Differential Association Theory

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The wild and wonderful Whites of West Virginia

In this paper, I am going to going to examine the criminological theory of Differential Association theory by Edwin H. Sutherland. Also I am going to examine Kirk White from the film The Wild and Wonderful World of the Whites of West Virginia. Furthermore, I am going to apply Edwin H. Sutherland’s Differential Association theory to explain and understand the deviant actions of this character. I conclude that Differential association theory will explain why this character act in a deviant why.

Differential Association Theory

Differential association theory was formulated by American criminologist Edwin H. Sutherland making him by many one of the most instrumental figures to criminology
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Differential association theory explains that people learn deviant behavior through their interactions with other people by actively observing criminal behavior from others in their social circle (Boman, 2013). Kirk White family has a long history of drug abuse and violence. For example, her mom, aunts, and uncles all are lifelong drug users. She grow up in this environment and saw all her family abusing drugs and learned what situations and stressor motivated and drove that behavior. So when she experienced similar situations and stressors, she acted in the only way she knew how and that is using drugs. The differential association theory also explain why Kirk White acted so violently in responses to the boyfriends Dennis affair with her cousin. After the film was finished, I notices that most of the White family reacted to disrespect with extreme violence’s. Kirk learn that behavior form her mother, aunts, and uncle, and now is teaching that same behavior to her son Tyler. For example, in the scene that Kirk is explaining why she tried to kill her boyfriend Dennis. Her son interrupts her and yells, “You and Dennis, tell them that bastard tried to hit you. If I had a knife I would slit his dam throat open… or is nuts.” Sadly if this behavior is not address and corrected her son is going to follow his uncle Derek

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