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The Social Control Theory Essay

1199 words - 5 pages

Social Control Theory suggests that people who do not commit crime are more likely to be influenced by external factors such as relationships, commitments, beliefs and values. This theory shows that the core idea of free will gave offenders the ability to choose how to be responsible for their behaviour. It also gives an explanation as to why offenders commit crimes and that by placing constrictions on the offenders can help reduce deviant behaviour as well as behaviour that occurs by disobeying the rules. The Social Control Theory indicates society has placed restraints on us to deter delinquent behaviour by regulating factors such as people, places and behaviours that are seen as a threat. We as people are expected to conform to society’s norms through 4 elements, attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Attachment shows that the more relationships you have with people then the more likely your conscience will make you feel guilty about partaking in deviant behaviour, this is very closely linked with the internal factor of this theory. Commitment is the fear of consequences when you disobey the rules, this includes incarceration but more importantly getting caught, this can be likened to the direct factor. Involvement or the satisfaction factor states that a person’s life is so full of satisfaction, both with relationships and happiness, that they have no need for deviant behaviour. The final element is belief, although this is not linked with the indirect factor, it still shows that if a person has a goal to reach but no means to reach this goal, this may lead to deviant behaviour as a way of accomplishing that goal.
Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiment (1963) was a covert social influence experiment that provided an insight into the dark sociopsychological side of human nature that was demonstrated during world war two (the Nazi’s involvement during the holocaust). Milgram placed an advert in the local newspaper asking for participants to take part in a memory and learning experiment, 40 male participants aged 20 to 50 replied. Each participant and a confederate in on the experiment drew lots on who would be the “teacher” in the experiment and who would be the “learner” however this was biasedly rigged so that the confederate, Mr Wallace, was the “learner” each time (before entering the experiment Mr Wallace would deceptively say he had a weak heart). The authority figure in this experiment was a paid actor in a white lab coat who was given instruction and “prods” to tell the participants each time they wanted to back out. Before the “learner” was rigged up to an electroshock machine, which would administer the shock, the participants were given a 45 volt shock to show the machine worked. Mr Wallace was placed in a separate room. The participant named as the “teacher” would then read out a word with 3 matching words, each time the “learner” gave an incorrect match he would be shocked by the electroshock. For each incorrect answer...

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