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Criminal Theories - Essay Example

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Social organizations are so set up that crime is not required to obtain the essential necessities of life-food, sex satisfaction, the gratification of primary emotional urges. This is the theoretical assumption of our social philosophy, our constitutions, and criminal codes. But social reality often falls short of these ideal expectations.
The most popular theories used to explain crime are Strain Theory and Social Learning Theory. The strain theory was developed by Robert Merton in the 1940's. this theory states that social stress has a dominant impact on behavior of individuals. The loss of social cohesion leads to criminal behavior and isolation form society by an individual. Five reactions to social stress are conformity, ritualism, innovation, ret realism and rebellion. People who experience social stress of this sort must be expected to commit crimes when confronted by an average or even subnormal degree of environmental pressure (Spalek 2005). As long as this disposition has not undergone a change, a sequence of criminal acts must be anticipated. Many of our criminals, endowed by nature with a loosely suspended reactivity, become genuine criminals by recurrence. They acquire abnormal touchiness by the grinding effects of repeated crime and repeated punishment. This theory is important for police and fire services, emergency etc, to understand human behavior and possible consequences of social stress factors (Hellman and Alper 1997).
Social learning theory was developed by Bandura in 1970. This theory is based on psychological concepts and explanations which determine behavior of a person as socially learned. Paramour is learned while overriding actions and communication of other people, their relations and interaction patterns,. According to this theory, criminal behavior is also learned by individuals surrounded by other criminals. Social life consists of incidental stimuli, yet always revolving around the average quantity that the man in the street is able to endure. That group which responds by criminal deeds to minor stimuli is likely to have trouble all the time. In contrast, those who succumb only to extreme pressure of outside forces will commit offenses only under these rare and exceptional circumstances. They are the emergency offenders; the others are the everyday criminals. This theory is important for social workers as it allows them to understand causes of criminal behavior and possible outcomes of their decisions and social programs (Spalek 2005).
Cultural conflict theory was developed by Sellin in 1940. This theory is based on cultural differences and racial differences which can lead to a conflict between two or more groups of people. The theory explains that different norms and values may lead to deviant behavior. In its turn, this behavior can lead to criminal behavior under certain conditions. Group life affords an accretion of strength. No wonder that the same device which socially is a help may bring about new social trouble when groups clash with groups, or when minor units, families, crowds, or neighborhoods run counter to the demands of the supreme unit, the state. This theory is important for social workers as it explains possible consequences of cultural conflict and causes of deviant behavior based on racial differences and racism. A group comes into existence when at least one other person ...Show more
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A theory aims at analyzing a composite phenomenon by splitting it into primary elements. A good theory will be able to display these simpler components and to show that their recurring interaction will produce similar results under similar conditions, diverse results under changed conditions…
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