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Control Theory and Sociology

Sociology of crime is the study of how society and crime interact. The writers at Paper Masters custom write research on control theory and other sociological theories that explain deviance with the norms in society.

Most sociologists try to understand what causes crime by using a variety of theories. Many of these theories address causes and effects such as urbanization on crime statistics. These theorists try to answer questions about humans and their interactions through these types of studies. Because of the changes in societies in the more industrialized countries and the understanding of crime that is ever changing many theories have been put forth to explain the relationship between crime and urbanization.

Control theory creates a link between the offender and his social group as the individual’s bond to society. According to this theory, the individual’s ability to resist committing a crime depends on how the bonds that he has with his parents, other avenues available to him, and his values. Crime is a given in this theory. Control theorists believe that all people have needs and desires which are more easily satisfied through criminal acts than through legal channels.

Control Theory and Sociology

Control theorists do not focus on the causes of but the deterrent from committing crimes. There are many different deterrents from committing crimes, one being direct control. This is when the person believes that there are people who are watching them to make sure that they do not commit a crime. Another issue is what one would lose if they engaged in a crime. There is both an emotional stake and a societal stake in whether one should commit a crime or not. Internal controls can also be a deterrent to someone who is thinking of committing a crime. The internal control is determined by the beliefs and self-control people have.

The question therefore becomes what to do about the crime? There are many things that can be done to deter the criminals from committing crimes. The first is to fix the economic disparity between the classes. When people are making more money, they do not have the added strain of trying to come up with enough money to pay for bills and are less likely to feel the disrespect that many of these people feel. Therefore, many would not choose to commit crime. Social punishment needs to be stepped up and also there is a need for more people to be watching as a deterrent. With the increase in urbanization around the world, crime is also likely to increase as well. This is especially true in those countries which are not prepared for the flux of urbanization that is coming into their country.

It would appear that Hirschi’s early version of control theory is inline with the social organization theory by the fact that it speaks to the individual’s exposure to and influence by social bonds; bonds that it is fair to suggest would come from a community marked by strong and prevalent structures of social organization. Hirschi’s self-control theory depends on the fact that those individuals who are not influenced by the positive outcomes of various structures of social organization will also have no attachment to, involvement with, commitment to or belief in those things that discourage one from delinquent/criminal behavior.

Hirschi’s later work with Gottfredson submits a self-control that argues crime as the result of an individual’s lack of self-control when exposed to opportunities for self-gratification. This updated version of self-control theory still relies on the failure of some individuals to develop self-control because they have not been exposed to or influenced by positive social influences or situations that contribute to the development of commitment, attachment, involvement and beliefs.

Hirschi’s and Gottfredson’s self-control theory, like social organization theory, recognizes that social relationships play a role in inducing or preventing criminal behavior. Whether external, as in the formal academic and/or religious organization, or internal, as in the family support system, both theories suggest that social organization and the relationships that they support have a significant impact on how an individual will respond to the opportunity for criminal behavior.

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