The society, or communities within which people live, is organized into hierarchies and groups. Among these are the family, workplace, and school. All these entities function to form a community. All the members of these categories constitute an individual’s social network. Social bonding relates to how a person relates or connects to the existing social networks. The ideology was first developed by Travis Warner in 1969. He called it the social bond theory. So far, this theory has advanced to being called the social control theory. The following discourse of the theory in view of how the formation of social bonds can lead to criminal behaviours.
The theory is defined by four key elements. These are attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. These elements are seen as the factors which enhance socialization and conformity. Digging deeper into the constituents of these elements, one will be able to realize how the theory of social bond can actually cause people to engage in criminal activities (Rosenblatt, 2012). Hirschi postulates that attachments in the context of a school setting play a significant role in conventional society. Many scholars support the argument that despite the fact that schools are supposed to offer some kind of a safe haven to children from both lower, middle and upper class families, they are being used to demoralize children from lower class families. This has been going on since the time when the first schools were getting established.
The experiences that a person is made to go through during one’s early stages of development ages play a significant role in influencing the person they will become in future. Within the learning environment, just like any other social place, children from poor backgrounds are usually victims of social stereotypes which are propagated by their peers. Unfortunately, even older people can spread such social biases. Due to this, the affected child will develop a phobia towards such an environment hence leading to some opting out of school. The end result is that such an individual might drop out of school if the situation is not addressed. As it can be expected, dropping out of school only leads to the worsening of a vicious circle of poverty that already exists within the social ranks of such people. Undeniably, increased levels of poverty compel people to indulge themselves in criminal activities in order to make ends meet.
The concept of commitment requires that individuals abide by the ways through which their society operates. Taking the instance of a child who is raised in a society where drugs are frequently abused and even trafficked, there are very high chances that such a child might end up engaging in the same activities in adulthood. This further shows how one of the concepts of this theory can cause criminality.
Involvement implies that individuals’ must take part in what everyone else in the society is doing. In his theory, Hirschi avers that the concept of involvement was meant to reduce the levels of juvenile delinquency among individuals beginning from their childhood ages. As much as there are positive aspects of the society which may encourage a person to engage in morally upright activities, there are isolated acts of immorality which also have the potential of endearing one towards immorality. Some people are often influenced into taking part in undesirable acts because of reasons which stem from their environments. Different societies have different cultures and beliefs. The negative aspects of these cultures and beliefs are what compel people to take part in criminal acts. Therefore, due to the influences that nature, as well as nurture, have on a person’s character, it can be concluded that social bonds can lead to acts of criminality. In cases where one is exposed to bad influence without proper guidance, the likelihood of committing crime would be high.
- Rosenblatt, V. A. (2012). How does power corrupt? the way individual and institutional support
of social hierarchies influences unethical behavior (Order No. 3534559). Available from ABI/INFORM Collection. (1267150942).