Polemics on the Etiology of Juvenile Delinquency: A Review of Some Multiple-Perspective Attacks on Travis Hirschi’s Social Bonding Theory

J Forbes Farmer


Influenced by Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan (1957 [1651]) and Emile Durkheim’s Le Suicide (1966 [1897]), criminologist Travis Hirschi wrote Causes of Delinquency (1969) in which he hypothesized that the more a juvenile is bonded to conventional society, the less likely he will become delinquent. Hirschi described four elements of the “social bond” (attachment, commitment, involvement and belief) and detailed the methodology he used to develop what is commonly referred to as “social bonding theory.” Although this enduring classic work has been seriously tested and highly praised for almost five decades for its classic contribution to the study and prevention of delinquency (and crime), it has also been sharply criticized from many theoretical and methodological perspectives. This paper provides an identification and review of several of those attacks.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/iss.v6i2.13746


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