“In 1969 Travis Hirschi had come up with the theory of social control and social bond theory” . His theories were implemented into criminology studies over the years. Some theorists have argued his theories, and debated on the positivity and worthiness of them. Even though other theorists have tried to discard the theories Hirschi had brought forth into criminology; he is still a leading individual theorist for over 40 years.
Hirschi had grew up in Utah and obtained his undergraduate degree in Sociology. He then decided to take his education to San Francisco California to obtain his graduate degree. The change in society from a small quiet town to a loud and deviant place had taken his views of society to a different level. He began looking at society and criminals as life experience of behaviors that were process from within since birth. This is how Hirshi’s social bond control theory has been born. The 1960’s and 1970’s led to many different outcomes that had not been thought of a decade before. People were acting out, and trying things that would normally been frowned upon in society. The independence that was being gained by the teens and adults were of a more control and dynamic action of society.
He began examining these actions of society as a whole, and decided that criminals did not commit crimes because they are delinquents with no choices. They commit crimes because it is instilled in all of us once we are born. It is human nature that we have within us, and that those actions can be controlled and not act upon. The example that would help understand this theory is when a child first learns to play with other kids in a social setting they do not intentionally think about fighting with them. Once the other kid takes a toy away then the other child instinctively takes the toy back and pushed the kid for taking his possession. This behavior as a young child is not committed because he learned it but because he was born with that behavior in nature.
These types of behaviors that we begin even as young children come from bonds that are formed by pro values, pro social, and pro institutional. Those bonds that we experience since birth have an effect and control of what criminal acts and violent behaviors people commit. These bonds that effect our behavior since we were born have four forms of interrelated behavior.
The first form of social bond would be Attachment. The attachment form deals with the social relationships and psychological affection that we have in our institutions. “The children who have strong and dominant attachment socially in schools and families have more social control” . A child who has a strong social control and bond with others will not want to let their friends or loved one down and disappoint them. Those who do not have strong social bonds with their families or friends are less likely to think about their actions affecting others.
The second form of social bond would be commitment. If a child has a strong social connection and commitment of friends and family he would likely understand the consequences of criminal behavior, and not want to upset those socially bonded to him. If a child is committed to a friend he will not want to commit actions that would upset his friend and ruin that commitment between them. People who have strong commitments are not as likely to take a risk of losing that commitment and making themselves look bad in the eyes of those they hold deep social connection. The same hold true for adults. If an adult is married he won’t commit an act that would lead to losing his wife, or making her not want to be committed to him. The consequences would out way the actions.
The third form of social bond would involvement. This related to the more a person is involved in other things they are less likely to have time to think of illegal activities and crimes. If a teenager is heavily involved in school activities and church groups then he is not going to have time to get into trouble, and commit criminal activities. The more time a person has on their hands the easier it is to think of things that would be negative and acts of criminal activity. The more a person is busy and involved in positive activities then he is less likely to have time to worry about committing criminal acts.
The fourth form of social bond would be belief. The more beliefs a person has socially the less likely he will act upon nonsocial activities and crime. If a person believes in right from wrong, and understands the consequences of wrong then he will less likely act upon the wrong behaviors. When a teenagers believes that if he sneaks out of the house with his friends he will be grounded and disappoint his parents then he will less likely not commit that type of behavior. If a teenagers does not worry about getting caught or disappointing his family then he will, likely commit that type of behavior no matter the consequences involved. This is also true for adults. If an adult has high beliefs in the consequences of getting fired from his job then he will not likely miss work and take the chance of those actions happening to him.
The social bonds a teenager has with friends who do not think doing drugs is a good idea, and are against it would less likely do drugs. If a teenagers is socially bonded with kids who do drugs and do not care of the consequences will likely keep doing drugs. The social bonds formed effect the action and outcomes of individuals’ behaviors in society. The social bonds we have instilled in us can control our behaviors and reactions even when the social bond is not present.
Another way to look at social bond is this, we are driving down a deserted road and come up on a stop light. The stop light is red but there is no police or anyone else around. Many of us would still stop at the red light and wait for it to turn green before proceeding down the road. We do this not because we are afraid of getting caught if we don’t stop, but that the behavior is instilled in us from social bonds we had established.
“Our social bonds are emphasized by our informal social control” . We have certain actions that are expected in certain situations. When a person steps into a library they automatically do not run and scream through the room, but instead, find a table and sit quietly while reading a book. The informal control reflects our social bonds and these actions are instilled in us. If you are used to walking into a library and being very quiet; then it would hard to try to yell or run through the room because your informal control would try to control those actions.
The bonds we have are considered to be values set within us, and morals that we follow. We are less likely to commit unmorally acts of violence if we believes those acts to be wrong, and unacceptable. If you are last minute holiday shopping and there is only one item left on the shelf you need to buy, and someone else takes that item before you can grab it. You are not going to beat that persons brains out in the store and take the item and put it in your cart. You don’t resist beating the person’s brains out because you are afraid of going to jail for assault, but instead you reframe from committing this act of violence because of the morals and values instilled in you.
The reason a criminal would commit acts of violence, or crime is because there bonds are not present. The bonds of a criminal are broken, or not bonded, and there the consequences of crime is not seen the way a socially bonded person interprets crime. The consequences are not a prominent in a criminals actions, and therefore are more likely to commit crimes without worrying about who it will effect.
Juveniles who commit crimes or become delinquent in society do not see the whole picture. The juvenile’s social bonds were not concerning to the outcomes of crime, and therefore are easily able to break rules and laws. The four social bonds from birth to now may have not occurred or had a decrease in these bonds. The consequences have no reelection of the outcome, and committing crimes seem morally fine.
The difference between Hirschi’s social control bond theory and other theories of criminal behavior is that he looks at social bonding formation. Other theorists have related crime to learned behavior, and psychological problems. The theories Herschi expresses is the why not and the other theories express the why. Instead of expressing the reason for committing crime, he expresses the reasons why some of us choose not to commit crime. There is a difference in those to aspects. He took one theory and turned it around to find out the other side of why people do not and why people do commit criminal acts. Herschi’s theory is based on social bonding from birth that impacts how we control our actions or reactions to different situations.
Other theorists focus criminal behavior and criminology studies on the big pictures that makes criminals tick. They do not look at the reasons why people do not commit crimes and react to certain scenarios as a criminal would. The social bonding theory has outcomes of different stages that effect how people act socially. Those social bonds also affect how people react who are less socially. Then you have the reasons criminals do what they do because of the lack of social bonding forms. Each theorists have different reasons and theories of why people react and choose to react differently. Each one is unique in their own findings and research. The way Hirschi’s theory displays the reason why people commit crime makes his theory different.
“Another area that makes Hirschi theory different from other theorists is the relations between age and crime” . The theory relates that once a criminal commits crime that he will continue to do and end up losing his marriage and job due to the continuation of crime. The age and culture of criminals change in pattern as they get older. Criminals have low self-control they cannot maintain relationships like marriage or family. Criminals are not able to hold employment because there ethic to work is low, and the competency is not proficient in the working class environment. Criminals would prefer to keep committing crimes than to change what has been distilled in them by self-control
There are five reasons or advantages to Hirshi’s theories based on criminology. The first advantage is the comparative test. The comparative test relates to criminology, and research of data that helps assist in finding answers to criminology questions. It also helps with the increase in getting articles, stories, and journal published more effectively for future improvements in the criminology field.
The second advantage to Hischi’s theories relating to criminology is operational measuring, and research of socially bonded forms that assist in the studies of criminals. The social bonds have continued to be studied for the past four decades. Hirschi had come up with cultural studies that differentiate between situations that would increase the criminal mindset.
The measuring of strain theory has been used still to this day, but has also gotten controversial remarks from theorists who don’t agree with it. The reason the theorists had controversial issues with the strain measuring is because of the way it was measured. Hirschi’s implementation of aspiration and expectation gap was not reliable to other theorists. They did not think this was useful or resourceful way for measuring strain and cultural delinquencies. Even if the other theorists do not agree with the measurement of strain gap; other resources in strain measurement may not have existed without it.
The third advantage of Hirschi theories is the social bond and social control theory. These theories have been tested and confirmed to be true by many different scholars who wanted to find flaw in his findings. The theories are used regularly still today, and those who wanted to find negativity in the theories were not able to do so. Over one hundred tests were formed in testing these theories and because of this theory criminology has improved greatly ever since.
The fourth advantage of Hirschi theories is control against learning theories. Many theoretical camps in criminology has been used to prove his theory that social control has an impact on criminal behavior. The learning versus control theories have been used in teaching students, and created numerous debates in both theories. Many scholars, students, teachers, and theorists have had many debates over which theory is the most accurate. Even though the debates are in abundance it still means that Hirschi theories are well known and still alive in today’s society.
The fifth advantage of Hirschi’s theories is the foundation for social bond and control within criminology studies. Several scholars and theorists have based their studies and findings on Hirschi’s theory. Criminal behavior has been studied and proven that age changing behaviors have been based on socials bonds in life. The theories of social control and social bonding correlate in how our behaviors stabilize and stay maintained through adulthood.
The theories of self-control has more of an impact on deterring criminal behavior than those who lack self-control. People who lack self-control are more apt to take risk, act impulsively, and require the kind of recognition that criminal behavior offers. They will not have strong social bonds, and lack self-esteem in most cases. These types of individuals are criminals because of control or concern for consequences of their actions.
What made Hirschi’s theories so different than other theories is the way it made since to criminal studies. The social control and social bond theory presented a new way to look at how criminals’ are born into society, and why other people stay away from criminal activity. The theories hold high regards in criminological studies and research, and have proven to be accurate in many criminal cases. The way he explains his theories and puts thought into the ideas of how they work has driven the way researchers go about relating data to criminal behavior.
The social bond and control theory makes a lot of since within the criminology spectrum. The theories not only answer questions that many other theories had not but the aspect of the way the theory is explained holds true to criminal actions. The way social norm of a person depends on how they relate to society, and interact in the social world.
If you put Hirshi’s theories to the test of criminals it does make since. A lot of the research and studies that have been done in regards to criminals has proven that many are socially withdrawn. Some criminals have had non parental attention and nurturing from birth to adulthood. A lot of psychopaths had started showing signs at young ages as children. It has been proven that kids who acted out towards others were socially withdrawn, had lack of stability and control, and were careless of their actions and behaviors. The consequences of behaviors that most kids would acknowledge was not the same for kids who were more prone to criminal activities in the future.
The theories make more since that beliefs, commitment, involvement, and attachment were key players in social control and bonding of relationships. Many juveniles who come from homes that they had little attachment, were less involved, had no beliefs, and little commitment were more involved in criminal activity. The reason for this is that even though the activities were criminal related; the group of people they associated accepted them and gave them stability that they had not had at home. Therefore, the consequences of their behavior seemed less troublesome than those who were taught behavioral consequences and values.
The theories have proven true in many adult and juvenile criminal studies. The reasons that some people commit crimes, and other do not relates to these social bonding forms, and are proven true in many cases. Also many criminals do not hold jobs or family ties because they are impulsive, and are not social prone to keep those types of relationships, and work ethic.
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