Social Control

Revision of Social Control

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: emma camm
  • Created on: 15-01-11 15:21


Formal social control is that which is carried out by an agency specifically set up to ensure that people conform to a particular set of norms, especially the law.

  • Police
  • Courts
  • Prisons
  • Sometimes Army (marshal law)

Force people to obey the laws through formal sanctions

  • Fine
  • arrest
  • prison
1 of 11


The following agencies carry out informal social control which is not strictly social control but the socialisation of people into society's norms.

  • Family
  • School
  • Peers
  • Workplace
  • Mass Media
  • Religeon

They seek to internalise social routines so it is taken for granted that this is the correct way/incorrect way to act.

2 of 11

Social Control


Process of socialisation to internalise the norms and values of society.


Use of sanctions to punish or reward acceptable/unacceptable behaviour, they can be formal or informal.

  • Informal - Telling off, ridiculing, ostracism
  • Formal - fine, prison, yellow card (football)
3 of 11


Primary socialisation of offspring

Basic norms and values (table manners) are taught, learnt and reinforced through

Parental praise or admonishment

Rewards or punishment

All agents of social control point to the deline of the nuclear family as the reason for a rise in the levels of crime. The lack of primary socialisation.

Supernanny television programme

4 of 11


Murdock - 4 basic funtions of family

  • Sexual
  • Reproductive
  • Economic (provision & preparation of food)
  • Education (socialisation)
5 of 11


Primary socialisation

The process by which children learn the cultural norms of the society into which they are born. Primary socialization occurs largely in the family.

Secondary Socialisation

Secondary socialisation is the behavioural patterns reinforced by socialising agents of society (school/religion/media, etc.)

6 of 11

Crime & Deviance


Is behavior that violates criminal law. It can be defined through laws, through official police reports of crime, or through victimization surveys of persons who have been involved in crime but perhaps not involved with the police department.


Deviance is behavior that violates the norms of the social group in which the behavior occurs.

All crime is devience but not all devience is crime

7 of 11

Peer group/Friends

  • Important in providing an individuals view of themself
  • desire for acceptance & approval an important source of social control
  • Fear of ridcule and regection strongly influences behaviour
  • Peer groups as likely to promote deviance as conformity to societal goals
  • Deviant acts - Smoking, underage drinking, promiscuity, truancy.
  • Conformity to societal goals - Acceptance of traditional gender roles


8 of 11


Socialises pupils and sets standards of correct behaviour expected by society.

Achieved through positive and negative sanctions.

Positive - Good grades, awards, league tables, teacher recognition.

Negative - Poor grades, detention, suspension, expulsion

All part of the hidden curriculum

Hierarchy of school sets children up for hierarchy of society and the workplace.

9 of 11

Hidden Curriculum

Features & Lesson learnt

Privilages & responsibilities to older pupils

Respect for elders

School rules, positive and negative sanctions

Conformity to society's rules and laws

School assembly

Respect for religeous belief

Grading by ability and exam success/failure

The difference in pay & status between social classes-those who are more intelligent better educated, have higher pay, status and better jobs.

10 of 11

Police & Courts

11 of 11


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Culture and Socialisation resources »