Summarize and describe the four key elements of Hirschi’s control theory.
Based upon Hirschi’s control theory, people are naturally inclined to behave in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. Hirschi, however, suggests four key elements of the control theory that prevail on individuals to control their impulses and avoid criminal or deviant behavior. First and foremost, there is the element of attachment. The likelihood of engaging in unpleasant behavior declines when individuals have strong connections to their family, friends, or community members. Second, there is a commitment component. Conventional activities such as work and school curb criminal or deviant behavior because individuals committed to them are unlikely to propagate said behaviors. The third element of control theory, as posited by Hirschi, is involvement. Hirschi supposes that people who engage in positive activities such as sports or clubs are less likely to engage in criminal or deviant behavior since they have a stake in staying out of trouble. Last but not least is belief in social conventions. Due to their desire to uphold the conventional values of society, people who believe in these values are less likely to engage in criminal or deviant behavior.
Do you believe this theory to be true? Why or why not?
In my view, the theory is out rightly true. It is natural for people to behave in ways that harm themselves and others. However, certain elements can help them control their impulses and avoid deviant behavior. Indeed, reflecting on the logic of the elements suggested by Hirschi, it seems that they could significantly impact an individual’s likelihood of engaging in deviant behavior. For instance, individuals with attachment to their family or friends may want to avoid deviant behavior out of fear of damaging these relationships. Based on the above example, it is hard to imagine how the theory could be false. There may be some cases in which the theory does not hold true, but overall, I believe that Hirschi’s control theory is accurate.