Social Control Theory vs. Conflict Theory

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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The Social Bond theory was written and proposed by Travis Hirschi in 1969. Social Bond theory, that later developed into Social Control Theory, has historically been an interesting way of approaching social problems and how we in turn explain them. Before one can apply the Social Bond theory, they must first have a firm understanding of its definition, which can be accurately described by Hirschi (1969) as, “Elements of social bonding include attachment to families, commitment to social norms and institutions (school, employment), involvement in activities, and the belief that these things are important” (p. 6).

This theory is rooted and derived from the General Theory of Crime. Hirschi’s (1969) social bond theory emphasizes the fact that there is an absence of social attachments among juvenile delinquents. Since family, friends, and other members of our social networks affect our lives in many ways, we in turn are direct descendents of their actions. One of the most critical times in our lives is our adolescence. During this critical time we need strong positive social ties to represent society in the best way possible.

On the other hand, if the ties we share in our lives are negative and criminal-like habits, it most likely that negative results will occur. The basic difference between the General Theory of Crime and Hirschi’s (1969) Social Bond Theory is the focus on peers and peer groups of individuals. The four basic elements of social bond theory are attachment, commitment, involvement in conventional versus deviant or criminal activities, and lastly the common value system within an individual’s society or subgroup.

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Attachment is described as the level of values and or norms that an individual holds in society. Attachment is especially important when it come to the person’s parental figures. This theory suggests that conventional figures, such as parents, when bonded make a huge impact in the deterrent of criminal acts. Attachment to other peers tend to be just as supportive as parental ties, just as long as these ties are positive and do not deviate from the social norms of society.


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Social Control Theory vs. Conflict Theory. (2017, Apr 15). Retrieved from

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