Application: Sociological Theories of Delinquency

Sociological theories of delinquency attempt to explain juvenile delinquency from a macro perspective. That is, these theories explain juvenile delinquency based on the social and cultural contexts in which juveniles live, go to school, and play. This week, you explore the major sociological theories of delinquency as you consider how cultural norms and morals, labels, socioeconomic status, and other sociological factors contribute to the phenomenon of juvenile delinquency. You may notice that some theories have much in common or build upon each other, while others directly oppose each other.

To prepare for this assignment:

  • Review the assigned pages from Chapters 4 and 5, as well as Chapter 6 in the course text, Juvenile Delinquency, and focus on the sociological theories that account for juvenile delinquency.
  • Select two sociological theories of juvenile delinquency to use for this assignment. You are encouraged to use at least one of the following theories:
    • Sutherland’s differential association theory
    • Merton’s theory of anomie
  • Think about how the two sociological theories you selected account for juvenile delinquency.
  • Think about how the two sociological theories are similar and different with regard to juvenile delinquency.

The assignment (1–2 pages):

  • Briefly describe two sociological theories that account for juvenile delinquency.
  • Compare (similarities and differences) the two theories in terms of how they account for juvenile delinquency.
  • Explain at least one insight you had or conclusion you drew about juvenile delinquency from your comparison.

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