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Lecture 9

Sociology 2259 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Travis Hirschi, Social Disorganization Theory, Turnitin

Course Code
SOC 2259
Neisha Cushing

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Social Control Theories of Deviance
Wednesday, January 9, 2019
2:09 PM
The question: Why do people commit crime? Is transformed with Social Control Theories to…
“Why don’t more people do it?”
Control Theories assume that everyone is capable of deviance, and they put greater stress on the
way socialization and supervision hold people to conventional paths
Deviance is alluring and exciting… and an easy route to goal attainment.
Many kinds of deviance are exciting, alluring, easier way of attaining goals
We are all born deviants.
When social control works, it creates CONFORMITY; when it fails, it does not necessarily create
deviance, it just provides the individual with opportunities to choose a deviant path.
Combatable with psychological and biological explanations of deviance
Focus: Socialization and Supervision
Back in the realm of Positivism
o Using natural science methods
o Objective observations
Travis Hirschi: Social Bond Theory
Why aren’t you a criminal?
o Answer: A stake in conformity
Reputation to uphold
Consequences for non-conforming behaviour
Sanctions to non-conforming behaviour
If you care what people think you will conform
Deviance occurs when social bonds become weak or broken.
Fundamental bias in this theory towards the “ideal” family.
o Main socializing agent is the family
o The mother would be blamed
o Any family that doesn’t meet this expectations isn't the ideal family and aren't considered
o You could have the structure but if you have different values that can also exclude you from
the "ideal family"
Rooted in social disorganization theory, classical perspective and neutralization theory
Assumption is that everyone would deviate without social structure
4 Main Types of Bonds
o Attachment
Combination of caring and supervision
Our attachment to our significant and "reference others" (people we use as standards
for our own behaviour)
Also focused on school
Referencing academic success, the better you do in school the more you will be
attachment to your peers
Is measured through the nature of the bond that that child has with their parents
Extreme lack of attachment is indicative of a psychopathic personality, someone who
neither cares how others feel nor welcomes their attention (supervision)
It also makes you more vulnerable to participate in criminal behaviour
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Conformity and attachment to the family excludes this behaviour and you're
more likely to be conforming
Any strong attachment, whether to family or peer group, would tend to lead to
We can experience of attachment as confining which normal
"We are moral beings to the extent that we are social beings"
o Commitment
"a stake in conformity"
The idea behind commitment is that the more people have to lose by violating norms,
the less likely they are to risk it
Referring to the commitment to career aspirations
The more commitment you have to higher career aspirations the more conforming
you are to society
The assumption that doctors are better than say someone in trades is classists
It does not matter what occupation you have, it does not affect if you're a law abiding
citizen or not
o Involvement
When voluntary, is frequently a consequence of commitment
People deeply committed to conventional lines of action are likely to devote much of
their time and energy to conventional activities
o Belief
Having a belief in the dominant value system of society
Also focuses mainly on values such a respect for the police and concern for teachers
People who are bonded in this way believe in respecting police, obeying laws, and
staying out of trouble
Does not give any value or recognition to the beliefs of subcultures
It does not consider those who have a strong bonds but also engage in deviant
Walter Reckless: Containment Theory
Early version of social control perspective.
Focus: On INNER and OUTER factors that “contain” the average person but are weak or absent in
They can be both DIRECT and INDIRECT.
If you are a young person who is deviant that those inner or outer controls are weak or absent
Inner controls are also referred to as self-controls
o Are the individual experiences, in varying degrees, feelings of inferiority, hostility, anger,
rebellion, and even organically based urges toward deviant gratification
o If these inner pressures toward deviance are uncontrolled, deviance will occur
o Are being able to control your feelings acceptably
o Direct inner control is our ability to feel shame, guilt, conscious, sense of responsibility, and
able to handle your frustration tolerance
o Indirect inner control is more about having a rational interest in how people think about us
and see us; its based on the individuals rational interest in maintaining a "stake in
o The healthy self if conforming and conventional, goal-directed in a realistic and flexible way,
and able to tolerate frustration and defer gratification
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