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Social Control Theory Essay

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Social control theory has become one of the more widely accepted explanations in the field of criminology in its attempt to account for rates in crime and deviant behavior. Unlike theories that seek to explain why people engage in deviant behavior, social control theories approach deviancy from a different direction, questioning why people refrain from violating established norms, rules, and moralities. The theory seeks to explain how the normative systems of rules and obligations in a given society serve to maintain a strong sense of social cohesion, order and conformity to widely accepted and established norms. Central to this theory is a perspective which predicts that deviant behavior is much more likely to emerge when…show more content…
The theoretical stability of social control theory rests upon the existence of four variables which are not only thought to have a correlative relationship amongst each other but are viewed as pivotal perquisites in deterring deviant behavior. These variables are attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. Attachment refers to the obligatory connections and expectations that relate the individual to other persons in society. Through the individual's attachments to other people's expectations, norms become internalized by the individual. Commitment refers to the fear of law-breaking behavior and assumes that the organization of society is situated such that the interests of most persons of the given society would be endangered if they decide to engage in criminal and/or deviant acts. Involvement refers to the conventional activities that makes a person too busy to find time and/or the opportunity to engage in deviant behavior. As for Belief, the theory holds that a common, if not, single value system exists in society in which both he law-abiding individual as well as deviant both value. The opinions and impressions that are dependent on constant social reinforcement comprise belief. A person is more likely to conform to social norms when he believes in them. However, there is possibly a wide variability amongst the society as to how much one adheres to the belief that they should obey the norms and rules of society.
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