Honoree's Crime Theory Pivots on Self-Control

By Beal, Tom | AZ Daily Star, November 28, 2015 | Go to article overview

Honoree's Crime Theory Pivots on Self-Control


Beal, Tom, AZ Daily Star


The kids are all right.

Sociologist Travis Hirschi, a former UA faculty member whose studies on why most adolescents manage to stay out of legal trouble revolutionized the thinking of criminologists, says juvenile delinquency rates continue to drop.

Hirschi's lifelong work recently won him the international 2016 Stockholm Prize in Criminology, along with two other researchers.

Hirschi upended prevailing theories of the causes of juvenile crime while still a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, arguing that connections to family and community prevent delinquency, regardless of income level or social class.

If you love your kid and your kid loves you back, he will usually stay out of trouble to avoid disappointing you.

Hirschi's work ran counter to the prevailing theories of the time, some of which linked crime to social class and income.

Hirschi said one such theory posited that an American emphasis on success bred discontent among the poor because they couldn't achieve it and were somehow "forced into crime by the values of American society."

Another theory argued that crime was learned in certain subcultures and segments of the social order.

Hirschi didn't buy it. He had already done a survey of statistics and methodology in criminology while still in graduate school and dismissed much of it.

"That put a little pressure on me," he said. He needed to develop a new theory.

Hirschi decided to come at the problem from a different angle. Instead of exploring the reasons for crime, he decided to discover why the majority of children do not run afoul of the law. "If we are naturally capable of committing crime, why don't we?"

While still a grad student at Berkeley, he volunteered his time with a large survey of more than 5,000 juveniles in the city of Richmond, California. He was ultimately hired on to the survey team where he helped design the questionnaire and administer the surveys in school classrooms.

He and another researcher also combed local police records to verify the students' self-reporting of criminal activity. He was pleasantly surprised to find that most kids were not living a life of crime.

"I had to continually show these samples weren't biased toward good kids because the delinquents weren't there," he said.

"The theory that I espoused was to look at the bonds between the individual and society -- family, school, peers." The research confirmed that they were predictive of delinquent behavior, he said.

He identified four components of those bonds -- attachment, commitment, involvement and belief. Children with those bonds did not turn to self-destructive behavior. They made rational choices to stay out of trouble.

"My conclusion was that no parent wants his or her child to be a delinquent. Therefore anything that weakens the connection between the child and the family is conducive to criminal behavior. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Honoree's Crime Theory Pivots on Self-Control
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.