Social Controls Essay

2969 Words May 20th, 2013 12 Pages
Critically evaluate the claim that it is social controls that prevent us all from committing crime.

This essay will thoroughly examine and evaluate the claim that it is social controls that prevent us from committing crimes by looking at different social control theories. Firstly we must determine what a social control theory consists of, according to Hopkins (2009) ‘social control theory is fundamentally derived from a conception of human nature that proposes that there are no natural limits on elementary human needs and desires. People will always want and seek further economic reward and it is thus not necessary to look for special motives for engaging in criminal activity. Human beings are born free to break the law and will only
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This is where Hirschis believes the essence of internalization of norms lies in the attachment of individuals to others and states that it has several advantages over internalization of the norms of society (cited in Cullen and Agnew 2006, p.221-222). Reasoning for this being if a man were to get divorced and commit a crime by using the assumption of internalization the blame would go on his inner self which is his psychological side. Whereas by using the idea of attachment it would show that the loss of his wife made him commit the crime because the attachment was the control and it would be easier to measure and help him. The stronger attachment an individual makes with parents, teachers, friends and society the more likely they are to not commit crime as they will worry about what one of them might think.
The next social aspect of Hirschi’s (1969) bonding theory to be looked at is that of commitment. The idea behind commitment is that a person invests time, energy, himself, in a certain line of activity for example education, building up a business, becoming a footballer. Whenever this person considers deviant behaviour, the person must weigh the costs of this deviant behaviour. The social investments the person has made will be put at risk by committing a crime (cited in Newburn 2009, p.237). This is essentially a rational actor model of cost-benefit argument and those who invest most in conventional social life have a greater stake in conformity and
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