Social Control Theory

750 Words3 Pages
Today the dominate version of the control theories is the social control theory. This theory was created by Travis Hirschi, who took a different approach in his theory. He didn’t ask why a person commits crime; instead, he asked why a person doesn’t commit crime. The social control theory states that all people have the potential to be law breakers, but most people choose to stray from breaking the law because of the potential damage it could do to the personal bonds in their lives. If they break the law, they fear that the bonds they have with their family, friends, church, and employer will be broken. That fear alone is enough to keep them on the path of conformity. Therefore, as long people have a stake in their community and family environment, they are less likely to break a law. In the social control theory Hischi names four bonds that promote conformity and socialization. The four bonds are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Attachment refers to a person’s relationships to individuals such as their parent, friends, school, work and social organizations. If a person is an able to build a commitment to these attachments they are likely to develop respect for any authorities and that could lead to limited, if any, illegal acts. Hirschi believed that they strongest attachment a person could have were the one with their parent. Commitment refers to the fact that a person who commits to themselves by investing time in their job, their education, and their financial future will be less likely to commit illegal acts. This is because they fear the consequences of their actions and don’t want to lose what they have invested. If a person chooses not to commit to anything, then they will have nothing to lose. Due to the lack of loss, a person is willing to commit illegal acts. Involvement refers to a person being involved in activities such as clubs,
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