Techniques of Neutralization

Agnew, Robert, 1994,
Criminology, Nov94, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p555-580.

AgnewによるSykes & Matzaの提唱したTechniques of Neutralization(以下TN)のまとめ論文。

  • Minor, William W. 1981 Techniques of neutralization: A reconceptualization and empirical examination. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 18:295-318.
  • Conklin, John E. 1992 Criminology. New York: MacMHlan.(

Sykes & MatzaはTNを5つに分けていたが、それ以外にもあるらしい*1。何が追加されているのかは原典にあたらないとよく分からない。Conklinのリーディングスは良さそうな感じだ。

  • Hindelang, Michael. 1970. The Commitment of Delinquents to Their Misdeeds: Do Delinquents Drift?" Social Problems 35:159-161. (人図)
  • Hindelang, Michael. 1974. "Moral Evaluations of Illegal Behaviors." Social Problems 21:370-385. (人図)


Hindelang (1970:508) concluded that delinquents "do not have moral inhibitions which normally restrain them from delinquent involvement," and as a result "there is nothing to neutralize."



  • Ball, Richard A. 1977 Emergent delinquency in a rurban area. In Theodore N. Ferdinand (ed.), Juvenile Delinquency: Little Brother Grows Up. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage.

neutralization was related to delinquency among the boys,it was unrelated to delinquency among the girls.


  • Ball, Richard A. and J. Robert Lilly, 1971, Juvenile delinquency in a rurban county. Criminology 9:69-85.

they found that the "rurban" sixth graders had higher neutralization scores than a sample of high school boys from a high-delinquency urban area, even though the high school boys were more delinquent.



Matza and Sykes (1961:713) stated that the techniques of neutralization explain "how an impetus to engage in delinquent behavior is translated into action," but they did not explain "what makes delinquency attractive in the first place."


The effect of neutralization on delinquency, then, may be conditioned by a number of variables. Summarizing the above arguments, neutralization is most likely to lead to delinquency among those who (1) believe they are in situations in which the neutralizations are applicable, (2) have some commitment to conventional beliefs (i.e., disapprove of delinquency), (3) encounter opportunities for delinquency (i.e., situations in which the likelihood of reinforcement for delinquency is high and the likelihood of punishment is low), and (4) have, in the words of Minor (1981:301), a "strong need or desire to commit the offense." This strong need or desire may stem from association with delinquent peers, the experience of strain (including the strain of being "pushed around"), and the possession of an unfavorable self-concept.


*1:Minor論文のAbstractは以下。In their 1957 article, Sykes and Matza overstated the similarities between the value systems of delinquents and nondelinquents, and subsequent theorists have treated neutralization as a theoretical counterpoint to subcultural perspectives on delinquency. To overcome this artificial and unproductive dichotomization, a revision of neutralization theory is proposed that makes it compatible with subcultural interpretations of delinquency. Prior neutralization research is flawed because it fails to (1) establish the correct causal order between excuse acceptance and delinquency and (2) control for youths' moral evaluations of delinquent behavior. This paper presents the results of a two-wave panel study designed to overcome these shortcomings. For several forms of minor deviance, excuse acceptance is found to be related to subsequent behavior in the manner predicted by the theory. Controlling for moral evaluations and prior behavior, these relationships hold primarily for youths who disapprove of the behavior in question (as expected) but who have previously engaged in that behavior (contrary to expectation). Theoretical implications of these findings are explored.