Objective-After reading this article you will be able to
learn the primary concept of Social Control and its objective.
Social control is a central concept in sociology. All of us
are expected to behave in a certain way. It ranges from how to eat to giving
respect to our elders to driving to the left side of the road and obeying the
laws of the land. The very basic idea behind following certain desired rules is
to make collective social life possible. Community life is possible only in the
context of social constraints as a social living demands the sacrifice of individual
For example,one is always Social Control
and Change tempted to jump a traffic signal but does not do so for fear of
being fined. Thus, to function smoothly and efficiently society makes certain
rules and regulations and expects that its members will follow them.
such as families, schools, religious institutions, and media are some of the
agents that reinforce and maintain these rules. Many sanctions are not
applied directly but only by embedding certain values in the socialized person.
Thus, most people conform not because of fear but because they are internally
conditioned to do so. In the most fundamental sense ‘social control’ refers to
the capacity of a society to regulate itself according to desired principles
and Definition of Social Control
The purpose of social control is as the term indicates is
to exercise control over people in an effective manner. Confirming or
behaving in accordance with the norms of society is referred to as conformity.
In fact, in a modern complex society social order can be achieved by making the
people to accept and follow certain specified group norms. By maintaining
solidarity and stability among its member's society ensures its continuity. As a
result, the means of social control does not remain external to individual but
are followed unconsciously too and becomes the larger part of culture and gets
transmitted from one generation to another. And this is how a social order is
maintained. It delimits the chances of chaos and confusion in the functioning
of society. Therefore, social control is a necessary component of social order.
E.A. Ross, an
American Sociologist who introduced the concept Social Control in his famous
book “Social Control” published in 1901. He has defined social control as
“System of devices whereby society brings its members
into conformity with the accepted standards of behavior”. Others like Ogburn
and Minkoff have said that social control refers to “the patterns of pressure
which society exerts to maintain order and established rules”.
From the above definitions society exercises influence on
the behavior of the individual. The influence may be exercised by means of
public opinion, religion, morality, ideology or by coercion. Such influence is
exerted at various levels.
It may be the influence over all members of society or the influence of a dominant group over smaller groups or individuals. Some members exercise
and influence the behavior of others by having moral authority over them. The influence
of society over individuals or groups may also result in a benevolence and caregiving approach.
The objective of Social Control
Social control aims at bringing about conformity,
solidarity, and continuity of a particular group or society. Social control
attempts to achieve the following purposes.
To bring the behavior of individuals and groups
in tune with the established norms of society.
To bring solidarity and uniformity in the social
organizations. To establish stability in social relations.
To exercise control over social tensions and conflicts.
To provide fair and equal chances for
cooperation and competition to all individuals, groups, and institutions to realize
To facilitate appreciation and rewarding of
champions of social cause and take punitive actions against anti-social
Bringing desired modifications in the social
milieu, especially effecting required changes in the means and agencies of
Establishing primacy of social and
humanitarian values over individualistic and separatist list ends.
Providing for the protection and promotion of
the interests of the weak and vulnerable sections of society.
Forging alliance among the various groups and
institutions of society