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Social Learning Theory - Coursework Example

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Sociology Grade course 26 November, 2011 Social learning theory: The learning theory is traceable in the 1800 and varies among sociologists from its popularity. The social learning theory has its roots in Albert Bandura’s work proposing that social learning occurs in four stages of imitation; close contact, imitation of superior people, understanding of concepts and copying role model behavior…
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Social Learning Theory
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Social Learning Theory

Download file to see previous pages... The social learning theory has been developed by many sociologists other than Albert Bandura. Different theorists like Gabriel Tarde in 1912 used laws of imitation to emphasize the idea of social learning (Pfohl 1994). The roots of leaning perspective can be traced to his era. Tarde’s laws are; close contact, imitation of superiors and insertion. Edwin Sutherland in 1940 used Tarde’s laws of close contact and imitation of superiors to develop his theory of differential association. The idea of culture faction struggling to determine who has the power and ability to define deviance in a society is dominant in Sutherland’s work. The differential association theory argues that individuals through interactions with each other learn the values, techniques attitude and motive for criminal behavior (pfohl 1994). Sutherland’s theory is summarized in nine points. It says that criminal behavior is learned through interactions with other people in the process of communication. The behaviors are learned mostly from intimate groups. Techniques of the crime are learnt and the motives are derived from the definition of breaking the law versus being compliant to the law. Sutherland’s perspective was criticized and deemed too shallow and simple for the world of sociology or criminology. The theory was highly criticized as hard to test and difficult to measure. Ronald Aker and Robert Burgess developed a new theory; Differential Association Reinforcement theory of criminal behavior (Burgess & Akers 1966). They did a re-evaluation of Sutherland’s theory using behaviorism. They maintained that criminal behavior can even be reinforced by non-social factors after incorporating psychological principles of operant conditioning. Ronald Akers social learning theory of crime can be applied in many situations of life. It is best applicable in groups where reinforcement is achieved (Burgess &Akers 1966). The theory is applicable in any type of crime that comes with some gain. For instance, if trough crime pleasure is attained, if there is material gain or positive attention from members of the same group, crime will continue to be committed. Behavior is mostly learnt from others and then reinforced. Discontinuation or continuation of the deviant behavior is determined by the level of positive reinforcement, which is, not necessarily social reinforcement. Ronald Akers key ideas: This paper will look at the applicability of Ronald Akers social learning theory in explaining the learning that takes place in Heyl’s “The Madam as Teacher,” and Becker’s “Becoming a Marijuana User” articles. Heyl’s article, the madam as a teacher, is about the training of house prostitutes. The training is done by Ann, the joint owner, to novices who earn money for themselves and Ann too (Heyl, 1977). Becker’s article looks at how people become Marijuana users and goes through people’s first experience until they get used to it (Becker, 1953). A professional prostitute can always pick out a person who first taught her the techniques of prostitution. In the case of Ann, she is the one who trains her novices into being professional house prostitutes. Ann trains her novices because lack of skills will cost her clients and money. For the beginners, she spends some time in teaching physical and psychological techniques to be used by the house ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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