Basic Guidelines Behind Control Theory And Lawbreaker Acts Criminology Essay

Compare and distinction the basic ideas behind social control theory, communal learning perspectives and strain theory in explaining criminality. Identify the similarities and dissimilarities in their theoretical positions, analyses and illustrate with circumstance studies. The actual criticisms of their theories?



Introduce this issue. - Point out 3 different perspectives/theories

The structure of the essay

(1st: Public control theory + instances + criticisms)

(2nd: Social learning perspectives + illustrations + criticisms)

(3rd: Strain theory + examples + criticisms)

(4th: Similarity of the three perspectives)

(5th: Distinctions between them) Ж Using drug taking for example???

(6th: Realization+ Implications)


1. Friendly Control Theories: Ж Juvenile delinquency

- Early on Control Ideas (from Reiss to Reckless)

- 1951: Albert J. Reiss; 1957: Jackson Toby; 1958: F. Ivan Nye; 1961: Walter C. Reckless

- Later development

- 1964: David Matza; 19xx: Travis Hirschi

- Criticisms of Community Control Theories

2. Sociable Learning Perspectives:

- 1947: Edwin H. SutherlandЖ Differential Connection Theory

Ж Cultural and Subcultural Theory

- 1956: Daniel Glaser Ж Differential Anticipation Theory

- Criticisms of Social Learning Perspectives

3. Tension Theory: Ж Gang Delinquency

- 1968: Merton's Tension Theory

- 19xx: Durkheim's Anomie concept

- Criticisms of Strain Theory

4. Similarity 5. Differences 6. Conclusion



Social Control Theories.

Many criminological ideas always clarify why do people commit offense, or to find out what are the most influential factors inspire people commit criminal offense and violate the cultural norms. Instead, interpersonal control theories have been already assumed humans are probably committing crime. In addition, the social control or communal bond theory is emphasizing why a person do not be a criminal. In cultural control theorists' assumptions, people have the capability to violate the regulations rather than follow the laws and regulations. Law-abiding behaviors are not the type of humans. People choose to commit criminal offenses because the makes or constrains of society is not strongest enough. It portrays people are located in the dilemma between deviance and conformity. It shows the tension of everyone either commit deviant work or allows the norms. Therefore, interpersonal control theorists propose a few elements to take people again from the medial side of deviance, especially marriage, commitments, beliefs, norms, and beliefs. Family and peer group turn into a crucial businesses that influence people's do.

Albert J Reiss

The understanding of those early on control theorist's quarrels are very important because they presented a platform or some basic propositions within the countless theories of delinquency and crime. Each public control theorist got also been done an empirical study of their studies to support their point of views. Beginning with an article had written by Albert J Reiss (1951), his argument might be reproduced from Freud's idea of ego or superego mainly. He is aimed at noticing the prediction of probation revocation among juvenile offenders. He thought youths have a lower personal controls that may more likely to be juvenile delinquency. That's, those younger people lack of ability to refrain from desiring their needs when having discord with the rules or norms of the modern culture. Nevertheless, his justification of juvenile delinquency is weak when discussing the partnership between probation revocation and university performance as truancy.

Jackson Toby

In 1957, Jackson Toby, another cultural control theorist, offered a new principle called "stake in conformity" which as the essential mechanism to influence delinquent's comportment. He also agreed that people are intrinsically and temptingly rupturing the laws, especially all youths. Some of them are having a high risk of the violation of laws and regulations for this reason temptation. He feels students perform well in school not only they are really being punished by institution, but also endanger their future likelihood of success. Under the special academic-oriented situation, if the world allows students having a better career journey when they received an excellent college end result; therefore, some students who do poorly in school might have a great chance of committing criminal offenses because they seems lose minimal things than others. Apart from the academic consequence of an individual is an influential factor, peer support for deviant action could lead those youths with low stakes in conformity as well. However, even youths have low stake in conformity, they aren't become delinquents when lacking of peer support.

F. Ivan Nye

In 1958, Nye then focused on the problem of family marriage. He though that family is a single most crucial reason behind interpersonal control for adolescents. He divided diffent kinds of control such as direct control, inner control, and indirect control. Direct control means the obvious restriction or punishments of any person. Inside control refered to a inward monitor or consciences. Indirect control associated with affectional or mental identification with parents, noncriminals or legal codes. He explained that if all the above handles are sufficient, then those adolescents tend to be conform the guidelines of world. Nye's study had been examined by an empircal test. However, his test had been challenged by Toby already. First, altough Nye called the test group as 'most delinquent', but many criminologist called them 'nondelinquents'. Due to the test group was decided on in senior high school that was not included any youths time 15 or more radiant, and any youths age 16 with fallen out of school. Furthermore, the questions being asked in questionnaires were too trivial such as taking things worthwhile significantly less than $2, and harmful general public or private property. Therefore, Nye cannot realize the strongly romance between family bonding and serious delinquent behaviours.

Walter C. Reckless

In 1961, another communal control theorist called Reckless, who suggested a containment theory. The primary concept is that all individuals are influenced by different pushes such as sociable pressure, sociable pulls, natural/ emotional pushes. Those forces are driving visitors to commit deviant work. However, these makes are againsted by both exterior and internal containments. For example, social pressure can be explained as living conditions, family turmoil, minority group, status, and lack of opportunities. Then the term 'cultural pulls' is refered to the accepted norm of all people from their companions, criminal subculture, media and so on. Biological or mental pushes can be easily associated with how those biological and psychological factors affect people neglect to conform the norms of society, such as restlessness, inner tension, aggressiveness and so on. On the other hand, exterior containment is talking about the surroundings of any person. For example, how parents or organizations promote right moral beliefs, willpower, enforce the sense of personal information and so on. Moreover, inner containment are those unseen stuffs which internalized our self-control; that related to the way the goals/ abilities of any person against to commit crime.

David Matza & Travis Hirschi

Matza's Delinquency and Drift (1964) and Hirschi's Factors behind Delinquency (1969) also advoacted two famous principles in the later development of control ideas. On the other hand, Matza has been already protraried the image of 'drifter'. Emphasizing how social conditions shape people become a drifter. (However, he did not mention about what kinds of constraints and control that keep young people from drifting. ) In Hirschi's theory, he suggested four main 'social bonds' that could determine one's engagement in delinquency, namely attachment, commitment, participation, and belief. Attachment contains the interpersoanl and emotional bonds among others, especially parents and teachers. Commitment refers to how youths employ enough time, energy, effort expended in traditional path of success, such as saving cash for the future and abtaining a higher academic qualification. Participation means the amount of one's engagement in those typical activities, such as institution, recreation, and family. Due to society will show common moral ideals normally, therefore, values of a person are very important. People might more easily commit criminal function if these moral ideals are absent or weakened. In short, Hirschi's social connection theory emphasized all people are potential bad guys, however, people will conform the norm or obey regulations because they don't want to ruin the bondings with others.


There are few criticisms on interpersonal control theory. First, according to the assumption from it, social control theorists assumed individuals are potential law-violators. What if the youths commit criminal offenses just because they are 'fun'? Another issuse is that such theories cannot be explained the causes of gang delinquency and adult criminality. Furthermore, most studies were referring the involvement of trivial offenses of nondelinquent youths. Hirschi also confessed that delinquents actually active in conventional situations, which declined his original theory (Vold & Bernard, 1986).

Social Learning perspectives

Edwin Sutherland

Differential Connection Theory was the most direct and clear theory that suggested by Edwin Sutherland in 1947 from social learning perspectives. In 1978, Sutherland and Cressey consisted nine propositions of Differential Connection Theory:

"1. Criminal behavior is learned. . .

2. Criminla behaviour is learned in relationship with other people in an activity. . .

3. The principal part of the learning of legal behavior occurs within personal personal categories. . .

4. When unlawful behaviour is discovered, the learning includes techniques of committing the offense, which are occasionally very complicated, sometimes very easy; the specific path of the motives, drives, rationlization, and behaviour. . .

5. The precise guidelines of motives and drives is discovered from definitions of the legal codes as favourable or unfavourable. . .

6. The person becomes delinquent because of an excessive amount of favourable meanings to violation of legislations over unfavourable meanings to law-violation. . .

7. Differential association may vary in rate of recurrence, duration, main concern, and depth.

8. Procedure for learning criminal behaviour by connection with unlawful and anti-criminal patterns involves all the mechanisms involved with another learning. . .

9. While unlawful act is an expression of general needs and principles, it is not described by those basic needs and prices. . . " (Sutherland & Cressey, 1978, pp. 80-82. )

Here will be reviewed each propositions respectively. First, it is clearly stated that unlawful take action is not inborn which is learned. Then, Sutherland provided how people learned to become delinquent which is learned in conversation with others, especially family, friends, and acquaintances. Also, techniques of commiting criminal offenses are needed which are sometimes quite complicated/simple such as how to uncover a safe or grab an automobile on the road. Moral justifications also vital that produce people think their acts are reasonable. For example, an unhealthy person steal foods in supermarket because they don't have money to buy enough foods with their sons. Therefore, they will justify they act as seem sensible. Fifth, it identifies the views of legal codes from an individiuals. The individual may well not want to follow the law because such laws are just managing him/her, and eradicating his/her free will. The favourable meanings of legislations violation and the unfavourable explanations of rules violation are two factors on the total amount that lead a person commit crime if the favourable explanations of regulation violation is excess. Additionally, how often are legal contacts made, the length of time do the connections last, and how significant to the average person are the unlawful contacts are always being considered. Sutherland (1978) also though that there will be greater the chance to commit offense if folks have been contacted scammers since early years as a child. Role modeling or immediate teaching is another way to learn the legal acts. In chinese language words, which means "person who mixes with vermilion will turn red, one who touches pitch will be defiled therewith"; which implies good companions have good affect while bad ones have bad effect. Law-violation behaviours cannot be explained by satisfying those standard needs becauses those criminal functions are illogical. In quick, he emphasized the the significance of personal contact, and everything individuals are follower.


There will be mentioned a few main critiques of the theory. Differential association theory neglected that why some youths seems subjected to delinquent explanations, but finally they choose to stop the delinquent serves. Another major criticism is the condition of the concept differential relationship, which assumes unlawful behaviours to be logical and systematics. However, this theory is very difficult to illustrate the acts of those psychopathic getting rid of or serial rapists (Sigel, 2009). Also, delinquents might seek like-minded peers rather than follow others which drafted another relationship between deviant peers and criminality.

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