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Mr Slim Shady

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By cassie132
Words 1019
Pages 5

David Matza was born on May 1, 1930 in New York. He received his Bachelors degree in 1953 from the City of New York College. In addition he received his Masters and Doctorate degree from Princeton. Presently, Matza is a Professor Emeritus at the University of California’s Department of Sociology.

David Matza, who focused on juvenile delinquency, is most popularly known for his work with Gresham Sykes and their theory of neutralization. Matza also ventured out on his own, giving further explanations and studies of juvenile delinquency. Because he was studying criminal activity during the mid-twentieth century, he was influenced by the social and political unrest in the United States. Even though theorists have criticized Matza’s work, it is still used by theorists today as a source of discussion on the topic of juvenile delinquency.

Gresham Sykes and David Matza
Techniques of Neutralization: A Theory of Delinquency

Sykes and Matza wanted to build upon Arthur Sutherland’s Differential Association theory which states that an individual learns criminal behavior through “(a) techniques of committing crimes and (b) motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes” which go against law-abiding actions (Sykes and Matza, 1957:664). These techniques reduce the social controls over the delinquent and are also more applicable to specific juveniles. Neutralization is defined as a technique, which allows the person to rationalize or justify a criminal act. There are five techniques of neutralization; denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of victim, condemnation of the condemners, and the appeal to higher loyalties.

Denial of responsibility is a technique used when the deviant act was caused by an outside force. This technique goes beyond looking at the criminal act as an accident. The individual feels that they…...

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