Importance of Social Bonds
By definition exhibiting a behavior that breaks a norm, or rule, placed upon you by society, your situation, or those around you, is deviant. The same behavior could be considered deviant for one person and not another. It depends upon the person in the situation, when and where it’s taking place, and those around who know what’s happening. There are two major viewpoints of deviance, each having many theories to explain it. The humanist approach doesn’t describe deviance as a behavior, rather defining it by the reaction and it being a subjective experience. The positivists focus on the high consensus deviance, the deviance that the majority agrees upon, such as hurting yourself or someone else. They want to explain the behavior and believe that it’s caused by the social environment. One theory used to explain behavior by the positivists is control theory. Control theory helps explain “crime, deviance, and especially delinquency” (56)
In 1969, Travis Hirschi developed control theory. He theorized that we are born deviant and then learn to conform. Control theory looks at “Why don’t they do it” (55) meaning that why we conform is what should be examined rather than why one is deviant. Control theory suggests that little social control and few social bonds are what cause deviance. Control theory is best used to study delinquency rather than deviance or crime (55). Murder, robbery, and rape aren’t very common and therefore make it hard to “study by a means of self-report surveys” (56) like you easily can with more frequent small crimes and deviant behaviors.
According to control theory, people participate in deviant behavior because of the lack of social bonds. There are different types of social bonds that can form. One social bond is the attachment you have to people or establishments. This includes your friends and family, your church, job or school. Another type of social bonds is commitment, the investment and time one puts into...