The Role of Formal and Informal Social Control Behaviors

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Peter L. Berger argues that informal social control is more powerful than formal controls like law, police, and prisons. What makes informal social control like ridicule and gossip so powerful? Social control discusses as a set of limited values and norms that are considered acceptable within society. There are two types of social control; informal and formal. Formal social control is that which is practiced by specific social agencies which have the role of maintaining order in society such as the police force. Informal social control is more subtle and reflects on the social interaction between people for example education. Formal and informal are designations that are given by an empowering body, usually the government but can also being a church etc. Formal social control agencies are then those agencies of the government that are authorized with social control roles, the police for example, and informal social controls agencies are social networks or organizations that are implicitly supported by the government but not directly created or controlled by the government. Both types of social control are effective in controlling the behavior of individuals. I believe that formal social control keeps society together. The legal system gives people boundaries and creates a system of what is wrong and what is right. Moreover, Tribunal provides a means of checking whether those laws reflect the majority of society. Therefore the law exists to maintain social unity. For example, unity can take many forms. One form of unity is that the cooperation of different elements in a larger project. This bears a similarity to a conception of unity found in aesthetics sometimes known as “unity in variety.” This is the success of unity within an artistic work among various distinct origins. The larger the number of elements that are successfully united, the greater,

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