Who is to blame, the individual or society?
James T. Johnson is a 24-year-old construction worker who lives at home with his mother. During the week, he goes to work on time, does his work, and comes home. Occasionally, he will go out with a group of coworkers on a Friday evening. He has one other secret. He burglarizes homes and garages in the neighboring communities, selling what he steals via the internet or at pawn shops two counties over.
This past weekend, he was arrested during a burglary when he entered a home where the home owner was present. His mother had to mortgage her home to bail him out of jail. While driving him home, she started to berate him, stating that he has ended up “just like his father, a criminal” and that she will probably end up dying early due to the stress of having a criminal son.
James was angry and blurted out that it was her fault, that this was the only life he knew because his father never taught him anything worthwhile. He said that his mother and father fought all the time, and the main subject of the their fights was his constant drinking.
Do you think James learned his behavior from his father? Explain your reasoning.
Could there have been other contributing factors that would have an effect on the problem? Explain.
Do you think that if James were removed from his home as a juvenile, he would have become a burglar?
Are the statements from James about responsibility only used to shift blame? Why or why not?
Research reaction formation, and apply this theory to James’s situation.
How is this related to strain theory? Explain.
How is this related to subculture perspective? Explain.
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