If human beings categorize behavior, experiences and events in a way they appear as representations of reality with effects that people can experience positively or negatively. Crime is examples of these social realities that people can collectively construct, deconstruct, and replace with less harmful realities (Rafter 1990). Crime is a violation of criminal law while deviance is a threatening and moral offensive behavior. Crime is harmful because it leads to people facing losses. Crime leads to physical, social and psychological harm. According to the authors of the article, several factors lead to rise and fall of crime. These are rise in criminal activities, social constructed fear of crime presence and a willingness of authorities classify some activities as potential crimes. The authors, however, state that real developments in crime are hard to establish because crime is a social construction.
In the first article, Pratt (2004) states that the main cause of crime in society is lack of parental socialization. Social constructionism draws on nominal philosophical tradition that social reality does not have any independent existence outside a human mind. Human beings, therefore, interpret the world as they like and make judgments according to how they perceive things. Human beings make representations in their mind that they believe reflect reality. This is in contrast to parental socialization, which takes the form of parental reaction to children's behavior, emotion and expression of emotion (Pratt 2004). These three studies provide a structure that will help in determining a child's self-control. When parents choose to involve themselves in their children's life, this will strengthen the parent-child relationship.
The first article argues that lack of parental socialization develops low social competence and in turn leads children to develop low self-control. Parental negative emotionality affects parental behavior, moral reasoning, aggression, pro-social behavior, beliefs and gender-role development. Parents need to develop the way they socialize with their children. This sets the foundation for the children to develop self-control that will make the children not to engage in criminal behaviors (Pratt 2004). The second article contrasts with the first in which it gives another version of social control theory. The second article suggests that, through social interaction, human beings develop behaviors and actions. These actions can be either ethical or anti-social in nature. A social constructionist suggests that a given behavior or act example domestic violence or crime, becomes a social problem if social groups choose to see it that way (Rafter 1990). Social groups will mobilize social response measures to prohibit these behaviors since they are wrong.
Social control theory states that there is a need of controls in the society that will prohibit people from committing crime. One of these ways can be through parental socialization. When parents socialize with their children, they can instill good ethics and proper behaviors that that will make the child a responsible person. A responsible person who believes in taking responsibility for his actions is a person with a high level of social control. This person knows the implications of crime. This makes the chances of him committing crime close to nil. Through social interactions, people develop certain behaviors that can be good or bad. Social control theory takes form here, in that when a person socializes with the right people in society this will ensure that he learns of ethical behaviors. Practicing ethical behavior in the community makes a person to develop high levels of social control. A person will not commit a crime if he believes in ethics and good morals in society. People should learn how to control their actions. This will make them refrain from committing un-ethical behaviors. Social control is crucial for every human being. Social control helps a person to control his behaviors and make him a responsible member of the society.
Pratt, Travis C., Michael G. Turner, and Alex R. Piquero. (2004). Parental Socialization and Community Context: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Structural Sources of Low Self-Control. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 41: 219-243.
Rafter, Nicole Hahn. (1990). The Social Construction of Crime and Crime Control. Journal on Research in Crime and Delinquency 27: 376-389.