A deviant behavior can be explained as an abnormal, non-standard and an unexpected behavior. It is that behavior which doesn’t adhere to the society widely accepted cultural and societal norms. For instance, murder is an example of a deviant behavior since it violates the societal and cultural norms which are unacceptable to the society. This paper explains properly deviant behavior using differential association theory and by giving an example of how I examined a deviant behavior.
Differential Association is a type of deviance theory which concerns itself with how individuals become criminals through interactions with others. This theory does not focus on why people becomes criminal but rather, it focus on how, they learnt to commit criminal behavior/acts; individuals learn drives, motives, attitudes and rationalizations. Through communication and association with other deviant characters, an individual can therefore easily learn the methods and motives for a certain criminal activity (Akers, and Burgess 369). People become criminals due to contact with other criminals and through prime group interactions. The theory therefore places more emphasis on the effects of peer pressure in relationships while determining away or toward a certain social deviance.
My childhood, closest friend become an example of a peer influence victim whose story can be used in a differential association theory. Gerald, my friend, was a very trustworthy and affectionate person. We grew up together, played and had fun together as well as shared our good and bad times together. Gerald and I were very close and we almost did everything together. However, during our high schools, Gerald transferred from our school and we had to part our ways though we still saw each other during holidays.
For differential association, a deviant activity is cultivated. It grows very easily and socially easier for such people to commit a crime. Through interaction and communication process, criminal behavior is learned. This however, becomes possible through very close/ intimate groups of person. At the new high school, Gerald got involved with a notorious group of friends. The good old boy was changed by his friends and he rarely communicated with me. His friends taught him how to used drugs and he became a heavy drunkard.
Like his friends, Gerard became too much involved in the criminal behavior. Despite several times Gerald was warned he never gave an ear to what others told him. I tried my best to remind him of the good old days, warning him of the consequences of his deviant activities, but to no avail. And just like Differential Association theory puts it, Gerald learned criminal behavior through interaction with his friends and through communication (Gaylord, and Galliher 24). Gerald and his friends later dropped out from school to pursue their criminal acts. They formed a notorious group vandalizing people in the city with their deviant activities. They not only robbed but also murder those who came in their way.
Later, Gerald with his groups planned to commit an armed robbery in a bank. Unfortunately or fortunately, there arose a disagreement within the criminal group and one of them set them up to the police. Although Gerald and his groups were professional armed robbers, Gerald had never been convicted or caught for any other previous case of crime. However, the rest of the group was well known to the police for their criminal behavior and the police were planning to murder them in case they caught them rather than take them to jail. The operation went all well from start to finish. However, as they were about to leave, police gun shots were heard and unfortunately, Gerald died in the operation.
Akers, Ronald, and Robert Burgess. "A Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory of
Criminal Behavior." Social Problems. 14 (1966): 363-383. Print.
Gaylord, Mark, and John Galliher. The Criminology of Edwin Sutherland. New Brunswick, New
Jersey: Transaction, 1988.