Academic Master


How Social Control Theory Relates to John Gotti


John Gotti was an American citizen whose grandparents were Italians by birth. He was born on October 27, 1940. Gotti lived a life of poverty in a family of thirteen, with him being the fifth born. His father, who was a manual laborer, was the breadwinner of the family. At a very tender age, Gotti joined a crime group where he worked as an errand employee in the Gambino family, which was the largest structured crime group in New York City[1]. Later in his development and under the mentorship of Aniello Dellacroce, Gotti soon became the leader of Fulton Rockaway, a gang group. Most of his time he spent in jail, and later, he died in 2002 as a result of neck cancer while serving his life sentence term in Federal prison. Social control theory is a criminology theory developed in 1958 by Ivan Nye, who proposed that bad or crime-inclined behaviors in an individual can be suppressed by enhancing social education and promoting socialization among individuals [2]. Ivan suggested that this could promote an aspect of self-control in individuals that would, in turn, suppress inclined criminal behaviors.

How Social Control Theory Relates to John Gotti

Strain and cultural deviance theory is a theory that tries to explain that the chances of crime in society are majorly caused by cultural deviance and strain deviances. Cultural deviances suggest that crime in a community may be caused by some cultural activities that allow or promote behaviors that dishonor the law governing moral standards. The strain theory would suggest that a criminal act may result as a result of the gap that exists between culturally desired goals and the recommended means of obtaining the goal [3]. Subcultural theories suggest that deviance is caused by individuals breaking off from society with many subcultures and conforming to the culture that would fit their acts of crime. It is majorly catalyzed by peer pressure. Labeling theory is a criminological theory that suggests that when an individual has been labeled and marked as a deviant would then tend to develop characteristics or behaviors that are indeed deviant[4]. Victimization theory and the theory of crime and place can be explicitly explained from the perspective of the lifestyle of an individual. A good example is given where individuals who are exposed to and use drugs and related materials are at a higher risk of being victimized as criminals.

The crime lifestyle of John Gotti can be explained under strain and cultural theories. Glottis came from a very humble background, with most of his desired goals hidden from him by the curtain of financial constraints. This makes the young Glottis engage in criminal activities. It is written about a young man who, at the age of 12, had already joined a gang group in pursuit of his lifetime goals.

In the same manner, victimization theory can also explain the chances of Gotti engaging in criminal activities. For instance, victimization theory would relate the lifestyle of an individual to the act of crime. A good example is given to an individual who engages in drug trafficking or drug abuse to be at a higher risk of being victimized as a criminal [5]. It is plainly recorded in the biography of John Gotti that at some point in his life, he and his company were prosecuted for drug trafficking. This, according to victimization theory, would place Gotti as an individual who has deviant behaviors and a victim of crime.

The subcultural theory of criminology, on the other hand, does not hold any ground in the life of John Gotti to support his crime life. This theory suggests that an individual pulls off from a society with various subcultures and engages in a subculture that causes deviant behavior. It is also initiated by a strong influence of peer pressure. John Gotti, however, is not mentioned anywhere to be under any peer pressure influence as he decides to join a gang group. In fact, his decision to join a gang group is primarily influenced by his family’s economic status.

Labeling theory directly applies to the life of Gotti [6]. This theory suggests that when an individual has been marked or labeled to have deviant behaviors, then the individual would develop these unusual traits. A record of Gotti’s life shows that at some point, he was labeled by the FBI, who filled enough evidence against him as a criminal for engaging in a dishonest business.

In conclusion, crime is a disease that needs to be cut off completely from humanity, and as a result, some crime theories have been developed to identify some of the major causes of crime and their control From the life of Gotti, it is evident that deviant behavior in an individual which may lead to crime can be explained by more than just one criminological theory.


Quinney, On Richard. “Reality of Crime.” Classic Writings in Law and Society: Contemporary Comments and Criticisms, 2017.

Quinney, Richard 1974 A. “Of Legal Order.” Classic Writings in Law and Society: Contemporary Comments and Criticisms, 2017.

Roepke, Wilhelm. The Social Reality of Crime. Routledge, 2017.

Woodiwiss, Michael. “Transnational Organised Crime: The Strange Career of an American Concept.” Critical Reflections on Transnational Organised Crime, Money Laundering, and Corruption, 2017.



Calculate Your Order

Standard price





Pop-up Message