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Edwin H. Sutherland - Research Proposal Example

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A theory is an assumption that attempts to explain why or how things are related to each other. A theory of crime attempts to explain why or how certain things are related to criminal behavior. Criminology theory is important because most of what is done in criminal justice is based upon criminological theory, whether we or the people who propose and implement policies based on the theory know it or not…
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Edwin H. Sutherland
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Download file "Edwin H. Sutherland" to see previous pages... This essay is based upon one of the most celebrated criminologists of the twentieth-century and his theories: Edwin Sutherland. He was born August 13, 1883 in Gibbon, Nebraska and died in 1950. He grew up and studied in Ottawa, Kansas, and Grand Island, Nebraska. In 1904 he received the B.A degree from Grand Island College,
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and after that, he taught Latin, Greek, history, and shorthand for two years at Sioux Falls College in South Dakota. In 1906 he left Sioux Falls College and entered graduate school at the University of Chicago from which he received his doctorate. (Gaylord, 1988:7-12) There, he changed his major from history to Sociology. Much of his study was influenced by Chicago school's approach to the study of crime that emphasized human behavior as determined by social and physical environmental factors, rather than genetic or personal characteristics.
After completing graduate studies he was employed at the University of Minnesota between 1926 and 1929 and solidified his reputation as one of the country's leading criminologists. During this period, his focus was on Sociology as a scientific enterprise whose goal was the understanding and control of social problems, including crime (Gaylord, 1988:13). Later he moved to Indiana University and became the founder of the Bloomington school of Criminology at Indiana University. During that time, he published 3 books, including Twenty Thousand Homeless Men (1936), The Professional Thief (1937), and the third edition of Principles of Criminology (1939). In 1939 he was elected president of the American Sociological Society, and in 1940 was elected president of the Sociological Research Association.
According to him, "Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding delinquency and crime as a social phenomena. It includes within its scope the process of making laws, breaking laws, and of reacting toward the breaking of laws. These processes are three aspects of a somewhat unified sequence of interactions. The objective of Criminology is the development of a body of general and verified and principles and of other types of knowledge regarding this process of law, crime, and reaction to crime." (1974: 3)
He was the first twentieth century criminologist to forcefully argue that criminal behavior was learned. His theory of differential association, developed in 1934 and 1947, was that persons who become criminal do so because of contacts with criminal patterns and isolations from non-criminal patterns. Differential association theory was Sutherland's major sociological contribution to Criminology; similar in importance to strain theory and social control theory. These theories all explain deviance in terms of the individual's social relationships. Sutherland's theory departs from the pathological perspective and biological perspective by attributing the cause of crime to the social context of individuals.
"He rejected biological determinism and the extreme individualism of psychiatry, as well as economic explanations of crime. His search for an alternative understanding of crime led to the development of differential association theory. In contrast to both classical and biological theories, differential asso ...Download file "Edwin H. Sutherland" to see next pagesRead More
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