Free Social Bond Theory Research Paper Sample
Social support from acquaintances encourages the growth of social bonds, which constrain the individuals from committing crime. The social bond theory proposed by Travis Hirschi states that delinquency occurs due to a person’s weak or broken bonds with the society, thereby minimizing the personal stakes in compliance. Individuals maintain compliance not in the fear of facing punishments, but in the fear of losing relationships with their friends, family and other social acquaintances . The inner containment of an individual plays an important role in establishing the relationship between delinquency and social bonds. Hirschi rejects to view the society as a place of competing subcultures with radically distinctive values. The social bond theory says that people fall prey to criminal activities whose social bonds are weak among all the social, religious, ethnic and racial groups .
Bonds to the society consist of four components, which include commitment, attachment, belief and involvement. Commitment refers to the degree of an individual’s interest in the social and economic system of the society. It involves an individual’s future, personal goals, career and success. It refers to the energy and time spent by an individual in acquiring education and saving money for the future. People with strong commitment towards the society less likely engage in activities that jeopardize their position in the society . If an individual has much to lose in terms of status in the society, he is less likely to involve in law. On the contrary, lack of commitment foreshadows crime and becomes a reasonable alternative behavior. For example, students who engage in aberrant behavior are more likely to fail in school and students who fail in school are more likely to engage in aberrant behavior.
Attachment refers to an individual’s interest in his friends, family and community. An individual with lack of attachment loses the capability to associate with others in the world. A person who maintain ties with the important social institutions, such as school, parents and peers are less likely to commit crime . Even in a family that faces divorce and separation, the child should have attachments with at least one parent, which helps to gain respect for the society as well as the authority. On the contrary, weak attachment impairs the personality development of an individual. The next component involvement states that a person’s involvement in conformist activities offers less time to engage in illegal behavior. Involvement of individuals in family and school insulates them from the desire to commit criminal activities . Conversely, lack of involvement enhances the lure of criminal behavior.
The last component belief indicates that individuals dwelling in a similar social setting share common beliefs, such as admiring the legal code and authority, sharing values and acting sensibly to the rights of other individuals . An individual who believes in the value system of the law and the society is less likely to engage in criminal behavior. The absence or weakening of the beliefs provides opportunities for the individuals to participate in illegal or anti-social acts. Hirschi further elaborates that the correlation between the elements of social bond controls the subsequent behavior of individuals. Individuals with kinship and sensitivity towards parents, friends and the society adopt legitimate goals and skills that enable them to avoid anti-social behavior . The social bond theory integrates elements of determinism and discretion; however, individual choice of the individuals influences the equation.
Social bonds are not inauthentic; rather they exercise causal influence on the behavior of individuals. The social bond theory helps to organize one’s understanding of offense through the entire course of life, from childhood to adolescence and then into adulthood. An effective social bond allows establishing an effective social bond. According to Hirschi, if an individual is weak on one component of social bond, he is probably weak on all of them . However, weakness in any single bond is sufficient to explain the deviance. While a weak bond results in deviance, involvement in deviance weakens the bond. In his theory, Hirschi emphasized the importance of allocating time for children as it allows opportunity for affectionate identification and intimate communication with children. He explained various crimes, both personal as well as property to prove the relationship between social bonds and criminal behavior .
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