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Self-Control Theory

THE PRESUMPTION THAT virtually everyone in society is capable of illegal or criminal and other deviant behavior because people are clever enough to see their advantages, is the basis of self-control theory. People have no trouble inventing wrongful behaviors and then discovering the easiest ways to commit them, with no special motivation or learning required for their completion. Why, then, is not everyone a criminal? Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi's self-control theory, found in their A General Theory of Crime, stresses the importance of studying the factors that cause most individuals generally to obey the law, factors that center on a fear of the consequences for bad behavior.

Virtually all crimes promise to net the perpetrator some expression of immediate self-gratification, be it money without ...

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