The Tattoo and Public Learning Theory

The tattoo is a book which was compiled by Chris McKinney in regards to a young adult known as Ken Kenji Hideyoshi who was sent to the Halawa Correctional Institute. Inside he explains to his personal have difficulty of living life as a Japanese men being brought up in Hawaii, exposure to poverty, colonialism, violence, urban gangs, and drugs. In this essay, I will argue that one may learn legal and violent behaviour by those who they maintain close interpersonal interactions with, for example, relatives and buddies. In saying that, I am using the social learning theory looking specifically at Edwin Sutherland and his notion of differential association and Akers concept of differential reinforcement to explore the partnership between Ken Hideyoshi and Koa Puana.

In The Tattoo, we were presented to Koa Kauhi Puana who hails from Kahaluu on the Windward part of the island in addition to a son who Ken experienced met in his British class at Ruler Intermediate School. Koa comes from a type of royalty, where his father was the ruler of Puana Castles which intended that in the future he had the potential to follow his fathers footsteps, but because of the fact that Koa experienced fallen in to the trap of all of the societal influences around him, he started out to improve and lost that opportunity. In saying that, although Ken and Koa didn't start on the best of terms, they began to form a close bond to the main point where they considered each other best friends and even brothers. Furthermore, this is just the start, adding on to Kens vulnerability of violence, playing, alcohol and medicine dealing.

When referring to the communal learning theory, it is a very broad term in a way that there are various meanings behind it. Bandura (1977) defined the cultural learning theory as new behaviours which may be acquired through immediate experience or by watching others behaviours whereas in a criminal sense, Bradley & Walters (2011) identified it to be a term where criminal offenses is the consequence of an activity of learning unlawful beliefs, norms and behavior. Those that we relate with on a regular basis like the family and peer group create a huge impression in terms of what we learn. However, we must not forget that an individual does not have to be in contact with others to study from them. An example of this is shown where a person might learn to take part in violence simply from what they face in the multimedia. Furthermore, when looking at criminal offenses, public learning theorists assumed that those who take part in unlawful activity were because of their association with others who also follow offense. Furthermore, this essay will look deeper into the communal learning theory, breaking it down further by using theorist Edwin Sutherland and his notion of differential connection and Akers and his idea of differential reinforcement.

The differential relationship theory became a huge contribution toward Sociology and Criminology. This idea was coined by Edwin Sutherland in 1939 where he thought that crime was not due to socio-economics nor specific pathologies but it way more a product of learning ( Bradley & Walters, 2011, p. 125). Also, Sutherland argued that we figure out how to become a criminal in much the same way even as we learn other vocations or professional activities (Sutherland & Cressey, 1974, pp. 75-77). Growing up, Ken and Koa (after their first introductions in intermediate) do everything together, spent most of their time alcohol consumption, doing drugs and creating havoc all throughout the island. According to ( Bradley & Walters, 2011), Sutherland argued that legal behaviour is discovered within relationships with romantic companions. The interactions that you have with the people whom they feel they can be closest with (whether it be family or friends), and how they influence the training of criminal behaviour and the attitudes that include it. INSIDE THE Tattoo, just how that this first principle had been showed would be with Koa and Ken and their friendship. Hanging around one another majority of enough time, Ken and Koa could have gathered lots of habits from one another. An example of this would be seen in a way where Koa played out a major part in Kenjis trip through life. In addition, when Koa introduces Ken to Freddie (who's their main drug dealer), he becomes exposed to drugs like weed and coke which they begun to smoke cigars daily. This illustrates the actual fact that if you face things like alcohol and drugs daily through societal influences (that being your peers), you will be prone to learning these identical things and as if it is like a day to day routine. Another example that was seen in the novel was that not only do Kens father encourage Ken to be violent but so do Koa in a way where he used liquor, his physical durability and drugs as an excuse to beat both of these marine men, because these were Haoles, these were confronted about drinking alcohol and being underage and they wanted something that these marines possessed, that have been their dog tags fuck when we kick dea ass, we go fuckin take da dog tags. . . (McKinney, 1999, p. 79). This then demonstrates this relates to differential association in the way that Koa influences Ken by motivating him that that underage drinking, stealing someones property and defeating them up is okay. Furthermore, with Koa being exposed to violence daily and stimulating Ken to activate in violence with people that they don't like, it just would go to show that Koa does not really care and this violence is suitable in his sight.

The second social learning theory that'll be used to discuss the camaraderie between Koa and Kenji is that of Burgess and Akers (1966) and their idea of differential reinforcement. This idea was a developed version to Sutherlands prior work, differential relationship in addition to a combo of the developmental mindset and their support theory. Relating to Bradley & Walters (2011), individuals learn sociable behaviour through operant fitness. Furthermore, this then lead to the fact that behaviour is handled through stimuli that employs the behavior ( Bradley & Walters, 2011). This is seen where behavior is repeated when it is followed by an optimistic praise or positive stimuli, whereas in some instances, behaviour is not as likely to be repeated when there is not a praise or a poor effect towards that behavior. Moreover, criminal behaviour will come to an end if the individual or group is punished at all or it could continue if an example may be rewarded for their behaviour. It is seen throughout the book that Koas hate for the Haoles develops stronger and better every day where it relates back again to background because he was told by his grandpa that Kahaluu was once a lovely, clean place, full of food until the Haoles took over Fuck dat Hawaiians got mo fucked by da haoles, Fuckin Kahaluu used to be mean. Acquired pig all ova da place. Experienced taro. Kaneohe Bay got all kine seafood swimming near shore But da best is you could drink da wata from da streams coming down from the mountains (McKinney, 1999, p. 59). An example of differential reinforcement sometimes appears in the tattoo when Ken and Koa were surfing and they found the Haoles nearing the beach using their tour bus, so they had decided to grab their shoes. This step and language then inspired Ken with the ongoing proven fact that surfing and stealing peoples private property is fine, not only as a result of buzz that they get from it but also the fact that it is regarded as something fun and safe as it isn't hurting anyone. Another example where the context of differential reinforcement is present throughout the novel is where Ken and Koa will work as well as Freddy to earn some supplemental income by selling coke. Although offering coke is illegitimate, the compliment that Ken acquired received from Freddy and Koa above the thrill and the amount of money that he received from offering would have been a huge influence on Ken because he'd have thought that although this is outlawed, it is easier than venturing out and getting a real job and the amount of money that he made could have been considered an incentive for him. Furthermore, this just goes to show that differential encouragement is present in Ken and Koas romantic relationship as Ken persisted to sell the coke with Koa due to money that he received so that every time he sold coke or weed, he'd receive a considerable sum of money that he could get used to doing often.

In bottom line, this article has explored whether a person might learn legal and violent behaviour from those who you possess an individual or intimate romance with. Sketching from the novel, the tattoo, we have examined the relationship between Kenji Hideyoshi and Koa Puana, considering impact that Koa has on Kens life through the interpersonal learning theory looking specifically at Sutherlands idea of differential connection and Burgess and Akers idea of differential reinforcement. The theories which were found in this article provided us with the understanding that if is exposed to a person who favours legal activity and who does it on a regular basis, they will adjust to those unlawful ways also. Furthermore, when applying these ideas to the tattoo, we discovered that Koa had a huge impact on Ken in a way that being near Koa on a daily basis got allowed him never to only learn the deviant and criminal techniques Koa was used to but also to think that it was fine to do it.


Bradley, T. , & Walters, R. (2011). Advantages to criminological thought. Auckland: Pearson.

Bandura, A. (1977). Public Learning Theory. NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Burgess, R. L. , & Akers, R. L. (1966). A differential association-reinforcement theory of unlawful behaviour. Friendly Problems, 14(2), 128-147.

Crossman, A. (n. d. ). Social learning theory. Retrieved from About. com: http://sociology. about. com/od/Sociological-Theory/a/Social-Learning-Theory. htm

McKinney, C. (1999). The Tattoo. NY: Soho Press, Inc.

Sutherland, E. , & Cressey, D. R. (1974). Criminology. Philadelphia: J. P. Lippincott.

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