Social Ecology Vs. Differential Association Essay, Research Paper
Shannon R. Nemechek, Soc 355
Which is a better theory of crime Social ecology or differential association? While both have good concepts I feel that both are somewhat flawed in their concepts of crime. But for the purposes of this paper I will chose differential association as the better predictor and concept for criminal behavior as a whole.
Social ecology says that most criminal behavior is centered around those areas that are central to a neighborhood. So if a neighborhood is one of great social and economical pressures then crime is more prevalent in that area as this is true it is not true of all residents of that area. I feel some of the views of the social ecologists are somewhat racially bias. Although most criminals are young poor urban black males this does not mean that all that all young poor urban black males are criminal. Although, it is true that neighborhoods do have a great influence on young criminal behavior in my view criminal behavior itself is multi causational. Although, it is true that crime seems to decrease when you look at crime in the central part of a city and travel out from there I submit that criminal behavior may not be as different as one might think. I submit that although most criminals are young poor urban black males that those in rural setting are prone to an equal amount of criminal behavior but the police tend to look the other way instead focusing in on those who are in their view more apt to commit crime.
Not only do neighborhoods help to influence and not deter criminal behavior they also are influenced from other sources such as family, friends, schools etc. This is the view of most sociologists that adhere to the view of differential association. These views are also somewhat flawed but are a much better predictor of criminal behavior than the latter. Differential association tends to look as criminal behavior as a learned behavior this I agree with in some aspects most behavior is learned from parents, friends and family but can also be caused from psychological factors and biological factors such as some personality disorders, obsessive compulsive disorders and genetic irregularities such as XYY super males that are more prone to suffer from anti social personality disorder or psychopathy. But in essence differential association is clearly the better theory of criminal behavior than the latter theory of social ecology because differential association looks at what and who a person has around them, how often this influence is around and how significant the people are around them that helps to define who that person is if it be criminal or law abiding citizen.