Explain Forms of Social Control

Explain Forms of Social Control

Forms of Social Control

Social control refers to the various ways used by a society to maintain law and order and conformity to norms. It is critical in regulating and shaping individual and group behaviour.

Formal Social Control

  • Formal Social Control refers to mechanisms that are legally recognised, implemented by authorised individuals and agencies, and intended to enforce obedience to the law.
  • Police Force: The police are the primary agency in charge of maintaining law and order. Their overall role is to prevent crime, serve the community, and guarantee public safety.
  • Laws and Legislation: These mean rules establish how individuals should behave in a society. They are formal, written declarations by legislative bodies that define what is deemed acceptable behaviour.
  • Courts and Legal Systems: Courts make use of legal rules to determine cases and decide punishments when these rules are broken.
  • Prisons and Correctional Facilities: These tools of control are used as places of punishment and rehabilitation for people who have broken the law.

Informal Social Control

  • Informal Social Control performs the function of controlling an individual’s behaviour in a more subliminal or subconscious manner, utilising societal norms.
  • Family and Peer Influence: The family is the first socializer. It plays a vital role in shaping behaviour by teaching societal norms and rules. Peers also have a significant impact on an individual’s actions and decisions.
  • Education: Schools not only deliver knowledge but also instil societal norms and discipline.
  • Religion: It plays a fundamental role in shaping behaviour and instilling moral values.
  • Media and Public Opinions: The media can influence public opinions and standards of behaviour, serving as a mechanism for both constructing social norms and enforcing social sanctions.

Social Control and Criminal Patterns

  • Impact on Criminal Patterns: Both formal and informal forms of social control can influence criminal patterns. When social controls are weak, rates of deviant behaviour and crime tend to be high, whereas strong social controls can deter criminal behaviour.
  • Social Control Theory: This criminology theory, established by Travis Hirschi, argues that social controls are what prevent individuals from committing crimes. It primarily focuses on four key concepts: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief.

Remember, Social Controls are mechanisms, both formal and informal, used to promote conformity, prevent deviance, and control behaviour. They are critical for maintaining societal norms, order, and harmony.