One of the ways in which sociologists theorize deviance is through the control theory. This theory was first pioneered by Travis Hirschi in 1969. The control theory suggests that a person who does commit serious crimes is free of any emotional, social feelings and for those that do not commit crimes are able to control themselves to not commit crimes and behave in an acceptable manner in society without being a danger to others. Basically, this theory emphasizes that a person from birth is capable of acting in criminal behaviour, but the social factors affect a person from committing criminal acts or not.
Within this theory there are four factors in which someone will not commit in any deviant behaviour. These factors are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief . Attachment applies to affection that a person has for their parents or friends, etc. and does not want to disappoint or hurt by involving themselves into delinquent behaviour. Commitment is used to describe what a person has to lose when they involve themselves in committing crimes, etc. such as having a high standing in society or whether they are in school or are employed.
Involvement refers to the amount of time a person invests in something that keeps them busy such as any extracurricular activities, for example, which would prevent them from having the time to commit crimes. The final factor belief refers to a person’s own belief system and whether or not they choose to follow societal rules and that if they do believe in these rules, they would be less likely to act in a deviant manner. These bonds that are presented by Hirschi are meant to represent that they control our behaviour through social contraventions and are not necessarily laws that are within our society.
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Basically, this theory best describes the reasons in which deviance is theorized because it takes into effect all of the reasons in which a person would or would not act in a deviant manner. The four bonds that were mentioned above highlight the factors that are important in almost everyone’s lives and that if any of those are missing in our lives, it would lead us to act in devious ways. An example in which describes the way in which these social bonds can present hemselves when they are no longer there are described in the article “Key Idea: Hirschi’s Social Bond/Social Control Theory” when they describe how a person would still stop at a stop sign in the middle of nowhere with no other traffic and no police cars observing. This is a good example because it shows that a person is still worried about any possible implications that a bad decision would affect them. The control theory is a theory, which could best to explain deviance and why people act in a deviant manner. The reason why is that the manner in which people are raised and who they are surrounded by.
For example, someone does not commit any crimes because of the fact that they have family and friends and conform to society’s rules so that they could continue to have the bonds that they have with their friends and family, but when that bond is broken, that leaves room for the person to partake in deviant acts. Some of the weaknesses that can be pointed out in this factor could be that some delinquents who are underage could possibly have less parental supervision and that they would be free to experiment with different things whether it is illegal or not.
Another weakness in this theory is that a person is not essentially capable of committing criminal acts from birth, but there are events in a person’s life where they need or want to involve themselves in criminal acts. This theory is the better theory when describing deviance. This is the better theory because it takes into effect most of the reasons why a person would or would not take part in deviant behaviour. The four social bonds that are described within this theory are things that a person would hold dear and would not jeopardize these relationships or beliefs and feelings by partaking in criminal or deviant behaviour.
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