CSS Solved Sociology Past Papers | Deviant behavior is the result of ineffective social control. Comment on the flaws existing in the formal and informal mechanisms of social control with examples and add how these mechanisms can be improved.
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In this question, the examiner demands a detailed account of deviant behaviour that gives rise to ineffective social control. Additionally, the elaboration of formal and informal mechanisms of social control with examples is required in an opinion context along with the methods to improve the mechanisms for prudent social control.
2- Is Deviant behaviour a result of ineffective social control?
3- Interrelation of Social control mechanism and Deviance w.r.t sociological perspectives
4- Flaws in the Formal Mechanism of social control
5- Loopholes in Informal Mechanism of social control
6- Remedial measures to ameliorate the social control mechanism
7- Recommended mechanisms of social control
Answer to the question
Deviant behavior or behavior that goes against social norms or expectations has long been a topic of interest in the field of sociology. One perspective on deviance is that it is the result of ineffective social control mechanisms. this suggests that formal and informal mechanisms that societies use to regulate the behavior of their members are flawed and need improvement. Formal mechanisms of social control include laws, regulations and other official rules and procedures. However, these mechanisms may have flaws such as selective enforcement or inadequate penalties for certain offences. For example, drug laws in many countries are ineffective in controlling drug use and may contribute to the problem by creating a black market and increasing the risk of violence. Informal mechanisms of social control include social norms, values and customs that shape behavior. However, these mechanisms may also have flaws such as inconsistent enforcement or a lack of cultural sensitivity. For example, some cultures have oppressive norms for a certain group of individuals. Enforcement of laws and regulations equivocally can improve the social control mechanism.
Is deviant behaviour the result of ineffective social control?
- Examples of Deviant Behaviour
- Formal deviance: breaking the rules of the campus
- Informal deviance: picking one’s nose, graffiti, political opposition
- Conditions or diseases: HIV, dwarfism, obesity, mental state
- Negative deviance: prostitution, alcoholism, suicide, drug- addiction
- Positive deviance: art, innovation, abolitionism.
Deviant behaviour is behaviour that violates social norms and expectations. It can range from minor infractions such as breaking traffic rules to more serious offences such as theft, assault or even murder. Social control refers to the various mechanisms that societies use to regulate the behaviour of their members and maintain order. These mechanisms can be formal such as laws and regulations, or informal such as social norms and values. Deviant behaviour is primarily the result of individual factors such as genetics, personality, or upbringing and social control mechanisms can only do so much to prevent it where social control is the primary factor in preventing deviant behaviour and ineffective social control leads to increased deviance.
One perspective that supports the idea that ineffective social control leads to deviant behaviour is the strain theory proposed by Robert K. Merton, a proponent of symbolic interactionism. According to this theory, individuals who experience a strain or pressure to achieve cultural goals but lack the means to do so are more likely to engage in deviant behaviour. In other words, when people feel that they cannot achieve success through legitimate means such as education and employment, they may turn to illegal or socially unacceptable means such as theft or drug dealing. This theory suggests that social control mechanisms that fail to provide individuals with legitimate means to achieve their goals may contribute to deviant behaviour.
Another perspective that supports the idea that ineffective social control leads to deviant behaviour is the labelling theory. According to this theory, Individuals who are labelled as deviant by society are more likely to engage in deviant behaviour in future. This is because being labelled as deviant can result in social exclusion, Loss of status and limited opportunities for legitimate means of achieving success. This theory suggests that social control mechanisms that rely on labelling individuals as deviant may contribute to the problem of deviant behaviour.
Along the same vein, some individual factors like genetics, personality or upbringing also play a significant role in the development of deviant behaviour and social control mechanisms may have a limited impact on these factors. Additionally, social control mechanisms can be effective in preventing deviant behaviour but they need to be implemented in a way that is fair, consistent and responsive to the needs of individuals.
Interrelation of Social control mechanism and Deviance w.r.t Sociological perspectives
The interrelation between social control mechanisms and deviance is a central theme in sociology. Deviance refers to behaviour that violates social norms, while social control mechanism refers to how society attempts to regulate and control this behaviour.
- Functional perspective:
From a functionalist perspective, deviance is seen as a necessary part of society that serves to reinforce social norms and values. According to this view, social control mechanisms, such as laws and regulations, help to maintain social order by defining and enforcing these norms. Deviance serves as a warning signal that a social norm is being violated and the response of society through social control mechanisms can strengthen social norms and values.
For example, the legal punishment for theft can serve as a deterrent to others and reinforce the norm that stealing is wrong.
- Conflict perspective:
From a conflict perspective, social control mechanisms are seen as tools of the powerful to maintain their dominance over the less powerful. According to this view, social control mechanisms are used to maintain the status quo and protect the interests of those in power. Deviance is seen as a response to inequality and oppression, as individuals or groups who feel marginalized may reject the dominant social norms and values.
For example, The Black Lives Matter movement can be seen as a response to the systemic racism and discrimination faced by Black people in the United States.
- Symbolic interaction perspective:
From a symbolic interactionist perspective, deviance is seen as a product of social interactions and the meanings attached to the behaviour. According to this view, social control mechanisms are based on shared meanings and interpretations of behaviour, and deviance arises when these meanings are contested or rejected. Deviant behaviour is seen as a response to the meanings attached to social norms and values and social control mechanisms are seen as tools to enforce these meanings.
For example, marijuana use can be seen as deviant behaviour in some contexts while in others it is seen as normal.
Flaws in the Formal Mechanism of social control
The formal mechanism of social control refers to the rules, regulations and laws that are enforced by government institutions and agencies. Although these mechanisms serve an important role in regulating behaviour and maintaining social order, they are not without flaws. some of the flaws in the flaws in the formal mechanism of social control include:
- Selective Enforcement:
Laws and regulations are often enforced unevenly, with some groups or individuals receiving preferential treatment while others are subjected to harsher penalties. This can be due to factors such as race, class or political power and can undermine the legitimacy of the legal system.
For example, the Colonial mindset and religious control in the FATA region regulate the institution of family, education and politics. Recently the 24% rise in religiosity in 2021 is the outcome of it(DAWN).
- Inadequate Penalties:
Some laws and regulations may have inadequate penalties that fail to deter criminal behaviour effectively.
For example, white-collar such as embezzlement or fraud may result in minimal penalties which can encourage repeat offences and contribute to public distrust of the legal system. Feudalism is the primary driver that escalates the hollow justice and corruption cancer in police departments and the judiciary.
The formal mechanism of social control can be sluggish to adapt to changing circumstances and may be overly rigid in its approach. This can result in laws and regulations that are outdated or no longer relevant which can lead to unintended consequences.
For example, the Use of the internet by youngsters in some rural areas, harsh rules for poor and flexible settings for rich people, female education in backward areas, colonial legacy in police departments following the same old fashion tactics and practices to regulate the law and order in society.
- Limited scope:
Laws and regulations often have a limited scope and may not address the underlying social or economic factors that contribute to deviant behaviour.
For example, Laws aimed at reducing drug use may not be effective in addressing the root causes of addiction such as poverty, lack of access to healthcare, mental health issues
Similarly, laws regarding juvenile delinquency are not functional due to the delayed justice system and are incompetent to cater for the social requirements. (DAWN).
The formal mechanism of social control can be influenced by bias or political agendas, which can result in unjust or discriminatory policies. This can undermine public trust in the legal system and contribute to deviant behaviour as individuals and groups feel marginalized or excluded.
For example, a nation within a nation scenario in the economic and political institutions of Pakistan. ‘social stratification’ is deterred by the unequal education in the society so the rich are getting rich while the poor are getting poor. On that wise, a dummy system is organized to nourish the rich segment of society via social institutions(DAWN).
Loopholes in the informal mechanism of social control
The informal mechanism of social control refers to the norms, values and customs that shape behaviour and regulate social interactions. While these mechanisms are often effective in promoting conformity to social norms, they can also have several loopholes that may contribute to deviant behaviour. Some of the loopholes in the informal mechanism of social control include:
- Inconsistent enforcement:
Informal mechanisms of social control are often enforced through social sanctions like shame or ostracism. However, enforcement can be inconsistent with some individuals or groups receiving preferential treatment or being exempt from social norms. This can lead to a breakdown in social cohesion and contribute to deviant behaviour.
For example, religious ideology and implications in society are preached via social pressure in Pakistan.
- Oppressive norms:
Some social norms and values may be oppressive or discriminatory, particularly towards marginalized groups such as women, racial minorities, or members of the LGBTQ community. This can contribute to deviant behaviour as individuals or groups reject oppressive norms and values.
For example, Aurat March depicts the uproar against misogyny and gender discrimination in Pakistan. Similarly, the code of conduct is organized by the KPK government for female students in colleges. Likewise, honour killing is an absurd practice in rural Sindh to regulate women’s chastity.1000 women annually became the victim of honour killing(DAWN).
- Cultural sensitivity:
Informal mechanisms of social control are rooted in cultural traditions and customs, which may not be universally applicable or sensitive to changing social circumstances. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts when cultural groups interact, contributing to deviant behaviour.
For example, strict and reserved behaviour in rural and backward areas leads to extremism. Quran cramming and not understanding have turned into a sacred custom in conservative families in Pakistan. These individuals are less prone to social change.
- Lack of legal protection:
Informal mechanisms of social control are not legally binding and do not offer legal protection to individuals who may be subjected to unfair or discriminatory treatment. This can create a climate of impunity for those who violate social norms and contribute to deviant behaviour.
For example, child bride cases and forced conversion of young girls in rural Sindh (DAWN).
Remedial measures to Ameliorate the social control mechanism:
To ameliorate the social control mechanism and address the flaws in both formal and informal mechanisms several remedial measures can be taken. Some of these measures include:
- Reforming laws and regulations:
Laws and regulations should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they are effective, fair and responsive to changing social circumstances. This may involve changing penalties or creating new legislation to address emerging issues. for example, JJSA 2018 is a positive step to restore justice against juvenile delinquency, but there is a need for a stringent policy to extract an effective justice system through the police and judiciary.
- Addressing Bias and discrimination:
Efforts need to be made to address bias and discrimination in the legal system including hiring practices, training and accountability measures for law enforcement officials. Like equal education can heal social woes. In this regard, SNC can be pivotal to reviving education. Along the same vein, there is a dire need to address gender discrimination to manage the gender chaos across the country.
- Promoting cultural sensitivity:
Awareness campaigns, education, and training can be used to promote cultural sensitivity and reduce misunderstandings between different cultural groups. This can help to help reduce tensions and conflicts and promote social cohesion.
- Strengthening community-based approaches:
Community-based approaches to social control such as restorative justice or community policing can be effective in promoting social solidarity and addressing deviant behaviour. These approaches emphasize collaboration and community involvement in the legal process which can help to build trust and legitimacy in the legal system.
- Reducing inequality and poverty:
Diagnosing the root causes of deviant behaviour such as poverty and inequality can be an effective means of promoting social control. This may involve increasing access to education, healthcare and job opportunities as well as reversing systemic issues such as racial and gender inequality.
Recommended mechanisms of social control
- Karl Mannheim: considered two mechanisms of social control which he maintained direct social control and indirect social control. Direct social control is mostly maintained by primary groups such as family, relatives, peer groups and teachers who directly control and regulate the behaviour of persons. Indirect social control is maintained by secondary groups through traditions and customs.
- C.H. Cooley: argued that social control operates at the conscious and unconscious levels of individuals. Social institutions such as law and education compel individuals to act under the accepted rules of society, whereas at an unconscious level, social institutions, such as religion, maintain control over human behaviour.
- Lumley: He considered two mechanisms of social control which he referred to as the physical force method and the human symbol method. In the physical force method, people are forced to behave according to the set objectives of society. In the human symbol method, a person is socialized to behave according to the norms and values of society using customs, rituals, beliefs, language and traditions.
Extract of the matter is that deviant behaviour is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by a range of factors, including individual characteristics and social control mechanisms. While social control mechanisms, both formal and informal, play a critical role in regulating behaviour they are not without flaws. Formal mechanisms of social control such as laws and regulations, may have flaws, such as selective enforcement or inadequate penalties. For example, drug laws may fail to address the root causes of drug addiction, and instead, create a black market that contributes to violence and other criminal activities. Informal mechanisms of social control, such as social norms and values may also have flaws such as inconsistent enforcement or oppressive norms that discriminate against certain groups. Improving social control mechanisms requires addressing these flaws and creating a more just and equitable system.
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