The Social Discipline Theory is a criminological theory that explores the relationship between social structures and crime. It posits that social controls and discipline are the primary factors that deter individuals from committing crimes. The theory was first introduced by Travis Hirschi, an American sociologist, in his book “Causes of Delinquency” published in 1969.
The Life of Travis Hirschi
Travis Hirschi was born in 1935 in Rockville, Utah, and grew up in Salt Lake City. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah and later went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. He then completed his Ph.D. at Yale University under the guidance of Albert Reiss.
After completing his education, Hirschi began teaching at the University of Arizona in 1963. It was during his time there that he developed the Social Discipline Theory.
What is Social Discipline Theory?
The Social Discipline Theory suggests that individuals are deterred from committing crimes due to their relationships with others and their attachment to society. According to Hirschi, individuals who have strong bonds with others are less likely to engage in criminal behavior than those who do not.
Hirschi identified four elements that make up an individual’s bond with society: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. Attachment refers to an individual’s emotional connection to others such as family or friends; commitment refers to an individual’s investment in society such as education or career; involvement refers to an individual’s participation in activities such as sports or clubs; belief refers to an individual’s moral values and beliefs.
While the Social Discipline Theory has gained widespread acceptance among criminologists over the years, it has also faced criticism for its limitations. Some critics argue that the theory fails to account for the role of social and economic inequality in crime. Additionally, some have argued that the theory ignores the impact of psychological and biological factors on criminal behavior.
Despite these criticisms, Travis Hirschi’s Social Discipline Theory remains an influential theory in criminology. Its emphasis on social bonds and discipline has contributed significantly to our understanding of why individuals commit crimes and how they can be deterred from doing so.
In conclusion, Travis Hirschi’s Social Discipline Theory is a criminological theory that explores the relationship between social structures and crime. It suggests that individuals who have strong bonds with others are less likely to engage in criminal behavior than those who do not. While the theory has faced criticism over the years, it has remained an influential theory in criminology and has contributed significantly to our understanding of crime and its prevention.