What is social control? Do you think the modes of social control in different spheres of society are different? Discuss.


By Mamta Dey , Subject matter expert.

Social Control is the way in which the norms, values, and orders of society regulate human behavior and actions. It is the controlling agent for people’s behavior in society. This control is necessary to have a desired behavior from the people.

There are two types of social control:

  1. Formal social control: This type of social control works on a larger ground in which government and laws are a part of it. For eg: traffic laws are a medium of social control by which the government controls the behavior of the people. Punishments are also a part of it due to which people are forced to follow the rules and regulations.
  2. Informal social control: This type of social control is any of the activities that regulate human behavior and interaction that are not based on laws. These types of social controls are enforced primarily within families, schools, or workplaces. For eg: criticism, disapproval, ridicule, sarcasm, and shame.

Social control can also be either positive or negative. It is a process by which people are either rewarded for their good behavior or they are punished for not following the rules and laws.

The modes of social control are different in different spheres of society. In pre-modern societies, the caste system was the controlling agent for the behavior of the people. Punishments were also there for the people violating the norms and values. However, in modern societies, government and laws are the controlling agents for human behavior. Hence, we can say that the modes of social control vary from society to society.

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