Matza on  'techniques of neutralisation'

I am afraid that this is all that remains from some more extensive notes on Matza's book Techniques of Neutralisation. I hope you find this very brief summary useful nonetheless. 

Matza was able to interview some juvenile delinquents soon after they were caught by the police. He found that far from being hardened, unrepentant, alienated enemies of society, they were actually very often all too normal. They felt shame and guilt, they respected normal people such as their parents, and they felt very ambivalent about delinquency. They developed an elaborate set of justifications to explain what they had done --  'techniques of neutralisation': 

  1. (a) the denial of responsibility -- they had no choice but to commit the act (to assault somebody who had insulted them, for example)
  2. (b) the denial of injury -- there had been no victim, no one had really suffered  (as when large stores are shoplifted, large multinational companies defrauded, or rich people with insurance robbed) 
  3. (c) the denial of victim -- the victim brought it on themselves or deserved it in some way  (I was once beaten up outside a dance hall because some youths thought I deserved it because I had danced with the wrong girls)
  4. (d) an appeal to higher loyalties -- I normally stick to speed limits, but I didn't want to keep my students waiting, or I stole goods from a stall because I didn't want to disappoint my brother on his birthday, or I just had to help my mates in a street fight, as any proper mate would. 
These are not just cynical devices to avoid punishment but are genuine feelings. Nor is their use confined to delinquents -- we normal people use these techniques all the time, to explain why we are late, why we have plagiarised in an essay, why we want to break up our girlfriends, and so on.