Social Control Theory Of Criminology

1751 Words8 Pages
Criminologists have long debated the main cause of crime. One cause is through socialization with organizations, institutions, and processes in society. Criminologist named this the social process theory (Siegel 196). Two main branches of this theory are the social control theory and the social labeling theory. Throughout this paper, the social control and social labeling theory will be shown how they contribute to criminology through the crimes they describe, their strengths and weaknesses, and ways to deter crime.
The social control theory was discovered by Travis Hirschi in his 1969 book Causes of Delinquency. The social control theory states “that everyone has the potential to become a criminal, but most people are controlled by their bonds to society” (Siegel 196). This theory explores why people obey the rules of society and explains the onset of youthful misbehavior. Social control theorists have come to the conclusion that self-control and having a commitment to conformity are what allow people to obey the law. Without strong bonds to society, people are more likely to commit crimes. Hirschi said that four elements in society control people: attachment, commitment, belief, and involvement. To test his theory, Hirschi administered a self-report survey to 4,000 junior and senior high school students in Contra Costa County. With regards to attachment, Hirschi found compelling evidence that attachment is an important element regardless of gender or family structure.
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