4 Consequences of Social Control

Social control is seen as necessary for promoting continuing stability and conformity in societies, it can become dysfunctional at times.  The following are some of the dysfunctional aspects of social control.

4 Consequences of Social Control

  1. Exploitation
  2. Inhibiting Reform and Change
  3. Psychological Pressures
  4. Social Tension


Social control may sometimes become a subtle means of exploitation.  Some of the dominant groups or individuals may simply use it to fulfill their own vested interests. These interests may be political, economic, or social.  In such cases, the real motivations are hidden under the cover of some laudable objectives.  A ruling party may try to perpetuate its rule, or a business firm may try to sell its substandard goods by means of utilizing the techniques of social control.

2- Inhibiting Reform and Change

Social control may have limiting consequences in that it may sometimes inhibit creativity, and obstruct attempts at constructive reforms and social change

3- Psychological Pressures

Social control may also exert an enormous amount of emotional and psychological pressure on some individuals.  The best example is that of the institutions such as prisons and mental hospitals.  The strict regime and oppressive atmosphere sometimes create mental tensions and even illnesses among them.  Similarly, where parents have very strict standards of discipline, their children’s personalities do not develop in a normal way.  In repressive police-states, many individuals, likewise, suffer from stress and tension.  Thus, the individual must pay a price for social control in psychological terms.

Read: Goals of Social Control 

4- Social Tensions

Social control may also lead to social tensions, particularly in a large, complex society. Here, there may be different groups with their distinctive interests, norms, and values that may conflict with each other.  When attempts are made by one or more groups to impose their own standards on others, conflict and struggle become inevitable.


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