SOCIAL STRUCTURAL THEORIES
Social structural theories attempt to explain why people commit crimes as related to the social structure of society. Social structural theories do not simply try to locate individuals above or below one another in the social structure; they try to locate individuals in terms of their relationship to one another within the structure.
Differential Opportunity Theory by Cloward and Ohlin
Differential opportunity theory proposes that deviant behaviors can be explained by their location in both the legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures. Higher incidences of crime are related to greater opportunities to commit crime. Many people will commit crime opportunistically if the climate is an advantageous one.
Social Control Theory by Hirschi
Social control theory argues that people are motivated to obey the law by social controls but that they do not need any special motivation to violate the law—this occurs naturally in the absence of any social controls. Since social control theorists assume everyone would violate the law if they could get away with it, they concentrate on explaining why people do not commit crime. Delinquent behavior results when the bond to society is weak or broken. The bond is made up of:
- Attachment to others
- Commitment or stake in the conformity.
- Involvement in conventional activities.
- Belief or endorsement of the conventional values or norms.