Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Matza, David, and Gresham M. Sykes: Subterranean Values and Delinquency
Following their work on the “techniques of neutralization” in 1957, David Matza and Gresham M. Sykes elaborated their perspective on delinquent conduct. It is not enough, they argued in “Juvenile Delinquency and Subterranean Values,” to explain how individuals cognitively free themselves from social control—that is, to know “how an impetus to engage in delinquent behavior is translated into action” (p. 713). It also is essential to explain “what makes delinquency attractive in the first place” (p. 713). In the occurrence of delinquent conduct, techniques of neutralization represent the how whereas the concept of subterranean values Matza and Sykes explained why— “the values and ends underlying delinquency and the relationship of these values to those of the larger society” (p. 713). The why seemed obvious to many—that delinquents were “disturbed” and sought things they should not. But Sykes and Matza dismissed the notion of the disturbed delinquent, pointing to evidence normal ...