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    Social Control Theory: An Analysis

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    Use examples from real life, experiences, research:

    - Travis Hirschi developed his social control theory on the basis of bonding towards society. Which of the four elements of this bond—attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief—is more important than the others? Why?

    - What environmental factor do you think has the greatest impact on the differences in behavior among youth sharing the same social group, age, and neighborhood?

    - Why do you think gender has an impact on crime? Is it because males and females are biologically different or because they are raised and socialized differently?

    - Do people have a better understanding of social control theory and differential association theory as microlevel explanations of crime? How?

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    1) Travis Hirschi developed his social control theory on the basis of bonding towards society. Which of the four elements of this bond—attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief—is more important than the others? Why?

    The Social Control or Social Bond Theory is described: "Elements of social bonding include attachment to families, commitment to social norms and institutions (school, employment), involvement in activities, and the belief that these things are important" (Hirschi, p.16, 1969)

    Attachment is described as the "level of values and norms that an individual holds in society", especially in relation to one's parents and after that, one's school. Commitment is defined as the level of devotion that a person has in abiding by society's legal rules. In our childhood, we are able to distinguish between right and wrong - this greatly influences how we turn out in the future. Involvement relates to one's choice in being a part of "conventional or deviant behaviour". If one is not able to distinguish between right and wrong, they would act upon what makes more sense to them. Lastly, belief relates to all four of these "bonds".

    In an article on criminology wiki, it states, "A number of adolescents that are involved in criminal activity report high levels of "involvement", which according to Hirschi (1969) are supposed to reduce delinquency. When young adults are involved with criminal behaviors outside of the home it is possible that parental control weakens or that young adults just have more opportunity to commit crime. Following this are deviant peers and parents. Hirschi (1969) concludes that any type of social attachment is beneficial, event to deviant peers and parents." This indicates that attachment is a very important bond since its absence can results in more crime (e.g. children and parents). To support this argument, a recent study conducted by Stephanie Hartwell, from the University of Massachusetts, looks into substance abuse among the homeless and concludes "attachments to the families are primary and shape the commitment to activities, social life, and social ...

    Solution Summary

    This solution answers various questions involving an analysis of social control theory.

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