valenzuela et al ., 2014 H u m a n i t i e s

valenzuela et al ., 2014 H u m a n i t i e s


Step 2: Read all other posts. Respond to the posts of at least two students.

  • In your responses, you can agree or disagree with your classmates, but if differences of opinion occur, provide examples to support your opinions.
  • You are expected to use APA citation style. 
  • Draw from the readings and other course content to reply to your peers. This means that you are expected to include direct references to the assigned chapter as well as other relevant course content. 
  • Reply posts should be at least 200 words each

peer 1

In my opinion the element that is the most important from Hirschi’s four elements of the social bonding theory is involvement. This element states that the amount of time spent in conventional activities such as attending church or school, having a job or internship, will prevent the person to have free time to engage in deviant behavior. I chose this element first because I believe it is correlated with self-control and I believe that it is the most important factor to consider when thinking about why an individual decides to act the way they do. An individual makes his/her own decisions, so this means that they chose to engage in deviant behavior or go to church. The second element that I believe comes after involvement is commitment. The commitment element explains the time, energy, and resources you put into the conventional activities you engage in. An example could be having a full-time job, if you have a full-time job it is less likely you will engage in deviant behavior because you will not have time. Also, if a person has put in so much time and energy for their job or school, it is less likely they will risk the time spent on deviant behavior. This is interconnected with involvement because if there was not involvement, you could not have commitment. The third element I believe to be important is the element of belief. This element states that a person will not engage in deviant behavior if their beliefs of moral values and norms are greater than their self-control. I think this is more important than attachments because if a person has their own personal beliefs, they will follow those beliefs and not be influenced by others. Lastly, the fourth element that I believe is important is attachments. Attachments are the connections you have with individuals and society. Even though it was mentioned in the Module 6 lecture as “Most important element of the social bond” (Redner-Vera pg.13). The lecture states that it is important to have strong attachments at an early age, but also depends on who and what you have an attachment too. I chose this element last because I do not believe someone has to have good or bad attachments in order to engage or not engage in deviant behavior. This correlates back to social control and peer pressure. I believe that if a person choses to engage in deviant behavior it is their own decision and their attachments should not matter. It could not matter if they have a great job or have a great relationship with the community, a person can chose to engage in deviant behavior at any given time and at times they do not even think about these relationships.

Gottfredson and Hirschi explain how self-control is an important factor why deviant behavior occurs. This is because individuals chose short term gratification and satisfaction over long term gratification and satisfaction. A great example of self-control is the people who actually work in order to get money. An example of low-self control is when a person decides to engage in robberies in order to get money. This is a great example because the person with a job will have money on the long run, on the other hand the person who commits robberies will have money until they rob again. This theory suggests that people are not born criminals and that they develop self-control. As stated in the article, Self-Control Theory and Crime, by Michael Gottfredson, “Self-control and social control theories are appropriately regarded as socialization theories, since they focus on the factors that teach adherence to norms and social rules, assuming that children require training in how to conform to these expectations”. In other words, it is the parent’s obligation to teach their children self-control. If children have low self-control it is said that they are more likely to engage in deviant behavior later in life. This is the main reason why some people have high self-control and others have low self-control; it all comes down to the household. Gottfredson and Hirschi state that “…they describe self-control as a general cause of crime both because its influence is so strong and because differences in self-control affect many other factors”. These other factors are school, peers and other mental issues. It is important to take into consideration this factor for deviant behavior. This is because when we out into perspective criminal behavior, most of the time it is for personal gratification. Example robberies and burglaries, rape, murder, embezzlement, etc. Lastly, this all implies that if individuals had social-control or where at least taught at a young age social-control, then there would not be as much criminal activity as there is now. This theory also implies that self-control should be taught so the individual as an adult will be able to manage his or her impulsions. In conclusion, self-control is important to understand criminal activity. Hirschi and Gottfredson’s self-control theory is a great factor to determine why an individual decides to engage in criminal behavior. 

peer 2

1.) In “Crime and Behavior,” the authors talk about how the social bond theory proponents would argue that people commit deviant acts because of they developed a weak societal bond; this bond is defined by Hirschi to consist of four elements: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief (Valenzuela, Kaplan, & Henry, 2014, p. 105). In my opinion, while all elements are inherently related with each other, I support Hirschi’s opinion that attachment is the most important. Instead of viewing the four elements as a circle where they each have equal importance, I view the elements as a sequential pattern, where one element leads to the next. That is why I value attachment as the most important, because that is the first element one would develop in shaping their bond to society. It could also be viewed as the foundation in which the following elements are built upon. We become exposed to attachment since birth, and our perspective of human attachment is largely dependent on parental/guardian treatment during this period. The social bond theory supports that the stronger sense of attachment one has to others, the less inclined people are to commit deviant acts (Valenzuela et al., 2014, p. 105).

Following attachment, and the next most important element, is involvement. While the book describes involvement mainly as a tool to reduce the likeliness of one to engage in deviant behavior (Valenzuela et al., 2014, p. 105), I also view involvement as an indicator of a strong attachment. I argue that in a case of a strong attachment between the parents and child, they would be naturally inclined to involve their child in activities that they enjoy doing. Becoming involved in social activities would then lead to the development of commitment. Similar to how attachment leads to involvement, involvement leads to commitment. I would argue that commitment is the most volatile element in its formation, there are a lot of personal factors that can dictate one’s feeling of commitment to any particular thing; but when solidified it becomes a strong pillar of one’s societal bond.

If you view attachment as the foundation, and involvement and commitment as the walls of a house, belief would form the roof of this analogous structure; you can’t start building the walls on a weak foundation or a roof without any support. I don’t view belief as the least important element, but as the last step of the process and a culmination of the elements before it. Only with the combination of strong senses of attachment, involvement, and commitment will one develop his/her belief.

2.) As is mentioned above, the main argument of the social bond theory is that deviant acts are the consequences of one’s fragile societal bond, or in other words, low self-control (Valenzuela et al., 2014, p. 105). According to this theory, deviant acts such as robbery, murder and destruction of property among others, is the result of one having weak bonds to society or lack thereof. For example, one could extrapolate that an offender decided to commit thievery due to a weak attachment or a lack of respect of his/her peers; or an offender committing arson due to a non-existent investment to society. Having this perspective furthers the notion that crime is a choice on the offender’s part and is not an uncontrollable factor such as in a biological perspective.

Viewing the different elements of the societal bonds (attachment, involvement, commitment, and belief) as a sequence with differentiated importance, I argue that the strength of one’s societal bond depends on the strength of each of the elements. For example, one with a societal bond that has a weak belief element is comparably weaker than one with a societal bond that has a weak attachment element, as I hold the attachment element with more importance. The attachment element is the most important because of its central role of developing the other elements as the starting point. If one has difficulty with attachment, it would be hard pressed for that person to develop involvement, commitment, and belief. On the other hand, while belief can have a central role in someone’s abstinence of deviance, I argue that it would be easier to alter or replace one’s belief than it would be to solve attachment issues.