Social Control Essay

574 Words3 Pages
What do sociologists mean by social control and when do social controls influence behavior? Social control is the means by which members of a society attempt to induce each other to comply with the society's norms. Social controls influence behavior constantly because they are internalized and come into play every time a person has a deviant impulse. How do the various theories explain deviance? Social -control theory argues that deviance is largely a matter of failed social controls. Merton believes that the strain between the norms that define socially appropriate goals and the norms that specify socially appropriate means for attaining these goals creates an atmosphere in which deviance will appear. Travis Hirschi says that persons with a weakened bond to their social group are likely to become deviant. Differential association and cultural transmission theories propose that deviance is a natural outgrowth of a person's contacts during socialization and can be a part of a subculture that can be transmitted indefinitely. Conflict theory traces the origin of criminal behavior to class conflict between the powerful and the weak and sees criminals as reasonable individuals forced by circumstance to break laws in order to regain some of what has been taken from them or denied to them by an exploitative system. Functionalist theory proposes that deviance enhances feelings of unity within a society and helps define and redefine the norms. Labeling theory concentrates on the reactions of others to deviance and studies which offenders are likely to be punished rather than which are likely to commit deviant acts.Deterrance theory suggests that deviance increases as the perceived risk of being punished decreases and that people are more likely to be deviant if they think of themselves as deviant. How might anomie create a climate for deviance? Durkheim believed that an

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