CRIM 2650 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Social Control Theory, Albert Reiss, Travis Hirschi

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15 Nov 2017
Department
Course
Professor
CRIM 2650 – Control Theories
Recap
- Institutional Anomie Theory
oThe economic institution dominates non-economic institutions (family, education,
politics) and spreads anomie
oStrong Social Institutions and lower crime rates
oPolicy Suggestions
Strengthening non-economic institutions and goals
Legacy of Chicago School of Criminology
1. Transmission of criminal values within neighbourhoods – further developed by E.
Sutherland
a. Subcultural and Cultural Deviance Perspective
b. Albert Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin, Anderson (Code of the Street)
2. Breakdown of Social Controls in Neighbourhoods
a. Control Theory Perspective
i. A single dominant culture, no alternative criminal cultures
b. Robert Sampson (Collective Efficacy)
Overview
- Introduction: Main Themes
- Intellectual Influence on Control Theory
- Historical Context of Control Theories
- Early Control Theorists
oAlbert Reiss
oIvan Nye
oWalter Reckless
oGresham Sykes and David Matza
- Travis Hirschi (1935-2017)
oSocial Bond (Control) Theory and A General Theory of Crime (Self-Control
Theory)
- Research in Control Theory Tradition
- Policy Implication of Control Theory
Introduction: Main Themes
- “why do individuals commit crime?”
owrong question
- correct question: “why do most people not commit crime?”
othe majority of individuals living in poverty or in disorganized neighbourhoods do
not commit crime
- what is it about society and human interaction that causes people to not act on their
impulses?
oSocial or Self Controls
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CRIM 2650 – Control Theories
- Individuals would naturally commit crimes if it weren’t for social or self-restraints on
their egotistic tendencies
Intellectual Influences on Control Theory
- Classical Criminology
- Durkheim
- Chicago School
oSocial Disorganization
oSocial Psychology
Charles Cooley and G. Herbert Mead
- Psychology
oSigmund Freud
oJean Piaget
Influence of Classical Criminology
- Human beings are egotistic
- Pleasure and plain principle
- Rationality and free-will of criminals
oIn contrast to other sociological theories crime (e.g. strain, subcultural theory)
-Some Differences from classical theory
o‘Social self’, not only ‘egoistic self
Influence of Durkheim
-Anomie: lack of self-regulation in society and individual desires
ocollapse of Social Solidarity
oweal Social Bonds
- Importance of Integration and Regulation
- Human nature
oEgoistic Self: Natural impulses, infinite desires
oSocial Self: Product of socialization
- Differences between Durkheim and control theory
oNote: the textbook chapter presents a limited overview of Durkheim’s theory
Influence of the Chicago School and Social Psychology
- Social Disorganization
oBreakdown of controls in neighbourhoods
oCollective Efficacy Theory of Sampson: Chicago School + Control Theory
- Social Psychology
oCharles Cooley: “looking glass self”
oG. Herbert Mead: “generalized other”
- Psychology
oSigmund Freud (id, ego, superego)
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CRIM 2650 – Control Theories
oJean Piaget (child psychology) - children internalize the behaviours of their
parents
Historical Context of Control Theories
- 1950s: Conventional/patriarchal family, conventional values, conventional controls
- 1960s: Weakening of conventional institutions, values and controls
oProgressive Social Movements (e.g. feminist, civil rights)
oAlternative cultural movements (e.g. beat)
oControl theory follows a conservative perspective
- 1980s: Neo-Conservative Period
ointegrating individuals into existing institutions rather than reforming or
transforming these institutions
oHirsci: neo-conservative, new-right criminologist
Techniques of Neutralization: Sykes and Matza
- Critique of the subcultural theory - they don’t like strain theory because they ask the
wrong question - correct question is what restrains people from committing crime
oDelinquents do not reject conventional values, they rather develop justifications
for their deviance, i.e. techniques of neutralization
oDelinquents voicing guilt/shame
- There is no oppositional value system
- Techniques of neutralization play a significant role in weakening the effectiveness of
social controls
oEnables individuals to temporarily drift away from the normative rues and values
of society
oDon’t reject the conventional values, but they get around them (the law) and
justify their delinquent actions “not a big deal”, “everyone does it”
oCan differentiate right from wrong
Techniques of Neutralization - used after they got caught (justifications) and sometimes prior
1. Denial of responsibility – “I didn’t mean it, I didn’t have a choice”
2. Denial of injury (victimless) – “I didn’t really hurt anybody” - i.e.: drug use or gambling
3. Denial of the victim (something the victim deserves)– “They had it coming to them, she
was asking for it” - i.e.: a rapist
4. Condemnation of the condemners (shift the condemnation to someone else) – “Everyone
is picking on me” - those who hold the power as the real bad person i.e: bank robber
5. Appeal to higher loyalties – “I didn’t do it for myself”
Travis Hirschi (1935-2017)
- Social Bond Theory
oCauses of Delinquency (1969)
- Self-Control Theory
o(with Gottfredson) A General Theory of Crime (1990)
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