We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Check Writers' Offers

What's Your Topic?

Hire a Professional Writer Now

The input space is limited by 250 symbols

What's Your Deadline?

Choose 3 Hours or More.
2/4 steps

How Many Pages?

3/4 steps

Sign Up and Get Writers' Offers

"You must agree to out terms of services and privacy policy"
Get Offer

Social Control Theory Essay

Paper type: Essay Pages: 2 (465 words)

Views: 310

Akin to the labeling theory, the social control theory also holds society responsible for the emergence of deviance. But instead of arguing that deviance is a result of labels imposed by society, the social control theory asserts that people resort to wrongdoing because of the absence or social bonds or socialization processes that are supposed to promote law-abiding conduct. Simply put, some people commit deviant behaviors because they were not educated regarding societal norms. Juvenile delinquents, for instance, may be dismissed as the product of dysfunctional families (Jensen, 2003).

Human beings by nature are active and flexible organisms who engage in a wide variety of activities. The range of the activities that they join in, however, is gradually limited by the processes of socialization and social learning. Therefore, when people are guilty of deviance, it supposedly goes to show that they did not undergo these developments. Society, in turn, is to blame – it did not carry out its duty of orienting its members regarding proper and improper behavior (Jensen, 2003).

The social control theory also believes that there are numerous motives behind deviant behavior.

Shoplifters, for instance, steal for different reasons, such as poverty, protesting against corporate greed and the sheer thrill and excitement of being able to get away with theft. But the social control theory does not focus much on the reasons for deviance. Whatever the reasons, deviance is a sign of the failure of the ability of social institutions to enforce societal norms (Jensen, 2003). Criminologist Jackson Toby (1957) used the social control theory in his study of juvenile delinquency. He argued that young people who resort to crime are those who have “few stakes or investments in conformity” (Jensen, 2003).

Toby used this phrase to refer to youths who came from broken families, dropped out of school and or abused drugs or alcohol. Because of their social and economic backgrounds, they do not have chances for advancement. Hence, they do not see any reason to conform and just resort to deviance instead. Conclusion The labeling theory and the social control theory are two explanations behind the concept of deviance. Both blame society for deviant people and behavior. However, both theories neglected the fact that individuals cannot keep on blaming society for their misfortunes.

At the end of the day, it is still the individual who will decide and act upon what he or she wants to do with his or her life.


Hamlin, J. Labeling Theory (Social Reaction Theory). Unpublished manuscript. Jensen, G. F. (2003). Social Control Theories. In R. A. Wright (Ed. ), Encyclopedia of Criminology (n. pag. ). New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. Kontos, L. , & Brotherton, D. (2008). Encyclopedia of Gangs. Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group. Slattery, M. (2003). Key Ideas in Sociology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.

You may also be interested in the following: social penetration theory examples

Cite this page

Social Control Theory. (2016, Dec 21). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/social-control-theory-essay

How to Avoid Plagiarism
  • Use multiple resourses when assembling your essay
  • Use Plagiarism Checker to double check your essay
  • Get help from professional writers when not sure you can do it yourself
  • Do not copy and paste free to download essays
Get plagiarism free essay

Not Finding What You Need?

Search for essay samples now


Your Answer is very helpful for Us
Thank you a lot!