Family is an important agency of social control. It is the first place where an individual is socialised. He learns various methods of living, behaviour patterns, convention etc from the family.
He is taught to behave and respect social laws and obey social controls. He learns customs, folkways, traditions and modes from the family.
Family influenced the individual directly through suggestion, persuasion, praise, blame, ridicule, criticism etc. Through these mechanism family forces the individual to conform the custom, folkways and modes of the group.
Neighborhood is a simple and specific part of a community. It has a feeling or sentiment of local unit. There may be more than one neighborhood in a community. The neighborhood is the first community with which the individual comes into contact with.
It exists, a deep influence on its members as an agency of social control. The local neighborhood reinforces or strengthen the individual family as an agency of social control. It comes only after the family in social importance.
The elder member of the neighborhood or locality, who are very intimate to one another, keep group modes alive and enforce them in the locality.
The local neighborhood like the family, exercises direct control over the behavior of the individuals through direct suggestions, persuasion, praise, blame, ridicule, criticism etc.
Church is regarded as an institutionalised expression of religion. It serves as an agency of social control. In the past church was a powerful agency of social control for quite some time.
The church and the priests were held in high esteem. The authority of the church was recognised and accepted by the people. As a result no body could disobey its order. The church had power to dethrone kings who did not accept its authority during this period.
Religion serves as an important agency of social control. It is religion which supports the folkways and modes of a society by playing super natural sanctions behind them.
It adopts negative as well as positive means to regulate the behaviour of the individuals in society. Much has been said about religion in a separate chapter of this book from the primitive as a powerful force in regulating human behaviour. Religion includes beliefs, systems and morals.
5. The School:
The school is a very powerful agency of social control. It exercises social control through education. The child learns many things from the school which he cannot learn from other sources. The child is taught to obey the discipline which a student learns at school lasts with him throughout his life.
In the college also the students are required to obey social controls. The school and college or educational institutions are next to family as agencies of social control. It is the class room the peer group and the leaders who exercise influence on the child for his future role in society.
Education in modern times is a very powerful means of social control. It is education which makes all efforts to discipline the mind of the student in the school so that he can realise the importance of social control.
Law is a powerful method of control. The state runs its administration through the government. It enforces law within its territory with the help of the police, the army, the prison and the court, it enacts laws to regulate the lives of the people.
The deviants or the violators of social rules are punished as per law, the state carries out certain function by means of law. E.A. Ross says that law is the most specialised and highly furnished engine of social control employed by society’. It is law which prevents the people from indulging in antisocial activities.
The law breakers are punished by the Jaw of the state. It helps in governing our social conduct and behaviours. Laws are essential in strengthening social control violation of law considered a punishable offence. In short law is an important formal means of control to regulate the individual behaviour in society.
Administration is very powerful and the most effective instrument of social control. It forces the individual to obey social control. The administrations punish the violators with the help of the police, the army etc.
Physical force or coercion is an important means of social control. It is ancient as society itself. It is essential for social progress. Even these days some societies resort to it against the deviants or those who disobey social norms. Every state has its own armed forces or police force.
It is an effective weapon to prevent people from indulging in anti-social activities. It also makes people, obey social order. The state carries out its functions by means of law which is ultimately backed by physical force.
As an important agency of social control the state exercises its force over its people through various means such as the government law, administration, the armed forces, the police and the like.
9. Public Opinion:
Public opinion is very powerful in the democratic age. It not only controls the behaviour of people but also controls the government. People these days are more concerned with the opinion held by the public. Fear of public opinion in general makes people control their conduct and behaviour.
The state controls the behavior of the people through public opinion and mould people in favour of its policies. It forms public opinion through various media like the newspaper, cinema, radio, television etc.
Propaganda is a systematic attempt by a individual or individuals to control the attitudes of people through suggestions and consequently, their actions.
With the development of means of mass communication propaganda has become an effective means of social control. The state controls the people through this powerful means of social control namely propaganda.