Control Theory vs Strain Theory

Essay by DaniellelarryCollege, UndergraduateA+, October 2014

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Danielle Larry Control Theory

October 2, 2014

Control Theory vs. Strain Theory

Control Theory is the idea that everyone has two control systems: inner controls and outer controls and they work against our tendencies to deviate. Everyone has the potential to become a criminal but most people are controlled by their bond to society. Crime occurs when the forces that bind people to society are weakened or broken. Social theorist believe that people are born bad and must be controlled in order to be good. People obey the law because behavior and passions are being controlled by external forces. Without controls one is free to commit criminal acts. A person's behavior is controlled by his or her attachment and commitment to conventional institutions, individuals and processes. If that commitment is absent, people are free to violate the law and engage in deviant behavior; the uncommitted are not deterred by the threat of legal punishments.

Travis Hirschi linked the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties that bind people to society. All individuals are potential law violators but are kept under control because they fear that illegal behavior will damage their relationships with friends, parents, neighbors, teachers and employers. Without these social bonds, a person is free to commit criminal acts. Some people are able to control their actions because of the consequences that they may receive. If a person sees one person doing something bad and they get a really big consequence as a result of completing the wrong action it would deter others from doing wrong. Control theory thinks that every starts off bad no one is good, but the choices that a person makes is what shapes them into the person that they become in the future.

Strain Theory is about how social structures in society...