Travis Hirschi's Social Control Theory Analysis

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Numerous theorists have explained the causes of crime, the characteristics of a criminal, and the possible policy implementations. The essay will examine the comparison of Travis Hirschi’s theory of social control compared to classical criminology, Durkheim's theory, and Merton’s theory. Social control theory examines delinquency, and how “Delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken” (Hirschi, 2014, p. 231). He argues that delinquency is not subjected to one certain group, but anyone can become delinquent. Criminality is created through the social bonds that are broken or weakened during youth, the four elements of the social bonds are attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.
Attachment bond is the affective ties with others, which creates an inner control of the youth (Hirschi, 2014, p. 232). The lack of attachment to others creates a disconnect, which equals the lack of moral restraints (Hirschi, 2014, p. 231), and creates criminals. The second element of the social bond is the commitment, a person is committed to conventional lines of action, and would not take the risks due to the risks exceed the reward (Hirschi, 2014, p. 232). Furthermore, Hirschi argues individuals, not having prior interests in commitments, resort to deviant acts. Involvement is the
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Strengthening the communities solidarity can deter delinquency, due to, society unifying and conventional norms. This is reflected in Hirschi's strengthening the social bonds, in regards to the commitment and involvement bonds. As well, he suggests the strengthening of non-economic institutions, like families and education. Moral education, for example, teaches “moral importance and effects the punitive measures” (Garland, 1990, p. 51). Similar to Hirschi's element of the belief bond, Durkheim's advocates for moral

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