Social Process Theory: Social Control Theory

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Social process theory has several subdivisions including: social control theory, social learning theory and social reaction (labeling) theory (will only focus on social control theory). Social control theory insinuates every person has the possibility of becoming a criminal, but most people are influenced by their bonds to society. It contends that individuals obey the law and are less likely to commit crime if they have: learned self-control, attachment (to family, friends, peers, education, etc.), commitment (to school, learning, etc.), involvement (in leisure activities, sports, etc.), and belief (those that are positive). According to social control theory, an individual is more likely to be criminal/deviant if they are detached and alienated…show more content…
For example, Aaron Hernandez was born in Bristol, Connecticut and seemed to have all the criteria to not be a criminal (attachment to family/peers, commitment to school and football, religious/positive beliefs, and involved in activities). When his father passed, he got involved in gang activity. Though this didn’t result in criminal activity right away, it soon would over time. Hernandez went to the Florida for college (no problems), then back to Massachusetts to play for the Patriots. It was here that his attachment to his deviant, gang peers (taking the place of his late father) caused him to go back into gangs and commit murder. Why did Mr. Hernandez turn to crime, even though he shouldn’t be a criminal, according to social control theory? Though this theory formulates some valid arguments, it does not tell the whole story when it comes to crime.…show more content…
Founded by Karl Marx, conflict theory conjectures that social order is sustained through wealth and power and constant class conflict (subduing the poor by keeping them away from the limited resources). The resulting conflict and inequalities between the classes result in crime, according to Marx. Social conflict theorists use the criminal justice system to support their argument. The elite class passes laws to benefit themselves (and they are also judged differently, more leniently). OJ Simpson was able to get off for the murder of Nicole Brown (the court said “he didn’t do it,” but he was able to get off because of his wealth and famous lawyers). These benefits are not accessible to the proletariat class. Just like social control theory, conflict theory may explain some aspects of crime, but not the entire
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