Travis Hirschi

Topics: Sociology, Social control theory, Juvenile delinquency Pages: 3 (885 words) Published: December 8, 2009
Travis Hirschi, an American control theorist had his own views and ideas on why a delinquent commits crimes. Being a classical, choice theorist, he generated two major versions of control theory. The first being his control theory of delinquency, and this theory was presented in ‘Causes of Delinquency’ (1969), which had an interesting origination in the social disorganisation perspective, which I will go into more detail about. The othe major theory was the Self control theory of Delinquency, mainly presented in Gotttfredson and Hirschi’s ‘A general theory of crime’. This theory proposed that ‘people involved in crime also engage in analogous behaviours that provide short term gratification’ (Gottfredson and Hirschi 1990:91). Crime is also seen as a by-product of people with low self control.

Hirschi’s theory of delinquency stemmed from his writings of ‘Causes of Delinquency’, written in 1969, when at the time he stated that ‘delinquent acts result when the individuals bond to society is weak or broken; (1969:16). Hirschi discussed four variables that may or may not affect someone’s likelihood of conforming to, or deviating from. these four elements were brought about to induce people to comply with rules. The use of Commitment, Attachment, belief and involvement were all ideas set forth by Hirschi to reduce the likelihood of becoming deviant. By attachment, Hirschi is referring to the extent to which a person is attached to others. Hirschi states ‘as an individual becomes more attached to others thay are much less likely to become delinquent’ (1969:18). He believes that the primary attachments are with the parents, closely followed by the attachments to peers, teachers, religious leaders and other members of the community. Commitment is the ‘rational component in conformity’ (1969:20). When some one considers committing a crime, he must consider the risk of losing he has made previously. ‘If one were to have developed a positive reputation, earned...
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