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    Criminological Theories: Comparison of Two Siblings

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    How could strain, differential association, social control, social learning, and rational theories be utilized to explain how two siblings from the same household could encounter environmental stimuli that could push both or either of them into crime or pull them under the control of conventional society?

    If two siblings of the family grow up in the same household and turn out completely differently—one attends college and becomes a successful doctor and the other becomes a career criminal—can the environment still be held responsible for the deviance of the criminal?

    What factors would social control theorists focus on while explaining the differences between the lives of the two siblings? Why?

    What factors would differential association theorists focus on while explaining the differences between the lives of the two siblings? Why?

    Would any other theories be helpful in explaining the differences between the two siblings? How?

    Assuming that one of the siblings is a female, can any specific theories be used to explain the differences between the lives of the two siblings. How?

    Why do the majority of people from the highest crime areas not commit crime? Do you think a person's environment has little impact on his or her crime? Why?

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    Solution Preview

    Hello and thank you for your question.

    I have divided my guidance/ ideas into parts according to your questions. Please see below. Please modify the references to your citation style if need be.

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    1) How could strain, differential association, social control, social learning, and rational theories be utilized to explain how two siblings from the same household could encounter environmental stimuli that could push both or either of them into crime or pull them under the control of conventional society?

    Firstly, let us summarize some key theories:

    Strain Theory - All people don't encounter the same opportunities or have the same abilities and as such, when people do hard work or do not receive the acknowledgement that they feel they deserve, they resort to crime to find success. (Briggs, 2015)

    Differential Association - When a person closely associates with those who commit crime to a great extent, they learn criminal behaviour, which results in them engaging in criminal acts. (Mannheim, 2015)

    Social Control Theory - Certain "controls" or controlling forces on a person, that are placed upon a person by society, such as family, religious institutions, school and work, prevent a person from drifting into criminal activity. (Briggs, 2015)

    Social Learning Theory - People develop a desire and ability to commit crime based on those who they closely associate with. (Briggs, 2015)

    Rational Choice Theory - People commit crime after they have evaluated the potential risks and drawbacks involved against the possible rewards, and feel that pursuing criminal activity is in their best interests. (Briggs, 2015)

    Based on this, there are several instances where two siblings can go in completely different paths (one based on conventional society and one based on crime):

    - One of the siblings has associations with those who commit crime and as such, learns on how to engage in criminal acts, while the other sibling has friends of good character. For example, one of the siblings has friends who frequently steal, while the other sibling has many religious or well-mannered friends who influence him/her in a positive manner. - Social learning theory, differential association

    - One of the siblings is unable to find a job, continuously has poor academic performance and does not receive any acknowledgement or appreciation from society, while the other excels academically, obtains a good job and continuously succeeds and grows. The sibling who is in difficulty, may resort to crime. - Strain theory

    - One of the siblings thinks in a different manner than the other sibling and sees crime as an opportunity to achieve many successes despite the risks involved. - Rational choice theory

    - One of the siblings is religious while the other is not, or one of siblings lives with their parents while the other does not. In the case of the sibling that is not religious and does not live with their family, they may drift into criminal activity since there are no factors "controlling" them from doing so. - Social Control ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution discusses criminological theories by comparing siblings.

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