Social control

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Social control is a term that the American sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross introduced in 1896 with an article in the American Journal of Sociology as social control .

In contrast to the more diffuse term “social influence ”, “social control” includes the deliberate control of the individual by the group , in the broader sense the intended rule of society over the individual. A more recent definition includes “those processes and mechanisms with the help of which a society tries to induce its members to behave that are positively assessed within the framework of this society”. A distinction is made between two forms of social control: internal control (internalization of social norms , especially through socialization ) and external control (negative and positive sanctions the "other").

The theoretical concept of social control comprises processes and structures that are intended to restrict or prevent behavior that deviates from the norms of a society or a social group . Family, schools, churches, businesses, associations, institutions of justice and social work function as media and institutions of social control. Their means range from communication (recognition, encouragement, criticism, reprimand) and sanctions to exclusion . The goal is the production of behavioral conformity in accordance with the norms and values of the majority.

Social control in public space

In addition to personal, mutual social control, modern forms are increasingly emerging:

  • Social control through video surveillance
  • Social control as a service ( security services )
  • Social control through telematics box ( synonyms : black box; accident data storage ) in the car
  • Social control through fitness bracelets
  • Social control towards delivery van drivers: sticker “You don't like my driving style?” With the employer's telephone number
  • Social control on the internet:
    • at Wikipedia, z. B. by blocking accounts due to vandalism
    • at Airbnb : through mutual assessment by guest and host
  • Social control in China: Chinese people are rated with a “Citizen Score”. Social life , shopping and social media activities are included in a rating that is used for issuing exit permits.


"In the most fundamental terms, 'social control' referred to the capacity of a society to regulate itself according to desired principles and values."

- Morris Jannowitz)

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Werner Fuchs-Heinritz et al. (Ed.): Lexicon for Sociology. 3. Edition. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1994, p. 368.
  2. ^ Association for the promotion of public moving and still data traffic, collection of materials
  3. Information on spatial development, video surveillance in public spaces - the example of Coventry , issue 1 / 2.2003
  4. Social problems, suspicious behavior and automated social control: "intelligent" video surveillance for the detection of motor vehicle crimes , by Robert Rothmann and Stefan Vogtenhuber, Volume 24, 2013, Issue 2
  5. ^, Social Problems and Social Control , by Helge Peters, 2002
  6. ^ FAZ, Motor Insurance Revolution , January 13, 2014
  7. taz, Just good at the beginning , January 3, 2014
  8. a b Digital deprivation of liberty , March 18, 2015
  9. Wired, "Citizen Score": China Evaluates Its Citizens and Their Lifestyles , October 7, 2015
  10. Spectrum, Digital Democracy Instead of Data Dictatorship , December 17, 2015
  11. ^ Morris Jannowitz: Sociological Theory and Social Control . In: American Journal of Sociology , 81st vol., H. 1, 1975, p. 82.