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Social Control Theory

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  • July 2010
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Social Control Theory
There are many things in today’s society that unknowingly control our actions and behaviors. Bonds that exist with our surroundings have a profound effect on how we live our lives. Since the 1900’s conformity has been the focus of every society here on Earth. If people are given an idea about what is right or wrong and the outcomes for each decision are clearly shown; the chance for deviance is greatly lessened. This summary will contain history of the social control theory and how its ideas and beliefs have evolved today.

The earliest known definition of the social control theory was taken from E.A. Ross, a sociologist from the 1900’s. He believed that the things people believed in made them conform to their society and understand what might be good or bad. Since that time the social control theory has been taken a variety of ways by many other sociologists. The way we define this theory today is generally stated as what regulates normal human behavior, how we are influenced by our family and those around us, ties with our school and its importance, and our general acceptance of society. With that said it’s easy to see how broad of a definition it really is. You can find examples of social control everywhere; it’s a guideline or standard set for things we experience everyday. For example a high school student attends an after school party and finds out that he wont be accepted by his fellow classmates unless he decides to consume alcohol, this is an example of a standard teenagers set for each other to define who is liked and who isn’t. As time progresses and things change so does the definition of social control. Things that were once accepted and thought to be right may be outlawed or viewed as unethical in the near future. Things like clothes, legal age to drink or smoke have followed this path of constant change.

Travis Hirschi, a well known sociologist, examines the depth of delinquency and its relation ship to conformity by...