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Midterm 2 notes part 1

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David Brownfield

Midterm 2 notes 25/11/2013 12:56:00 PM Chapter 9: Control Theory by: Travis Hirschi (Socio-psychological) From lecture: Social Control Theory  Human nature is assumed to be guided by instincts (greed, lust, pride)  Deviance occurs whenever society is disorganized, or when there is an absence of social restraints  Motivation to deviate is assumed to be a constant by social control theorist  Instincts or impulses are not the cause of deviant behaviour because all people (including the non-offenders) have these instincts  Social control theorists assume that all people have instincts and the capacity to commit crimes  Hobbes added “reason” to instincts; this gives humans even greater capacity for crime and deviance.  Durkheim believed that rules automatically develop  People accept the rules and take pleasure (or get rewards) for obeying the rules  Durkheim stated that greater strength and power is derived from cooperation  Durkheim argued that societal breakdown is indicated by “anomie” (or the lack of rules)  Ambition must be regulated or controlled; if ambition becomes unlimited, anomie is created  (“People aspire for everything and are satisfied with nothing.”)  Controls or restraints of society regulate individual instincts  Hirschi describes four types of bonds or restraint: Attachment, Commitment, Involvement, and Belief  Attachment is defined as sensitivity to opinion of others (empathy) o Lack of attachment epitomized by the sociopath or psychopath o Terminology like sociopath or psychopath has been replaced by DSM term, “antisocial personality disorder.” Reading Notes: • Focuses on youthful delinquency, age, where most deviant forms of norms occur. • Conforming behaviour is reinforced by individuals’ attachment to norm- abiding members of society, the commitment and investment they have in a legitimate life and identity, their level of involvement in activities and organizations, their subscription to community held beliefs and values characterizing normative society. • People who violate these norms have a flaw in the bonds of society; they can be bought back with reinforcement of the weak bonds. • Control theory assumes the delinquent act results when an individual bond to society is weak, 2 highly complex concepts, and the bond of the individual to society. Elements of the Bond Attachment:  Sociologists say man is sensitive to the opinion of others.  Psychologists emphasize insensitivity to the opinion of others; make it a syndrome or type.  Mental abnormality can be explained by anti-social behaviour, vice versa.  Psychopath example, that lack of attachment is not a symptom but indeed psychopathy and lack of conscience is just another way of saying the same thing; and the violation of norms is (or may be) a consequence.  Impulsivity and aggressiveness can also be seen as natural consequences of freedom from moral restraints.  Such conflict like becoming alienated could easily supply a reservoir of socially derived hostility sufficient to account for the aggressiveness of those whose attachment to others has been weakened.  To violate a norm, is therefore, to act contrary to the wishes and expectations of other people that is, if he is insensitive to the opinion of others—then he is to that extent not bound to the norms, free to deviate.  The essence of internalization of norms lies in the attachment of the individual to others.  There are certain advantages with this view: 1) explanations of deviant behaviour based on attachment do not beg the question, since the extent to which a person is attached to others can be measured independently of his deviant behaviour.  We make the relationship between attachments problematic rather than definitional. I.e.) after a divorce, man is susceptible acts of deviance such as suicide and forgery; when he re-marries we believe he gets his conscience back that he lost before. Commitment:  Few deny men on occasion obey the rules simply from the fear of consequences; we label commitment.  Commitment: defined as the individual’s rational investment in conformity.  The individual’s position in society determines the possible cost of being caught or arrested.  Commitment maybe conceived of as society’s “insurance policy” that we will obey the rules  Person invests time, energy and himself, in a certain line of activity, say, getting an education, building up a business, and acquiring a reputation for virtue.  When he considers deviant behaviour, he must consider the costs of this deviant behaviour, and then he runs the risk of loosing his investment he has made in conventional behaviour.  Concept of commitment assumes the organization of society is such that the interest of most persons would be endangered if they were to engage in criminal acts.  The insurance of society is the commitment that people have built up with reputation, goods, and prospects, so they will abide by the rules.  Most persons are committed to a conventional line of action such as occupational careers or education, and therefore is committed to conformity, thus they would generally avoid deviance. Involvement:  Involvement or engrossment in conventional activates is part of control theory; a person too busy doing conventional activities to find time to engage in deviant behaviour like appointments, deadlines, working hours, schedules, plans etc.  Line of reasoning is responsible for the stress placed on recreational activities to reduce delinquency, like the idea of drafting boys into the army to keep them out of trouble; major deterrent of deviance.  Matza and Sykes explain those who are led to deviance are the ones that are members of the leisure class, and therefore between parental domination and future integration into society, end up committing crime of the leisure of adolescent. Belief:  Defined as the degree to which people have faith in institutions or share in common values.  Control theory assumes the existence of a common value system within the society or group whose norms are being violated.  If a man believes in the rules, he will not violate. However, if he believes the rules he violates, it becomes a norm.  Question is how can one know its bad to steal and still do it?  Two answers: beliefs are merely words that mean nothing without other links or restraints like attachment & commitment.  Second is deviant rationalizes his behaviour. o The strain theory explains the motivation is so strong; that the deviator will still act even knowing it is wrong. o Semantic dementia, the dissociation between rational faculties and emotional control. o The deviant rationalizes his behaviour; still believing it is wrong but able to commit the act. o Sykes and Matza term them “techniques of neutralization” and Cressey calls them “verbalizations.” o Techniques of neutralization occur prior to the commission of the deviant act, if neutralization is successful they are free to commit the act. (ALL CONSIDERED STRAIN THEORIES) o Strain that prompts the effort at neutralization also provides the motive force that results in the subsequent act. o Concept of neutralization assumes the existence of moral obstacles to the commission of deviant acts. o However, many persons feel not moral obligation to conform regardless of personal advantage, and there should be tendency toward consistency, neutralization is unnecessary.  We assume that the beliefs that free a man to commit deviant acts are unmotivated in the sense that he does not construct or adopt them in order to facilitate the attainment of illicit ends.  We assume there is a variation in the extent to which people believe they should obey the rules of society, and, furthermore, that the less a person believes he should obey the rules, the more likely his is to violate them.  Denial of responsibility- one of the techniques described  Forces beyond the individuals control (my parents did not love me, or friends led me astray)  Cressey’s theory of embezzlement: person in a position of financial trust (a fiduciary) confronts a “non-shareable problem”  The fiduciary embezzles to solve the problem, and develops verbalizations to justify the crime. I.e.) just borrowing the money, I’ll pay it back.  Criticism of Social Control Theory: 1. It’s a psychological theory (just recycling Freudian concepts of id and superego. 2. Questionable assumption about human nature (are people pre- packaged as evil or good?) i. Clinard advocates “tabula rasa or blank slate” conception of human nature (social and cultural experiences affect character and behaviour) 3. Lack of empirical support for major elements of the theory i. Involvement concept rarely co
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