Social Control Theory

Topics: Sociology, Social control theory, Anomie Pages: 5 (1976 words) Published: July 7, 2010
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 social control. Attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief were the four things that, if used positively, would enhance a person’s life and lead them away from deviance. These four bonds provide a very brief outline on how to avoid negative situations. The more involved a person is in sports, church, or school the less likely they are to rob a bank, or steal from a grocery store.

The intensity of a bond between the child and the parent determines the likeliness of the child to act negatively or be delinquent. The reason for the child acting this way is due to the fact that the relationship between him/her and the parent is valued and important, something that the child wouldn’t want tainted. The same goes for school, if a child appreciates what schools do for them they tend to like and accept school as something positive. Say a child just doesn’t understand school and fails to see what it provides; this child is more likely to make negative choices and stray from accepted behavior. The genuine bond a child has with his/her parent determines how close the beliefs of the child follow to the parent. Children rose in broken homes or orphanages don’t ever get a chance to be raised properly, and this will have an obvious effect of When people commit to things such as jobs, or hobbies they tend to consume themselves in whatever it is that particular activity has to offer. Unknowingly this has prevented them from feeling the need to commit crimes or break laws. The more a person commits to different things the greater the chance he/she has of a positive and more rewarding result. Putting in hours behind a desk or out in the field with a full time job leaves little time to spend on deviant acts. The involvement bond also coincides with commitment. Society provides different activities in which its people can participate in, staying involved in things inner murals, chess club, or car shows gives them another way to express themselves in a positive way. These bonds are...
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