Social Bond Theory in the Wire

Powerful Essays
Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory Describes D’Angelo Barksdale in The Wire Travis Hirschi’s dissertation, which eventually became a well-respected and commonly used book in criminology, had within it one of the most influential theories of crime that was tested with data and supported with results. The dissertation became known as Causes of Delinquency and was published in 1969 (Kozey, 2012). The general theory states that delinquency takes place when a person’s bonds to society are weakened or broken, thus reducing personal stakes in conformity. D’Angelo Barksdale’s character from HBO’s series The Wire is a model of how this theory works, and throughout the first season of The Wire, he proves that his character fits into this theory. Hirschi’s Social Bond Theory focuses on when in the absence of control; a person is most likely to commit crimes. These controls are bonds to society; therefore, when those bonds to society are broken or weakened, a person tends to commit crime. Shoemaker states, “Variance in delinquency is to be explained by weakened social bonds” (Shoemaker 1996:244). People conform to societal bonds because people are afraid of disrupting these bonds; people do not want to harm their friends, family, or job. Those who do not commit crime aren’t doing so because they have developed certain things to be attached to, not because they have learned from their parents or friends not to and not because they have do not have strains in society. Hirschi defined his “social bonds” with four main elements that are interlinked with each other. His four social bonds are attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. Attachment was Hirschi’s most important social bond; Hirschi says “[the theory] assumes that the bond of affection for conventional persons is a major deterrent from crime” (Hirschi 1969:83). Attachment refers to one’s bond to others such as family or friends or institutions such as school or church. When a person has a weak attachment to a


Cited: Hagan, Frank E. 2008. Introduction to Criminology: Theories, Methods, and Criminal Behavior. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Cause of Delinquency. Berkley: University of California Press. Kozey, Kathryn. 2012. “Social Control, Self-Control.” Presented at Towson University, March 5, Towson, MD. Sheehan, Helena and Sweeney, Sheamus (2009) The Wire and the World: Narrative and Metanarrative. Jump Cut, 51 Shoemaker, Donald J. 1996. Theories of Delinquency: An Examination of Explanations of Delinquent Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    social bond theory

    • 728 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Social Bond Theory Social bond theory was created by Travis Hirschi and it is a form of social control theory. Social control theorists are more interested in explaining why someone is not being deviant rather than why they are. In this theory it is expected that deviance will occur at some point. Hirschi's social bond theory explains that deviane is expected to occur because crime is easy to do; you do not need any special skills to commit crimes. Everyone has the same amount of motivation to…

    • 728 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Social Bond Theory

    • 2297 Words
    • 10 Pages

    Social Bond Theory Kevin Pascual Sociology 100 10/25/12 Social Bond Theory In 1969, a man named Travis Hirschi wrote and proposed something called the Social Control Theory. This theory can be applied in numerous kinds of ways when trying to address and solved social problems dealing with adolescents delinquent behavior. Before we can try to apply the Social Bond Theory, we must first understand the components and definition of the theory…

    • 2297 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Bond Theory

    • 666 Words
    • 3 Pages

    introduced social bond theory during the late 1900’s as a means to explain one’s resistance to crime (Lilly, Cullen & Bell, 2015). Hirschi (1969) claimed that the potential benefits of committing crime equally motivated most individuals, therefore, the primary concern was how individuals resist such temptations (Lilly et al., 2015) The answer, involves the social control exerted upon an individual through social bonds that keep them from committing crime (Lilly et al., 2015). When social ties are weak…

    • 666 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Bond Theory

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages

    major versions of social control theory throughout the course of his career. These theories explain why some individuals commit crimes while others do not. In this paper I will compare and contrast both of his theories, as well as tell you why one particular theory is most adequate in explaining why people do not commit crime. Hirschi proposed his Social Bond Theory back in in 1969. This theory states that individuals will commit criminal or delinquent acts when their ties (bonds) to society are…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Social Bond Theory

    • 492 Words
    • 2 Pages

    other contributing factors to desistance such as Social Control Theory, also known as Social Bond theory. According to the Social Bond Theory, the bond between individual and the people around them are important in the support of preventing and controlling the individual from reoffending (Hirschi, 1969). There are 4 factors in the social bond theory which are; attachment, commitment, belief and involvement (Vold et al., 2002). Attachment is the bond between the individual and the people around such…

    • 492 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Travis Hirschi's Social Control Bond Theory, later known as the Social Control Theory, was created in the the late 1960"s. Like many criminologist and theorist before him, he was trying to figure out why people confirmed to follow the law. Hirschi believed that people only became criminals when their bond to society was weakened. In particular, Hirschi suggest that youths that are strongly attached to parents will hold beliefs consistent with the norms and values of society and unlikely to engage…

    • 199 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Social Bond Theory Essay

    • 458 Words
    • 2 Pages

    According to the article, Juvenile Delinquency in the High Schools of Ankara, Turkey, the social bond theory was tested on juvenile delinquency in Turkey, a developing country. They surveyed 1,730 students regarding how many times they have used force on teachers; hitting other students; fist fighting; attacking someone; carrying knife, bat, etc.; using force on students; sexual harassment; etc (Ozbay, 2006). The result was that the attachment to teachers, conventionality of peers, family supervision…

    • 458 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Family Social Bond Theory

    • 597 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In Danny’s case, his social bond, mainly his attachment with his family and friends were weak and which allowed him to become friends with the wrong person, which lead him to commit crime. Age-graded theory, being an extension of the social control theory, denies that people are necessarily locked into developmentally distinct pathways, such as pro- or antisocial because it emphasizes environmental…

    • 597 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Social bond theory developed by Travis Hirschi in 1969 that claims social bonds or ties to family, school, friends, or work tend to minimize crime. The idea behind the theory is that people who are bonded to others they respond to the other people who are then able to control the person behavior. Young agrees that if the theory was limited to an explanation of low crime rates within bonded social groups it would be an accurate theory but to say that these types of social bonds would prevent crime…

    • 298 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Criminological Theory and The Wire Rachel Bohnenberger Professor Kozey JLC 205-001 13 April 2015 Crime has existed for as long as human beings have been able to differentiate between actions that are good and actions that are bad. Whether or not an action that is considered bad is a crime is determined by laws set forth by local, state, or federal governments and the severity of the crime is determined by those whose job it is to interpret the laws, such as a police officer or a judge.…

    • 2478 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays