Hirschi’s theory of social control is a sociological theory that attempts to explain why people conform to social norms and rules. Developed by Travis Hirschi in 1969, the theory proposes that people’s behavior is largely influenced by their attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief in societal norms.

Attachment: According to Hirschi, individuals who are strongly attached to their families, friends, and communities are less likely to engage in deviant behavior. This is because they fear losing the support and affection of those they care about.

Commitment: People who are committed to achieving their goals and aspirations are less likely to engage in activities that may jeopardize their success. For instance, a person who is committed to getting a good job would avoid criminal activities that could potentially ruin their reputation or limit their employment opportunities.

Involvement: Individuals who are highly involved in lawful activities such as school, work or community organizations have less time for deviant behaviors. They also have more opportunities for positive reinforcement through these activities which decreases the likelihood of deviant behavior.

Belief: Lastly, people who believe in societal norms and values are less likely to engage in deviant behavior. They internalize these norms as part of their moral code and adhere to them even when there is no external pressure to do so.

Hirschi’s theory suggests that social control is an effective means of preventing deviant behavior. When individuals feel attached, committed, involved and believe in societal norms they are more likely behave within the law. However, when these controls are weak or non-existent individuals may be more susceptible to engaging in deviant behaviors.

To summarize, Hirschi’s theory of social control posits that conformity arises from a combination of attachment, commitment, involvement and belief in societal norms. By understanding these factors we can better understand why some individuals choose not to engage in deviant behavior.