In Causes of Delinquency, Hirschi attempts to state and test a theory of delinquency, seeing in the delinquent a person relatively free of the intimate attachments, the aspirations, and the moral beliefs that bind most people to a life within the law. In prominent alternative theories, the delinquent appears either as a frustrated striver forced into delinquency by his acceptance of the goals common to us all, or as an innocent foreigner attempting to obey the rules of a society that is not in position to make the law or define conduct as good or evil. Hirschi analyzes a large body of data on delinquency collected in Western Contra Costa County, California, contrasting throughout the assumptions of the strain, control, and cultural deviance theories. He outlines the assumptions of these theories and discusses the logical and empirical difficulties attributed to each of them. Then draws from sources an outline of social control theory, the theory that informs the subsequent analysis and which is advocated here.
Often listed as a "Citation Classic," Causes of Delinquency retains its force and cogency with age. It is an important volume and a necessary addition to the libraries of sociologists, criminologists, scholars and students in the area of delinquency.
Introduction to the Transaction Edition
I. Perspectives on Delinquency
II. A Control Theory of Delinquency
Ill. The Sample and the Data
IV. What is Delinquency?
v. The Social Distribution of Delinquency
VI. Attachment to Parents
VII. Attachment to the School
VIII. Attachment to Peers
IX. Commitment to Conventional Lines of Action
X. Involvement in Conventional Activities
XII. A Look Back
A. Some Traditional Variables and Delinquency
B. A Note on Techniques of Analysis
c. Research Instruments