Once a person's bonds to society are weakened, what social processes can help to reattach them?
The Social Bond theory developed by Travis Hirschi (1969) stated that people who have stronger bonds to society are less prone to show deviant behavior (see the source below). The processes that bind people to the society and that can help them reattach themselves to society include attachments to societal institutions such as schools, religious and civic groups, and families. Therefore, a person who wanted to reattach herself or himself to society could form closer connections with his or her family. This person could also be part of civic and other groups. In addition, one's ties to society are strengthened through a commitment to abiding by the norms of the society. For example, a person who wanted to reattach him or herself to society would not follow deviant or illegal behavior such as using illicit drugs. One must also regard being attached to society as positive. These beliefs help a person reattach him or herself to society.
Hirschi, Travis. 1969. Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley: University of California Press.
One of the processes that can be used to reattach a person’s bond to society is building meaningful relationships. Relationships give the individual a sense of belonging. The important relationships that are critical for reattachment are those with family—especially parents and friends. Once the person is able to build relationships with the people they are already familiar with, they can slowly expand the circle to include other people in the community.
Another process of reattaching the individual is building on experiences. The person can go back to school or get a job. When the person becomes an active member of the community, they feel they are a part of society. Experiences such as working to earn and save money for the future can increase the person's sense of worth. These experiences help rebuild attachment because they represent acceptance, which the individual is looking for.
Although this is not easy to accomplish, reattaching people to society can be possible through positive life experiences and relationships. When a person’s bonds with society are weakened, these experiences and relationships can make them feel as if it is possible for society to actually for them. Three examples of such experiences or relationships are finding employment, marriage, or joining the military. When a person joins the military or gets a job, they can come to feel that it is possible for society to work for them. They get the satisfaction of having success in a situation that society approves of. Marriage helps tie people to society by making them feel personally worthwhile. In all of these cases, people can come to feel more attached to society.