What made his theory controversial is that he challenged the validity of Sutherland’s differential association theory and Merton’s strain theory. For him, alternative theories cannot co-exist. Hirschi departed from Sutherland and Merton because he stressed that he alone asked the right question, which is what stopped people from breaking laws.
Hirschi’s social bond theory is based on Durkheim and Hobbes. He asserted that Durkheim explained egoism and anomie as part of deregulation, where deviancy follows from deregulation. As for Hobbes, Hirschi emphasized that it is wrong to assume that people are generally moral or fearful, which is why they follow laws. He stressed that motivations are too subjective and internal to account for conformity, and instead, only when individuals lose social control that they begin assessing the rewards of crime the way criminals do. He clarified that motivation is unimportant to criminality because people tend to see the benefits of crimes equally, whether they are criminals or not. Thus, they have equal motivational sources. Hirschi argued that weak social bonds, not motivation, cause criminality. He determined the four bonds as attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief. His views are different from classical school theories because he saw crime as being available to everyone and he asserted that weak or absent social bonds specifically drive people to pursue the benefits of criminality.
Hirschi defines attachment as the emotional connection between the youth and adults, especially parents. The youth avoid crime because they do not want to earn the disapproval of their parents, for instance. Commitment pertains to high educational and workplace aspirations. Conformity becomes a higher stake than crime. Involvement pertains to participation in diverse social activities. Lack of involvement creates opportunities for crime. Belief refers to believing in the validity of laws and