Hirschi's Social Control Theory

In Hirschi’s social control theory, he believes that individual differences that develop early in a person’s life have effects across the entire course of their life. Hirschi joined with Criminologist Michael Gottfredson in this belief, and both believe that criminal behavior is gratifying to some and that crime can lead to short-term pleasure. Hirschi and Gottfredson both believe that self-control, not social bonds are largely responsible for why some commit criminal acts (Cullen, Agnew, Wilcox, 2014). Hirschi and Gottfredson’s Self-Control Theory believe and made the case that the main cause of crime is a lack of self-control. Both Hirschi and Gottfredson not only believe that crime is an easily achieved source of short-term pleasure but …show more content…
Several features are seemly shared with both the self-control theory and the social bond theory. Both the social bond theory and the self-control theory place an important emphasis on what happens during the juvenile years of a person’s lifetime. Both theories by Hirschi hold that what happens to a juvenile will have an effect on that person committing crime and being deviant. However, the social bond theory and the self-control theory are inharmonious in several essential ways. The social bond theory holds that experiences beyond childhood can affect a person’s ties to conventional society, and thus as bonds are strengthened or weakened people’s involvement in crime will ebb and flow (Cullen, Agnew, Wilcox, 2014). In contrast, self-control theory contends criminal propensities are established in childhood, and thus misconduct is stable across the life course (Cullen, Agnew, Wilcox, 2014). Furthermore, self-control theory claims that any empirical relationship between social bonds and crime is spurious. Self-control would account for both the bond and level of crime (Cullen, Agnew, Wilcox, …show more content…
For example, while the self-control theory holds effective parenting as the source of crime, what of those who are raised in a foster home or who receive little attention from their parents but yet do not commit crime. The self-control theory also fails to recognize those that have had misbehavior corrected by their parents in childhood and yet still grow up to commit crimes. Hirschi and Gottfredson’s self-control theory also seems to neglect the idea that change may occur in one’s life that may redirect them in another direction. Using a life course perspective, Sampson and Laub suggest that people are often on certain paths that result in continuity of behavior. People also experience transitions or turning points in their life that can evoke a behavioral change (Cullen, Agnew, Wilcox, 2014). Hirschi and Gottfredson’s Self-Control Theory does not explain everything and has shortcomings in explaining why some with low self-control do not commit crime, or why those with self-control do commit crime. However, it is a supported theory that has been back by research and reinforces the idea that effective child parenting holds the key to a future criminal or law abiding

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