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Process of human development and enculturation. Socialization is influenced by key social processes and institutions.

social process theory

The view that criminality is a function of people's interactions with various organizations, institutions, and processes in society.

parental efficacy

Parents who are supportive and effectively control their children in a noncoercive fashion.

social learning theory

The view that people learn to be aggressive by observing others acting aggressively to achieve some goal or being rewarded for violent crimes.

social control theory

The view that people commit crime when the forces binding them to society are weakened or broken.

social reaction (labeling) theory

The view that people become criminals when labeled as such and when they accept the label as a personal idenity.

differential association theory

The view that people commit crime when social learning leads them to perceive more definitions favoring crime than favoring conventional behavior.

culture conflict

Result of exposure to opposing norms, attitudes, and definitions of right and wrong, moral and immoral.

neutralization theory

The view that law violators learn to neutralize conventional values and attitudes, enabling them to drift back and forth between criminal and conventional behavior.


Movement in and out of delinquency, shifting between conventional and deviant values.

neutralization techniques

Methods of rationalizing deviant behavior, such as denying responsibility or blaming the victim.

self control

A strong sense that renders a person incapable of hurting others or violating social norms.

commitment to conformity

A strong personal investment in conventional institutions, individuals, and processses that prevent people from engaging in behavior that might jeopardize their reputation and achievements.


To apply negative labeling with enduring effects on a person's self-image and social interactions.

moral entrepreneur

A person who creates moral values that reflect the values of those in power rather than objective, universal standards of right and wrong.

retrospective reading

The reassessment of a person's past to fit a current generalized label.

primary deviance

A norm violation or crime with little or no long-term influence on the violator.

secondary deviance

A norm violation or crime that comes to the attention of significant others or social control agents, who apply a negative label with long-term consequences for the violator's self-idenity and social interactions.

deviance amplication

Process whereby secondary deviance pushes offenders out of the mainstream of society and locks them into an escalating cycle of deviance, apprehension, labeling, and criminal self-idenity.

reflected appraisal

When parents are alienated from their children, their negative labeling reduces their children's self-image and increases delinquency.

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