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What is Social Control? Discuss the Main Agencies of Social Control in British Society Today.

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Introduction

What is Social Control? Discuss the Main Agencies of Social Control in British Society Today. In this assignment, I will attempt to show what social control is and how social control is achieved through the main agencies within British Society. To do this I will use the Internet and books and journals if and when necessary to back up any points I will be making. First of all we must define what social control actually is. Social Control is control we put upon ourselves - internal control - public opinion, norms and values and lawful control. Ross (1894) defined social control as being: - "The process by which a community conforms to a set of rules" He was concerned with creating harmony in society. He looked into how to persuade people to live to a set of rules. Anyone who various from these rules are seen as a deviant, a non-conformist, i.e. they are a criminal because they are acting in a manner that we, as a society, believe is being unacceptable to our norms and values. ...read more.

Middle

The first and most effective of the three is 'self control.' This is the control a person has over himself or herself. If a person has self control, then they a less likely to commit a crime. This is because we like to be perceived as a good law abiding citizen, once again relating to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Gottfredson & Hirschi's General Theory of Crime (1990) agrees with this by saying: - "It is self control that determines social control." The theory continues to say: - " The origin of crime is low self-control, which results from inadequate, ineffective, and inconsistent socialisation by parents early in childhood... What causes such behaviour is not the presence of something - learning- but the absence of something - self control." Most people in society have strong enough self-control to know right from wrong and what is honest and what isn't. Majority of society has thought about committing a crime at some point in their lives, but not everyone carries it through. Only those with low self-control commit crime. ...read more.

Conclusion

It teaches people what are acceptable social behaviours; thus, even the most highly disciplined and regimented, have--and need--social deviants. Deviance may strengthen group norms and values and reinforce their commitment to the group and its standards. Deviance may be both a sign and source of needed social change." He then finishes with: - "From the sociological point of view, what is considered deviant behaviour is entirely relative to and dependent on group or social definitions." So looking over what has been said, we can say that self-control is the best method of social control, as we like to be perceived as a good moral member of society. Only the weak-minded, those with no strong sense of self-control, deviate to such an extreme that they turn to crime. Formal control doesn't work like it should but it does enough to make the normal citizen feel safe on the streets. When people see a uniformed presence, they feel safer. We can see that a possible cause of crime is through lack of loving and nurturing during childhood. But all of the points mentioned add to crime and it will always be there as there as we will never have a one hundred percent conformist society, there will always be a deviant. ...read more.

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