Social Bonding Theory

1386 Words 6 Pages
Looking at Willie’s interactions within his neighborhood, he doesn’t seem to have any deep resounding ties or bonds to any part of it aside from the 88 gang. Social bonding and control theory claim that those who have lesser ties with their community are more likely to commit crimes within those communities. It is also said that “ties to the family, school and other aspects of society serve to diminish one’s propensity for deviant behavior” (ONTARIO, 2010). This theory asserts that bonds between the parents, peers and community are equally important in preventing delinquency in juveniles. The stronger the bonds are between each, the less likely an adolescent is to commit some deviant act. The perspective of this theory differs from most, in …show more content…
Many troubled youth find this comfort in gangs as the members are likeminded individuals who share similar backgrounds. A gang makes the troubled juveniles feel like they belong somewhere. The bond in a gang is increased due to the “subscription to a common ideal, coupled with mutual reinforcement for dedication to this ideal” (McDavid, 1962). In Willie’s case, this shared ideal was mostly a hatred for a rival gang. In addition to seeking acceptance, juveniles also join gangs when they are seeking some kind of adventure or excitement as cited in the case by the Chicago Institute for Juvenile Research. This young male assisted other youths in entering premises because he was so small. They would then take any money and items that they wanted. He felt accomplished and needed being part of this small gang of boys (Tappan, 1949). Willie feels the same need when he is told to help steal a bike back for one of his fellow gang members. The feeling of being useful and needed is not something he received frequently, if at all, in his childhood so it increases the sense of belonging within the gang. When an adolescent identifies or bonds with a member of a gang, they are more likely to imitate that person as a means of receiving praise or recognition as younger children do when identifying with their same-sexed parent (McDavid, 1962). This behavior continues even in the absence …show more content…
Agnew’s theory states that strain can occur in three different ways – “the inability to achieve one’s goals, the loss of positive stimuli or the presentation of negative stimuli” (Agnew, 2008). Further into his research he also states different ways that a juvenile can handle the stress in a positive way, which include having high self-esteem, self-control or social support. Looking into Willie’s life before his time at the juvenile camp, there are numerous stressors in his life with not many coping mechanisms available to him, so he turns to delinquency as an outlet to relieve the stress. The movie does not delve into his goals, however most young males seek a life of recognition or money and obviously those goals seem very out of reach to Willie if he tries to achieve them the socially acceptable way through hard work and effort. In addition, he loses a very close friend and cousin as he watched Roger get shot and die in front of him on the sidewalk, which constitutes a loss of a positive stimuli in the loss of the friendship. Lastly, in his broken home, he consistently receives negative stimuli from his mother’s boyfriend – verbally and physically. Other factors that can increase the likelihood of delinquency, according to strain theory, are “parental rejection, harsh or excessive punishment, child abuse or neglect, abusive peer

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