Neutralization Theory

Topics: Sociology, Criminology, Crime Pages: 4 (1471 words) Published: December 9, 2011
Neutralization Theory
By Leidy Cardona

Offenders learn “techniques” which permits them to neutralize such values and attitudes momentarily and therefore they drift back and forth among legitimate and illegitimate performances. Delinquents develop a special set of justification for their behavior when it violates social norms. Matza and Sykes developed five rationalizations and techniques of neutralization. 1. The denial of responsibility. 2. The denial of injury. 3. The denial of victim. 4. The condemnation of the condemners. 5. The appeal to higher loyalties. The neutralization theory holds that people learn the values, attitude and techniques to criminal behavior through hidden values. They also argue that most criminals are not always involved with crime; they would actually drift from on behavior to another, sometimes deviant and sometimes conventional.

David Matza was born on May 1, 1930 in New York City. He received his B.A at the College of New York. In addition, he received his M.A & Ph. D at the University of Princeton. Matza proposed that people live their lives on a range somewhere between freedom and restraint. This development is by which a person drifts from one behavior to another, he called is drifting. He mainly focused on juvenile delinquency. Matza argued that delinquents drift between conventional and unconventional behavior. What does this mean? It means that people drift when they sense guilt, they developed a technique of neutralization so the avoid feeling guilty. Gresham Sykes, an American criminologist. Sykes was born on May 26, 1922; earned his bachelors of Art at Princeton University and a Ph. D. at Northwestern University. Sykes taught at Universities such as Dartmouth, Princeton and Northwestern before becoming a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia. Sykes and Matza claimed that delinquents use techniques of excuses to neutralize their deviant behavior. One of the motions of using these methods...
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