Control theory

Control theory

Control theory.

Control theory attempts to explain the character of people caused by different factors making them refrain from behavior that is deviant. There are a number of determinants that control our impulses and cause compliance or non-compliance of social norms.

Walter Reckless and Travis Hirschi are social theorists who tried to explain why people avoid acting on deviant impulses. The factors that would influence a person to react in a given way are either internal or external. Internal factors include motivation and conscience of a person.

The external factors are legal codes, friends, and family. A person may be tempted to steal, but opts to refrain considering the associated social shame (Franzese, 2009). Control theory explains how the bonds between people in the society alter their behavior.

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These theorists made people confirm that criminal behavior and deviance are fundamental to understanding self-control. The theory has been faulte on the grounds of youth and adult crime behavior.

It only points out delinquency behavior in youth but fails to decipher adult behavior. The theory has it those children who have a strong bond with their parents hardly engage in crime. Those with weak parental bonds are said to be notorious in crime. This is sometimes not the case.

The assumption of the theory is that family institutes law-abiding. This is not true in most cases. The setback of control theory is that it ignores concepts like impulsiveness and autonomy (Ritzer, 2011).


Berger, J., & Zelditch, M. (2002). New directions in contemporary sociological theory. Lanham, Md [u.a.: Rowman & Littlefield Publ.

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