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John Gotti received more publicity than any previous crime figure. Discuss the theories
developed by Sutherland, Merton, and others and compare and contrast them regarding
which would appropriately describe Gotti's criminal development.
1. Jerome Skolnick and his colleagues have distinguished between two gang types. Discuss
these types of gangs. What type are the Gangster Disciples? Explain why they are that
type. Include examples to support your explanation.

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You are strongly encouraged to utilize the course material. You may consult other
appropriate material, including academic and professional journals, books, professional
publications, research-based material from university websites, theses, and dissertations.
Examples of inappropriate material are magazine articles, editorial columns, unsupported
websites, or academic papers not subject to a peer-review system.
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 association theory poses no obvious threats to the humane
treatment of those identified as criminals."(Gaylord, 1988:1)
The principle of differential association asserts that a person becomes delinquent
because of an "excess" of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions
unfavorable to violation of law. In other word, criminal behavior emerges when one is
exposed to more social message favoring conduct than prosocial messages
(Sutherland, 1947).
Sutherland argued that the concept of differential association and differential social
organization could be applied to the individual level and to aggregation (or group) level
respectively. While differential association theory explains why any individual gravitates
toward criminal behavior, differential social organization explains why crime rates

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of different social entities different from each other's.
The first explicit statement of the theory of differential association appears in the 1939
edition of Principles of Criminology and in the fourth edition of it, he presented his final
theory. His theory has 9 basic postulates. 1. Criminal behavior is learned.
This means that criminal behavior is not inherited, as such; also the person who is not
already trained in crime does not invent criminal behavior.
2. Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other persons in a process of
This communication is verbal in many cases but includes gestures. 3. The principal part
of the learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups.
Negatively, this means the impersonal communication, such as movies or newspaper
play a relatively unimportant part in committing criminal behavior.
4. When criminal behavior is learned, the learning includes (a) techniques of committing
the crime, which are sometimes very simple; (b) the specific direction of motives, drives,
rationalizations, and attitudes.
5. The specific direction of the motives and drives is learned from definitions of the legal
codes as favorable or unfavorable.
This different context of situation usually is found in US where culture conflict in relation
to the legal code exists.

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