Social Control Theory Research Paper

1084 Words5 Pages
Control theory, unlike other criminological theories, offers the explanation for why people obey rules rather than focusing on the reasons why people commit crime. Control theory also provides a reason for how behaviour conforms to societies expectations. Social control theory tends to focus more on external factors and how they become effective. Social control theory supports the idea that deviance and crime occur because of inadequate constraints and holds the view that human nature includes the idea of free will; every offender has the capacity to choose and take responsibility for their actions and behaviour (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990). This view aligns social control theory closer to classical criminology rather than the perspectives…show more content…
The essence of social control theory is explaining conformity, in particular, how people become socialised to obey the rules. Based on this opinion, social control theory also focuses on how the absence of close relationships with conformist peers, coupled with a lack of self control, can free individuals from social constraints, thereby encouraging them to participate in delinquency and crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990). Police are primary agents of social control and use crime prevention tactics as an effective means of crime reduction and social control. However crime prevention tactics are not always effective and in some cases police have been known to escalate deviance by defining a wide range of behaviour as illegal, using discretion to focus on which laws will be most actively enforced and singling out some individuals who violate these laws to be dealt with by the criminal justice system (Marx, 1981). Nevertheless, it is clear that by utilising crime prevention strategies police acting as agents of social control is an effective role for them to have in…show more content…
Police play a large role in social control and use both formal and informal mechanisms to prevent crime (Bradford, 2009). Established rules and laws are a common form of social control and arguably the most important. Society is compelled to formulate rules and regulations which define desired types of behaviour and penalise individuals who defy them. Police act as formal social control agents involved in interactive means of law enforcement. Police exercise social control because they are expected to deal with many situations which violate rules and regulations formulated by society (Bursik and Gramsik, 1993). Calling upon police and assisting police are acts of public cooperation which link formal and informal mechanisms of social control (Bradford, 2009). There is an obvious need for more effective communication between police and the general public as it is clear that co-operation with police plays a large role in crime prevention (Remington, 1965). Without police encouraging social control, unity amongst society would be impossible. Social control regulates behaviour in accordance with the established norms of the community which, in turn, brings uniformity of behaviour and leads to unity among the individuals. Members of a family, group or circle of friends, maintains its unity because each member behaves in a similar manner in accordance with the norms. If an individual behaves in contrary to those

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