Theories Of Social Control

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Critically evaluate the claim that it is social controls that prevent us all from committing crime.
-Evaluate various control theories. Particularly deconstruct the presuppositions about values and the nature of controls evident in these theories. Discuss the circularity of their definitions / concepts.

Introduction: 250
Before finding solutions to a problem, it is essential to begin by asking the right questions. The majority of criminological theories question why people deviate from the norm which is conformity, into individuals who commit crime; control theories however begin to look at society from a complete different angle. Control theorists believe the default position or ‘state of norm’ would be that everyone in society be criminal,
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another criticism referring specifically to the goal orientation section of the inner containments, it does not consider the idea of people achieving legitimate goals by illegitimate means, or ‘innovating’ which may act as a pull rather than a control, with reference to Merton’s strain theory (Agnew and Kaufman, 2010). Again to doubt the reliability of reckless’ containment theory, self-concept has proved to be such a difficult subject to measure, which made the link between self-concept and delinquency was problematic to confirm by follow up research (Walsh, 2001). Regardless of the criticisms containment theory has received, it was an important influence on later theories and a key inspiration to the likes of David Matza and Travis…show more content…
Since the theory’s introduction in 1969 it has been a huge paradigm in the criminological world, in fact he continues to be one of the most cited criminologists each year (Wright, 2002). Alike most control theories, social bond agrees that we are all born with certain selfish characteristics, similar to that of animals, that would lead us into delinquency and that we are all essentially immoral, however Hirschi believes the controls in place to prevent this delinquent behaviour are a range of social bonds. We see frequently in young children that selfishness and animalistic behaviour is more apparent, Hirschi explains in his theory that this could be the social bonds made at a young age are not as strong as those in adults. For Hirschi, the answer to the question ‘why don’t we commit crime?’ is found within the four social bonds. The first of these four social bonds is attachment; the degree to which we care about the feelings of others and the psychological affection we have towards them. The most important of these Hirschi found, were parents and educational institutions, for an individual to form a strong attachment with each of these would increase their level of social control. We can see this is evident with the likes of psychopaths or those with anti-social personality disorders, these people are

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