What are the Goals of Social Control?

 Content -

  1. Introduction
  2. Conformity
  3. Uniformity
  4. Solidarity
  5. Continuity 
  6. Social Change 


The terms social control’ is broadly concerned with the maintenance of order and stability in society. It may be used in the limited sense of denoting the various specialized means employed to maintain order such as codes, courts, and constables. It is also used to categories social institutions and their inter-relations insofar as they contribute specifically to social stability legal, religious, political institutions, etc. Social control is one of the most fundamental subjects of sociological discussion. It arises in all discussions about the nature and causes of both stability and change.

From many of the definitions of social control, which we have reviewed earlier, it becomes clear that social control is supposed to achieve several important goals. Some of these goals are:

5-Goals of Social Control 

  1. Conformity
  2. Uniformity
  3. Solidarity
  4. Continuity 
  5. Social Change 


One of the aims of social control is to bring about conformity in society. Social control mechanisms are employed to control, check, or prevent deviant behavior. As we shall see in Unit 31, deviant behavior is dysfunctional to society in several ways. The objective of social control is to safeguard the group against such dysfunctional consequences of deviant behavior.

2- Uniformity

A related objective of social control is to produce uniformity of behavior. This does not mean that all the members must behave alike. It only implies that there should be some co-ordinations, among the several interrelated activities performed by different people. 

For example, the movement of traffic on a road will be impossible if some traffic rules (keeping to the left, etc.) are not followed by all road users. A game cannot be played if uniform rules are not followed by all teams and their members. In every sphere of social life, some uniformity of behavior is not only expected but is also essential.

3- Solidarity

This is a very important objective of social control. As MacIver and Page (1985) have noted, social control ensures order and solidarity in society. Society is constituted of several parts and units. These different parts must maintain an equilibrium with each other, and with the whole to ensure social solidarity and stability. The mechanisms of social control are directed at maintaining this equilibrium among the parts, and between the parts and the whole.

4- Continuity

Social control is also necessary to maintain and preserve the accumulated culture of the group. By compelling or inducing individuals to conform to the prevailing norms and values, continuity of these cultural characteristics is ensured. 

For example, when parents insist on their children following family customs or practices, their continuity over generations is sought to be assured.

5- Social Change

Social control is employed not only to conserve the existing patterns but also sometimes to induce desired social changes. In our country, many methods of persuasion, inducement, and compulsion are used to bring about desired changes in some social customs, attitudes, and behaviors. Prescribing the age of marriage. Two children’s family norms, removal of untouchability, dowry, etc. are some of the examples of attempts to bring about social change through various means of social control.


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