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Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective$
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Michael Donnelly and Murray Straus

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780300085471

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300085471.001.0001

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Punishment, Child Development, and Crime

Punishment, Child Development, and Crime

A Theory of the Social Bond

(p.223) 16 Punishment, Child Development, and Crime
Corporal Punishment of Children in Theoretical Perspective

Thomas J. Scheff

Yale University Press

This chapter frames corporal punishment within a general theory of human conduct. The theory of social bonds proposes that personality, basic behaviors, and attitudes arise from the nature of relationships with others. The theory suggests that the extent to which children become effective and responsible adults depends upon the quality of their social bonds. Excerpts from videotaped episodes in a family in which spanking frequently occurred are used to illustrate the main thrust of the theory: spanking, along with other frequent behaviors, such as parents lecturing and threatening children, can be viewed as aspects of alienation and insecure bonds with the family. The chapter argues here that the state of social bonds determines wide reaches of human conduct. The theory proposed here depicts social relationships in terms of alienation and its opposite—solidarity.

Keywords:   human conduct, social bonds, personality, basic behaviors, attitudes, nature of relationships, alienation, solidarity

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