What is the focus of differential association, control, and labeling theories in the explanation of deviance?

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Karyth Cara eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The focus of differential association theory is on the definitions of learnable behaviors that lawful or criminal. In associations, when the quantity of definitions that tend toward, or are favorable toward, deviance are in excess, while definitions tending away from and unfavorable toward law breaking, then that individual will become criminally deviant. Defintions must be in excess on the criminal tendency and in depletion on the prohibitive tendency.

the excess of definitions favorable to deviance over definitions unfavorable to violation of law enforces a person become a deviant while associating with other persons.(Southerland)

lilylee | Student

Diffential Association Theory is based on the idea that people learn to deviate through associating with others who deviate from the norms.

Control Theory is contrast, is based on the idea that everyone is drawn to commit deviate acts, but most of us conform because of an effective system of inner and outer controls. People who have less effective controls deviate.

Labeling Theory is based on the idea that acts are deviate only because people label them as such.

All three theories are aligned with the symbolic interactionist perspective and share the micro-level of analysis