Social control theory and social learning theory are two theories that suggest why deviant behavior is chosen to be acted upon by some individuals and not others. Both take a different stance on the issue. Social control theory suggests people’s behavior is based on their bonds to society, if they have strong bonds to society they conform and if not they have a tendency to act out or become involved in criminal or deviant behavior. Social learning theory suggest that through vicarious learning people learn from observing others and based on what the observe make the choice of whether to copy those actions to obtain desired results or chose not to if
It is unfortunate that crime exists in our daily lives. There really is no way to stopping crime completely, no matter how many laws or punishment are present, people will continue to keep breaking rules. There are many theories of why that may be the case, for example, Caesar Lombroso and his “atavistic” theory with the Positivist School theory and how people were “born criminals”, or the Rational Choice Theory, devised by Cornish and Clarke, described that people could think rationally and how people will naturally avoid pain and seek pleasure referred to as “hedonism” (Cartwright, 2017, lecture 4). Since it is apparent that crime will continue to exist, it is not only important to understand the study of crime and the feedbacks to it,
Social Control Theory presents the idea that all humans maintain an inclination to act in a violent manner and the sole thing that prevents an individual from conceding to that inclination is the social connection they have with others; when this connection is hindered by abuse or neglect, the child is driven toward his or her impulse of violence and crime (Currie and Tekin 4). The last theory, Social-Psychological Strain Theory, suggests that the stress that is caused by abuse also has a role in driving an individual towards criminal activity (Currie and Tekin 4).
Plenty of children engage in rough-and-tough play and may be a little mischievous from time to time. As they grow into adolescence, they may start committing crimes and get in trouble with the law, but most of these individuals outgrow their behavior and stop offending. What makes individuals persist or desist from crime? What are the key causal factors and mechanisms that help this behavior desist? An in-depth synthesis of John Laub and Robert Sampson’s theory of age-graded informal social control will provide insight as to why individuals desist from offending.
Gottfredson and Hirschi started with the concept that low self-control was the underlying establishment of criminal behavior and that low self-control was the result of parents failing to supervise their children, failing to recognize their deviant behavior, and failing to punish and correct the behaviors when they occur (Cullen, Francis, Robert Agnew, and Pamela Wilcox, 2014).
Social control theory and life course theory focus on people’s lives and how they interact with one another.
Developmental theories state that an individual's propensity to crime is an ebb and flow over the course of their lives (Bohm & Vogel, 2011). These theories, often referred to as “life theories” are based on a person’s individual development (Bohm & Vogel, 2011). Developmental theories also argue that there are other factors which influence an individual’s likelihood to commit crimes (Bohm & Vogel, 2011). These theories also assert that although there may be a significant or influential factor in an individual’s life at one point in time, that same factor may not have any significance or importance at a different stage of their life (Bohm & Vogel, 2011).
Some causes for conduct in adolescents are no discipline, unstructured discipline and a broken home. A broken home is one of the factors that can produce a delinquent child. A broken home reduces the opportunity for creating a strong attachment between child and parents and that reduces the parent’s ability to condition the child. Many theories concerning the causes of juvenile crime focus either on the individual or on society as the major contributing influence. Theories centering on the individual suggest that children engage in criminal behavior because they were not sufficiently penalized for previous delinquent acts or that they have learned criminal behavior through interaction with others.
Gottfredson and Hirschi’s (1990) control theory regards parental controls as key in developing self-control, which is related to crime. People who show low self-control tend to live in the here and now, whereas those who have better self-control like to defer gratification. For example, criminal acts provide excitement, have few long-term benefits, and require little preparation. Moreover, they cause pain to their victims, which is correlated to being self-centered and insensitive – both qualities of people with low self-control.
Furthermore, criminal behaviour is learned, and when this behaviour is been taught, it entails techniques of committing the crime which at times can be complicated and other times quite simple; ' the specific direction of the motives, drives, rationalisation and attitudes.' (Newburn, 2013, pp. 394). Although this theory is rarely used when theorising white collar crime, it is nonetheless an important factor in many offending. For example, a study carried out by Geis of an electrical equipment company found that a lot of manufacture encouraged price fixing by their employee as a way of coping with market pressure. Geis pointed out that these activities was an established way of life where those that are involved learns attitudes and rationalisation that favour and support such misconduct. (Newburn, 2013). A second theory was given by Hirschi and Gottfredson, which is called the Self Control Theory. This theory focus on human nature and the significance of gratification. The central idea of this theory is that individuals peruse self interest and self gratification and the avoidance of pain. In regards to this theory crime is seen as a way in which individuals maximise pleasure and minimise pain. Furthermore, they argued that the differences that there are between those that chooses not to be involved in criminal activities and those that choose to
There are four top social risk factors believed for the involvement of crime. Parental behavior plays a large role in a child’s risk of involvement of crime because of the parent’s influence on a child’s development (“Social Risk Factors for Involvement of Crime”). Poor parenting in supervision, maltreatment of a child, or if the parent is a
Rational choice theory and social control theory both show why an individual may commit a criminal act, but they both also draw criticism of their approach. Rational choice theory critics point out that “The first problem with the theory has to do with explaining collective action. That is, if individuals simply base their actions on calculations of personal profit, why would they ever choose to do something that will benefit others more than themselves?” (Crossman, 2015). The theory focuses only on the individual’s mindset and doesn’t take into account any of their social structure. The society an individual grows up in may make them more prone to commit crime. Social control theory, in particular the study conducted by Travis Hirschi, also
Control Theory is the theory of support. This theory demonstrates an individual's social bonds in relation to their performance. Since certain bonds are stronger in certain kinds of lifestyles the affects will be different in all situations. Control theorists believe “in the rationality of the criminal act that the individual behaves in a criminal manner for ordinary reasons, and this behavior arises out of the person’s own free will” (Moyer, 2001, 133). However, deviant behavior is prevalent in today’s society. It is a major problem concerning adolescents all across the world. This theory carries serious paternalistic roles.
As the nineties began, the general theory of crime became the most prominent criminological theory ever proposed; furthermore, it is empirically recognized as the primary determinant in deviant and criminal behaviors. Known also as the self-control theory, the general theory of crime can most simply be defined as the absence or lack of self-control that an individual possesses, which in turn may lead them to commit unusual and or unlawful deeds. Authored by educator Michael R. Gottfredson and sociologist Travis Hirschi, A General Theory of Crime (1990) essentially “dumbed down” every theory of crime into two words, self-control. The widely accepted book holds that low self-control is the main reason that a person initiates all crimes, ranging from murder and rape to burglary and embezzlement. Gottfredson and Hirschi also highlighted, in A General Theory of Crime (1990), that low self-control correlates with personal impulsivity. This impulsive attitude leads individuals to become insensitive to deviant behaviors such as smoking, drinking, illicit sex, and gambling (p. 90). The extreme simplicity, yet accuracy, of Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s general theory of crime (self-control theory), make it the most empirically supported theory of criminal conduct, as well as deviant acts.
Another factor that can influence crime is socialization, which is the process of learning how to properly behave. If someone grew up having a distant relationship with their parents, they might be more likely to commit a crime. A parent is a child’s first and best teacher. A good parent should teach their child right