Professor Linda Jenks
April 18, 2012
Social Control and Behavior
Cesare Beccaria argued that the threat of punishment controls crime. Do other forms of social control exist? Aside from the threat of legal punishment, what else controls your behavior?
Let me start with the first question. Do other forms of social control exist? My answer is yes it does. There are several forms of social control. I am going to look at the formal and the informal social controls. Repressive or coercive forms have a common distinction. They are often referred to as hard techniques. The hard techniques use direct physical restraint, such as the police and the military. The softer techniques use mass media to help shape the ideas, attitudes, and values. (Marshall, 1998)
Formal Social Controls
Formal social controls are the laws or rules that are written down for us to follow. These laws or rules apply to everyone equally. These rules or laws tell us what is and what is not acceptable when it comes to how we behave. The people who enforce these laws are the police and the courts. Sometimes the military is also called in to help enforce these laws. When you go to college or join an organization they have their own set of social controls on top of the ones we have to follow in society. The additional rules or laws we follow when we go to college is usually enforced by the dean of the school. (Livesey, 1995-2010)
Informal Social Controls
Informal control is used to reward people for their acceptable behavior and to punish people for their unacceptable behavior. Informal control can be a disapproving look, sarcasm, disapproving looks, ridicule, and so forth. Informal control differs from each person, group, and society. (Livesey, 1995-2010)
There are four types of social control that generally holds people back from doing anything unacceptable. (Hirschi & Gottfredson, 1994) Those four types... [continues]
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