Hirschi's Control Theory In Relation To Car Theft.

1031 words - 4 pages

Travis Hirschi formulated a control theory that he called Social Bonding Theory but he approached this theory in a different way. He did not attempt to explain why individuals engage in criminal acts, but rather why individuals choose to conform to conventional norms. It is, in a strict sense, not a theory of crime causation, but rather a theory of prosocial behaviour used often by sociologists and criminologists to better explain deviance and criminality. The theory proposes that delinquent acts result when a person's bond to society is weakened or broken.According to Hirschi, strong social bonds with conventional people and institutions prevent delinquent behaviour. Delinquents never develop such bonds and are unable to develop strong attachments or relationships with their peers. Although Hirschi recognised that delinquent adolescents often develop friendships with each other, he stated that these relationships are superficial and of poor quality. The adolescents choose each other because of their similarity in attitudes and behaviour, but that does not imply that these relationships are solid, meaningful or influential. Central to Hirschi's approach is the idea of bonding, which promotes socialisation and conformity. (VBS Chp.10, 2002)The first bond is attachment which partakes three forms; parents, schools, and peers. Poor parent-child relationship is due to a lack of meaningful conversations and of quality time spent together. Hirschi believes that academic incompetence also plays a vital role as it leads to poor school performance, which leads to a dislike of school, leading to rejection of teachers and authority, which ultimately results in delinquent behaviour. Hirschi also found that one's attachment to parents and school overshadows the bond formed with one's peers. He believes that peer bonds are artificial, and they form relationships based solely on similarities in attitudes and behaviour.The second bond is that of commitment and it involves time, energy, and effort placed on conventional lines of action. The amount of time one spends partaking in social activities tie an individual to the moral and ethical code of society. Hirschi's control theory holds that people who build an investment in life, property, and reputation are less likely to engage in criminal acts because it will jeopardise their social position. A lack of commitment to such conventional values will cause an individual to participate in delinquent or criminal acts.The third bond is involvement. This addresses a preoccupation in activities which stress the conventional interests of society. Hirschi argues that an individual's heavy involvement in conventional activities does not leave time to engage in delinquent or criminal acts.The final bond is that of belief and it deals with consent to society's value system. This involves respect for laws, and the people and institutions which enforce such laws. Hirschi argued that people who live in common social settings...

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