In this article we will discuss about Social Control. After reading this article you will learn about:- 1. Meaning of Social Control 2. Means of Social Control 3. Types 4. Unfavourable Effect on Personality Development.
- Meaning of Social Control
- Means of Social Control
- Types of Social Control
- Unfavourable Effect of Rigid Social Control on Personality Development
1. Meaning of Social Control:
Social control, therefore, refers to use of physical force or symbols to bring about a prescribed group under one’s control. Social control may vary according to social organisation and individual make up. A child who is rebellious normal means of social control may not be applicable to him.
The kind of social control depends upon the type of personality and the nature of social organization. In a society where slavery is considered as a social organisation, a different means of social control is used to control the slaves.
2. Means of Social Control:
Means of social control may be divided in to:
(i) Positive means of social control.
(ii) Negative means of social control.
(i) Positive Means of Social Control:
Monetary encouragement, financial incentives C like reward, bonus, prizes are important means of social control through positive reinforcement.
(ii) Negative Means of Social Control:
This includes punishment, torture, stoppage of free speech, pressure etc. Here the activities are both muscular and verbal or motor and nonmotor. Negative symbolic means of social control are criticism of people, writing unanimous letter, satire, threat, name calling and verbal pressure etc.
Social control can also be primary and secondary. Family is a primary group and the head of the family controls the other members in every respect as well as plays the dominant role. In a joint family usually the eldest member of the family controls the whole family economically and socially. In some families/joint families, however, the earning member controls the family.
In a joint family if one or two members remain unemployed or are not able to earn something for their livelihood, the other members feed them and take care of them. But, gradually, due to modern civilization, the joint family system is disintegrating. When the whole burden of the family falls on one person, he is so overburdened and worried that sometimes it affects the peace of the family.
In patriarchic joint family, the father controls the other members of the family including the mother. But in matriachic joint family, the mother controls the family members. In India, mostly patriarchic joint families and patriarchic families are seen. But in some areas, matriarchic joint families are also seen. Under what conditions a matriarchic joint family seems to operate?
When the mother is educated and also an earning member, when the father is not earning, when females are permitted to get major share of paternal property by law, when women asset their rights, have a dominate personality and when the women are given due respect and responsibility by the society, a matriatic joint family operates.
When a particular member controls the whole family, he is known as the controlling member. Who controls the controlling member? The controlling member is controlled by the neighbourhood and customs of the society and laws of the state.
In India, specially in villages, the neighbourhood controls the social customs and traditions to be followed by a family. In marriage ceremonies and social functions, the customs of the society are followed.
Thus, in such cases, the society controls human behaviour and actions. The head of a joint family may not beat his child for the fear of being criticized by the neighbourhood and family members, similarly, couples may not quarrel with each other because the neighbourhood may not like it and may criticise them.
A husband may not scold and beat his wife for the fear of being rejected by the neighbourhood and other family members as well and also for the fear of being punished by law. Thus, social control works in a hierarchic order.
3. Types of Social Control:
(i) Secondary Social Control:
The personality of the controller is significant for neighbourhood control. The social organisation also plays an important role here. In villages neighbourhood control is more often found. But in cities and towns one neighbour is a stranger to the other neighbour.
Secondary control is exercised by tradition, cultural patterns and social functions. In such occasions, like marriage, thread ceremony, sradha ceremony, the neighbourhood controls.
(ii) Primary Social Control:
Primary social control may again be of two types:
1. Dictatorial Social Control:
In a family parents may try to control the child by dictatorial means, without taking into account the feeling of other members of the family and neighbourhood. Such families becomes anti- social as there is excessive hatred towards the head of the family. There is no good cooperation among the members of the family and work never becomes a success when done in a coordinated way.
2. Democratic Social Control:
It has been found that the total outcome of a democratic atmosphere in a family is always beneficial. They are cooperative and the interpersonal relationship is much better than found in a dictatorial family where gap in communication among the various family members is a common phenomena.
(iii) Other Types of Social Control:
Over and above these types of social control, there are three other types of social control. They are:
1. Religious Social Control:
When the individual is controlled by religious organisations, he is controlled by the religious punishment that his children would get or he would get either while living or after death. Thus, people develop religious and moral attitudes and good human values to behave in acceptable ways and to avoid divine punishment. Being afraid of religious punishments, they avoid doing injustice to anybody or illegal and unacceptable behaviour.
Their entire behaviour pattern is determined and controlled by the religious and moral values. One who wants to murder his relative to get all his property may not do so because of the fear of divine punishment. The priests and religious heads of the society, the religious books like Bible, Koran, Bhagavad-Gita, Ramayana and Veda etc. control people in many ways.
2. Economic Social Control:
In the contemporary society, economic control is of greater importance than the other controls.
The economic control is made operative by the following means:
(1) By controlling the means of production.
(2) By controlling the whole society or community through economic means.
An industrialist controls millions of employees and officers. If several such industrialists join hand together, they can control the whole of the world as is found in capitalistic countries. But this is not possible in an agricultural country, like India. As in India, people have different means of leading their livelihood besides industry.
Thus, by economic means the higher class controls the lower class. Rich people and industrialists have a social status by which they control their workers and the mass. But, nevertheless, one cannot deny that the workers try to control the factory owners and industrialists by the help of trade unions. This has become an everyday phenomenon in industrial and organisational sectors.
There is much conflict between the two groups, the employers and the employees, the ruler and the ruling class. These are direct means of economic control. Economic control is also possible through indirect means, like becoming a political leader, a newspaper owner or editor secretary or president of an organisation, or a club.
Sometimes, people involved in may religious societies and organizations get economic help from inside and outside the country. This helps them to control the members of the society through economic means.
3. Political Social Control:
Political control exerts tremendous pressure on the public besides religious and economic control. It is often seen that control of the state or government is increasing gradually.
During the last two wars state became a very powerful means of social control and even by the state many branches of industrialists are controlled. State controls the members of the society by protecting their life, domestic peace and property from outside aggression. Hence, political control has earned greater importance and prominence during the recent past in the area of social control.
4. Unfavorable Effect of Rigid Social Control on Personality Development:
Rigid and unhealthy social control may give rise to personality and social maladjustments. Due to strong social control, people suppress their spontaneous feelings and subsequently, due to severe frustration, they become quite aggressive.
The percentage of abnormality and maladjustment is quite high in civilized and urban societies, due to high degree of rigid social control. Due to rigid class and caste system, like India, people of the lower strata do not get enough facility for free expression of their opinions, desires and aspirations. Consequently, they suffer from terrible disappointment and frustration which lead to hostility and aggression.
As long as there is rigid social control, there is frustration an social and personal maladjustment. Hence, social control should not be rigid but dynamic and flexible and should not be based on any negative means of social control.