Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

The Phenomenon of Social Control


The Phenomenon  of Social Control

A society marked with the growing deviations from the rules and regulations are considered to have weaker social control. Basically social control is the apparatus of controlling human social behavior so as to bring it in conformity with the rules, regulations, norms and values of the society. It can be either intentional or non-intentional; further it can also be divided into formal and informal. In a given society there are two ways of social control. First one is through the internalization of the norms and values. This is largely an informal social control introduced in the society through traditional and cultural values. The fact that a person is born in a given society with its particular social setup, prepares the way for internalization of the customs, norms and mores. Throughout the nourishment of an individual these factors keep on inculcating in the people their sanctity, importance and their value.

Groups and institutions in this regard can play a vital role. Family is the first institution wherein all the people get their basic internalization of the norms and values. Moreover, there are different types of primary and secondary groups with whom the people interact and get their share of socialization from them. In addition, there are many other institutions that take active part in socializing the people and bringing their behaviors in compliance with the established values.

The second type of social control can included external sanctions, punishments and rewards. It is more formal than the first one. The law and order system in a society can be best presented as an example of such a control. The obedience of the law and order system guarantees, though not always, a reward. This reward can be in the form of less interference of law and order enforcing authorities and even in the form of respect and dignity of an individual as a reputable citizen. On the other hand deviance from the law and order system may result into different sorts of punishment. The punishment is mostly predetermined in accordance to the nature of the deviance.

It mostly results into imprisonment or charging fine. Sociologists believe that the internalization of the norms and values is more effective than the external punishment and reward tactic, as it is closer to natural learning process.
There are certain institutions that are not strictly demarcated as formal and informal. At the same time they may fall in both the categories. Schools, colleges, universities offices and other types of organizations fall in such a category. They have the formal rules, regulations and procedures and at the same time there are informal control mechanisms existing in them. Furthermore, the nature of the institutions also differs in determining the degree of social control being emphasized by them. The government controlled institutions in this regard tend to emphasize more control, while the private ones do have certain leniency.
Why should there be social control at all? Is it really imperative?

There have been controversies in this regard. There are thinkers who suggest that individual liberty stands paramount and must not be sacrificed for the norms and values that give them nothing else except bondage. The traditional and cultural values, in their perspective, tend to restrict human's real personality to emerge in the society and can also have dominant impact on an individual's creativity. With the rise of individualism and democratic norms and values, such types of ideas are overwhelmingly propagated by some of the thinkers.

On the other hand the ones who oppose such a notion remark that human beings are compelled to live a collective life and in collective life they are not supposed to do whatever they please to, as their actions are always bound to have impacts on the fellow beings. And the social control is necessary to keep human behavior in check so that it must not violate the rights of others.

The best solution to the issue mentioned above lie in adopting a moderate course of action. Social control is necessary as long as there are societies existing in the world. But they must not turn so much strict that human beings along with their creativities and new ideas should suffocate. Social control demands strict adherence to the norms and values of the society and most of the times these norms and values turn ridiculous as there are changes in human society that demand necessary updates in the values.

Clinging to unnecessary mores and values can only make the people suffer from backwardness. On the other hand, complete leniency can also result into anarchy and the society moves towards nowhere. Therefore, a balance has to be maintained that can guarantee enough control and at the same time allow enough leniency for better development and growth.

The issue of social control in our country Afghanistan is an important one as the rate of social deviations is becoming rampant. It is difficult to support this claim as Afghanistan has been a tribal and extremely religious society and the social control has been demanded to a great extend, therefore suggesting that social deviations are rampant is seemingly difficult to maintain. Actually, the sort of social control suggested by Afghan tribal and narrow minded extremist religious teachings are only for the few sections of the society; giving high hand to certain other sections.

For example, the strict norms and values of our country have mostly restricted the women and the poor people of the country, while men and the ruling class have always enjoyed the relaxations. On the other hand the social control mechanism has been so much suffocating that the people, every now and then, find out leakages so as to have some air to breath. This easily leads to the deviations from the norms and values.

In the recent years there have been developments in Afghanistan and the country can not be considered tribal in complete sense. The new government is being called democratic and there are supports of movement towards modernization. The constitution of the country has been developed and the legal system seems to have improved. But the control mechanism does not seem very much healthy. A large number of people are involved in corruption and violation of the law and order system in the country. The basic reason in this regard is the immaturity of political and legal system of the country. They have not been able to reward the well doers and punish the culprits; rather they are busy in serving the egocentric motives of only a small number of people.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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