Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: March 31, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781446200926 | Print ISBN: 9781412920384 | Online ISBN: 9781446200926| Publisher:SAGE Publications LtdAbout this handbook
Chapter 6: Control Theories
Ray Paternoster & Ronet Bachman
Control theories As discussed in the last chapter of this volume, strain theories in criminology generally attempt to answer the question, “If human beings are adequately socialized and under normal circumstances they will comply with norms and laws, why do they sometimes commit crimes?” At the individual level, the answer to this question is that people commit crimes because they feel strain or experience some stressful or unpleasant experience which in turn motivates them to break the rules that they would normally comply with. Thus, strain theories begin with the assumption that conformity can be taken for granted because of normally effective socialization, and it is rule breaking or deviance that is in need of explanation. The explanation for rule-breaking lies in between-individual variation in criminal motivation of some sort. Control theories, on the other hand, begin with a very different assumption of human nature. Control theories begin with the ...