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Chapter 5: Law and Social Control (+ Social Control of Dissent!)

Social control refers to the methods used by members of a society to maintain order and promote predictability of behavior. There are different forms of control and law is only one of them.


Methods of informal social controls are best exemplified by folkways and traditions. Informal mechanism tends to be more effective in group and societies where relations are face-to-face and intimate and where the division of labor is simple. The informal social control work better in small communities that are homogeneous.


Formal social controls are usually characteristics of more complex societies with a greater division of labor, heterogeneous population, and subgroup with competing values and different set of traditions. Those mechanism are more routine and standardizes, they fallow a certain procedure. Here positive sanctions are used seldom.

Criminal Sanction

The social control of criminal and delinquent behavior exemplifies the most highly structured formal system used by society.
The laws enacted by the legislators and modified by court decisions define criminal and delinquent behavior and specify the sanctions imposed for violentation. The term legalization is used to describe the process by which norms are moved from the social to the legal level. Not all social norms become laws. The process of legalization of social norms also entails the incorporation of specific punishments for specific kind of criminal law violators. Fitting the right punishment to an violation of law is difficult and it’s vary from state to state. Punishment is to punish the criminal but also to deter. Deterrence result from the warning of what could happen if donning the same mistake. However, sociologists have long recognized that punishment may deter only some crimes and some offenders (criminals).

Death Penalty

As the most server form of punishment, the death penalty is the most obvious controversial and emotional issue in the concept of deterrence. In the 18th in England the death penalty was imposed on 200 English men. These executions were spectacles in the street of England. The death penalty is difficult we all know the pro and cons, no need to explain further.

Crimes without Victims

The US invests enormous resources in controlling victimless crimes where harm occurs primary to the participating individuals themselves. The criminalization of some acts that have no victims steams from the facts that society regards those acts as morally repugnant and wishes to restrain individuals from engaging in them. Many of those arrested for victim less crimes are never prosecuted. There is a extensive victimless crimes literature dealing with drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, abortion, homosexuality, suicide, alcoholism, pornography etc.

Drug Addiction

The use of drugs has become a criminal act in the US since 1914. In the US drugs are a major problem; 60 % of the overall in the world are used by Americans. At the moment the situation is very dramatically. The black market the dealers, and those who are addicted. In short there is a little prospect of effective control of drugs throughout the criminal law in the US. There are two controversial alternatives, however. The first is a consideration of drugs addiction and drugs use more as an medical than a legal problem with an emphasize on comprehensive treatment. The second is to legalize drugs. In order to control the supply. ( ska kurgjo interesant, veq do shifra po ato sna vyne. )


If there is one area in the criminal law that arouses the most anxiety concerning public morals, it is sexual conduct. The range of sexual conduct covered by the law is so great and extensive that the law makes potential criminal of most teenagers and adults-especially with the increase of cybersex. One of the justifications of such complete control of sexual behavior is to protect the family system.
However many women maintain that women should have the right to engage in sexual relation for pay when they desire.
As long as there is a demand for prostitution there will be women who chose to sell their body.


About 70 % of all Americans public gamble. And about 90 % live near a casino within 200 miles. There are states where gambling is illegal but there are also many states where it is legal. Illegal gambling provides the largest source of revenue to organized crimes. A complete hierarchy is required to distribute the forms and to collect and to play off bets.

With- Collar Crime

White-collar crimes are essentially crimes of privilege. . WCC constitute a more serious threat to the well-being and integrity of our society than more traditional kinds of crimes. The full of WCC is difficult to assess. Many illegal corporate activities go undetected, and many wealthy individuals are able to evade taxes for years without being found out. The concept WCC generally incorporates both occupational and corporate crimes. Some individuals commit crimes in concentration with their occupation. Second, corporate crimes are considerate those illegal activities that are committed in the furtherance of business operation, nut that are not the central purpose of business.
Corporate crime is controlled by a variety of agencies.

Social Control of Dissent

A dissent group is a group of people who don’t agree with the current government or with the current political system. A state must be very carefully how it’s going to respond because when the respond is to tough than that could be seen as hindrance for free speech. One way of controlling dissent is trough the various selection processes used to place individuals into desirable social positions. Control can also be achieved through the manipulation of the structure of material benefits. Of course there is also CIA types of organization which helps to held dissent groups under control, but there is thin line between governmental control of dissent and the creation of a policy state.

Administrative Law and Social Control

A broadly and popular held misconception about the law is that it consist almost entirely of criminal law. Another misconception is that all laws can be divided into criminal law and civil law. In real the laws also take care about the private primary activates like marketing electricity, natural gas etj.


The power of administrative law goes beyond the setting of standards and the pushing of those who fail to comply. With licenses you can control the use and you know how much was consumed.


Inspection is a way of monitoring things. Such inspections verify whether plans can fly, train can move. It also prohibits the sale of not qualitative food, or other products.

Threat of Publicity

In small communities where people tend to know each other, adversely publicizing wrongdoers can have a significant effect on changing their behavior.