Formal Social Control And Informal Social Deviance

1169 WordsOct 1, 20175 Pages
In society, there are sanctions that are used to prevent, stop, and punish behavior viewed as bad or unacceptable. These unaccepted behaviors are called social deviance, and these sanctions are enforced through two forms of social control: formal social control, and informal social control. Both of these forms of social control work towards achieving the same goal: discouraging violations of society’s accepted behaviors, or social deviance, and punishing those who do. But what is the difference between these two forms of social control? How are these social control mechanisms carried out? Formal social control is a form of control that is “carried out by authorized agents, such as police officers, judges, school administrators,…show more content…
In this case, judges and religious officials are the agents of formal social control. These laws and rules work well in terms of stopping this unwanted behavior because of the penalties that follow if one deviates. Whether one agrees with the military hair rules and laws about same-sex marriage or not, they will often follow them, as they will other rules and laws, as to avoid the punishments that would follow if they were to break them. Informal social control is a form of social control used “casually to enforce norms” (Schaefer 149). Informal social control is not enforced with rules or laws. Typically, informal social control agents are just everyday people. When people notice social deviance, they will use informal social control mechanisms including “smiles, laughter, a raised eyebrow, and ridicule” (Schaefer 149) to combat this deviance. For example, it is widely accepted in the United States that one should walk on the right side of the hallway, sidewalk, aisle, etc. However, there is no formally written rule or law stating that walking on the left side is unacceptable. Therefore, when someone walks on the left, there is no formal form of punishment. However, this person will likely be met with dirty looks or raised eyebrows from the people around them. Therefore, because of this informal social control, people generally adhere to unwritten rule of walking on the right side. Similarly, it is widely accepted that people should hold the
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