learning Theory a bit further, specifically related to intimate partner violence and how it explains the batterer’s actions. As mentioned in the readings, SLT doesn’t truly account for serious or heinous acts of criminal behavior, however, it does offer explanations for deviant acts such as IPV.
Wareham et al (2009) conducted a study of male batterers that were participating in court mandated treatment programs for intimate partner violence. The study was conducted to see if the actions of these batterers could be explained by the elements of SLT. All of the offenders studied were low risk/first-time offenders. The research found that these men were more likely to perform verbal or physical acts of IPV if they witnesses their close friends or family members committing the same acts.
While I do feel that Hirschi’s control theory has some merit and may explain why some individuals commit crimes, I feel that the Social Learning Theory is more plausible. SLT isn’t simply a copy-what-you-see-occur mentality, but there’s a more deep-rooted imitation and mockery that occurs. SLT can be used to also better explain why there are generations and generations of families committing criminal or deviant acts, living on public assistance, continuing to live their lives of poverty, etc. These behaviors are imitated by what’s being taught or learned. In order for us to make a change and affect these individuals, they must begin to “unlearn” what has been instilled in them for years, by the intimate relationships and images portrayed in the media.