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Social control theory in criminology

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  1. Introduction
  2. Crime in formation of society
  3. Review of article, Urban Black Violence: The Effect of Male Joblessness and Family Disruption
  4. Crime among blacks in systematic theoretical framework
  5. The definition of 'social control theory'
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

Crime is something that has plagued society since societies have been formed. It is now an ever-present facet of life in modern society. It is not a taboo subject either as crimes and criminals are presented to us on a daily basis through the media, television, films, videos and books. While many of us fear crime, we do not necessarily understand it. Why does it happen? The nature of crime is constantly changing, reflecting social and cultural transformations occurring in our society. In the article Urban Black Violence: The Effect of Male Joblessness and Family Disruption, author Robert J. Sampson discusses how violence among black males is not necessarily the product of factors like social class and race, but of factors relating to family composition. This essay will relate this article to social control theory, and from this it will be clear that blacks are not inherently more likely to commit crime, they just have less of a connection to society and are therefore more likely to commit crime based on the theory of social control.

[...] Walter Reckless was a theorist who gave an early contribution to the social control theory which was known as ?containment theory.' It focused on youth's self conception/self-image as a good and law abiding person which served to prevent people from committing crime. In other words, youths wanted people (and themselves) to view them as good people, and they knew that this meant that they could not engage in crime, therefore they did not. It focused on the idea of peer pressure to be good, to abide by the norms of being good that society has created. [...]


[...] This containment theory which is a branch of social control theory can easily be applied to the article written by Sampson. Sampson argues that blacks in the United States who are the affected by family disruption and joblessness commit crimes for the reasons that are stated by Reckless and others who promote the same theory. It can be seen that blacks in the United States are drawn to crime because of inner and outer containment forces. They are drawn to crime by inner containment forces because they have not developed internalized forces that drive them to obey the law and avoid taking part in deviant behavior. [...]

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