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Social Control.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Control."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Control

2 Social Control Ensures that members of society behave in appropriate ways most of the time Less deviation from acceptable behavior in most band societies than in more complex societies

3 Social Norms Define normal, proper, or expected ways of behaving
Come in a variety of forms – from etiquette to formal laws Deviance from social norms is relative and culturally defined Sanctions: patterned or institutionalized ways of encouraging people to conform to norms Both positive and negative May also be formal or informal

4 Informal Means of Social Control
Socialization Public Opinion Corporate Lineages Supernatural Belief Systems Age Organizations

5 Informal Social Control: Socialization
Every society, in order to survive, must pass on social norms from one generation to the next When members learn cultural norms, they also usually internalize the moral necessity to obey them Variations in levels of coerciveness when socializing children

6 Informal Social Control: Public Opinion
In all cultures, people want the approval of other members of their society Gossip, ostracism, rumor, sarcasm, and derision are all powerful corrective measures for reforming social behavior Degradation ceremonies refer to formal societal mechanisms to publicly humiliate a deviant

7 Informal Social Control: Corporate Lineages
Play a dominant role in most small-scale societies Exert economic control over their members Act of mechanisms because of their scale – localized communities whose members know what everyone else is doing Exert social control because of diffuse roles Exert social control due to collective capacity to control marriage

8 Informal Social Control: Supernatural Belief Systems
Belief in supernatural forces such as gods, witches, and socerers Ancestor worship Dead ancestors are fully functioning members of the descent group Ghost invocation brings wrath of ancestor gods against the sinner Ghost vengeance is the belief that ancestor-gods inflict sickness without having to be invoked Witchcraft Common in acephalous societies People reject the idea that misfortunes result from natural causes Deviant runs risk of being labeled a witch Fear of witchcraft encourages conformity

9 Informal Social Control: Witchcraft
Common in acephalous societies People reject the idea of misfortunes resulting from natural causes A deviant runs the risk of being labeled a witch, and fear of being accused of witchcraft encourages conformity Witches often identified by ritual specialist, a shaman, then community takes action

10 Age Organization Age set – group of people initiated during a periodic ceremony Strong sense of group identity with one another Lasts from its inception until its last member has died Age grades Categories through age sets pass as a group An understood set of social roles and statuses Control behavior in a number of ways Establish a clear set of roles and status Effective channels for the distribution of authority Rites of passage are almost always preceded by intense periods of training in the norms and values of a society Bonds of camaraderie are so strong that age sets tend to take on characteristics of a corporate group Neither self-perpetuating nor property owning

11 Formal Means of Social Control
Violation of social norms often results in disputes among people in the society When disputes become violent conflicts, they are called crimes Song Duels Intermediaries Moots: Informal Courts Oaths and Ordeals Courts and Codified Law Warfare

12 Formal Social Control: Crimes
Crimes are more likely in large, heterogeneous, stratified societies than in small-scale societies Little or no anonymity in small scale societies More concern with negative public opinion in small-scale societies Heterogeneity of complex societies means more groups with different, and probably conflicting, interests Lower castes or classes in complex societies may be more likely to violate the rights of the more privileged

13 Formal Social Control: Song Duels
Inuit of Canada, Alaska, and Greenland A derisive song contest Used to settle disputes that frequently involved in wife stealing Alternative to murder

14 Formal Social Control: Intermediaries
Nuer of the Sudan Help resolve serious conflicts Nuer’s Leopard-skin chief has no authority to determine guilt or enforce settlement between parties Uses personal and supernatural influence to bring the disputing parties to some type of agreed-upon settlement

15 Formal Social Control: Moots
Kpelle of Liberia and Guinea Found in many African societies Effective mechanism for conflict resolution Informal airings of disputes involving kinsmen and friends of litigants Generally deal with the resolution of domestic disputes Attempt to reintegrate the guilty party back into community, restore normal social relations, achieve reconciliation without bitterness and acrimony

16 Formal Social Control: Oaths and Ordeals
Ashanti of West Africa Religiously sanctioned Oath – formal declaration to some supernatural force that what you are saying is truthful or that you are innocent Almost always accompanied by a ritual act Ordeal is means of determining guilt by submitting accused to a dangerous test Most likely to be found in complex societies where the political leadership lacks power to enforce judicial decisions

17 Formal Social Control: Courts
State systems possess a monopoly on the use of force Through system of codified law, state both forbids individuals from using force and determines how it will use force to require certain behaviors from citizens When legal prescriptions are violated, state has authority to fine, imprison, or even execute the wrongdoer Unauthorized use of force happens – crime, rebellion, revolution Emphasis on punishment to avoid threat to the legitimacy of political and legal authority Whereas state systems of government emphasize punishment, some small scale societies emphasize re-establishing harmony

18 Codified Law Qualities
Three basic features Involves the legitimate use of physical coercion Allocate official authority to privileged people who are able to use coercion legitimately Based on regularity and a certain amount of predictability

19 Formal Social Control: Warfare
Systemic, organized, institutionalized fighting between different groups Enormous cultural variability in the extent to which societies use warfare Only a human activity since Neolithic period General factors contributing to warfare Social problems Perceived threats Political motivations Moral objectives

20 Reasons foraging societies were not warlike
Had no centralized governments that could finance and coordinate number of people needed for military campaigns Absence of food surpluses precluded prolonged combat Did not control land or territorial boundaries – major motivations for warfare Exogamous bands not likely to become hostile toward other bands into which relatives have married

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