Conformity and Deviance: A Sociological Examination of Social Bond Theory

  • JO Ajayi


The foremost social control explication of crime is Travis Hirschi's social bond theory. It explains that the more weakened the group to which the individual belongs, the less dependent he is on them, consequently the more he depends only on himself and recognizes no other rules of conduct than what are founded on his private interest. Control theories assume that delinquent acts result when an individual's bond to the conventional order is weak or broken. Since these theories embrace two highly complex concepts, the bond of individual to society, it is not surprising that they have one time or the other formed the basis of explanation of most of aberrant or atypical behavior. It is also not surprising that control theories have described the elements of the bond to conventional society in many ways, and that they have focused on a variety of units as the point of control. This paper begins with classification and description of the elements of the bond to conventional society; it then turns to the question of specifying the unit to which the person is presumably more or less tied and to the question of the motivational force built into the explanation of delinquent behavior.

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