Social control is the progressive belief that individuals can be controlled through cues or through Regulation, and is a large field of study within the disciplines of Social science. The goals of social control are to form an invisible layer of governance that citizens are less likely to protest and reject because it is not directly seen or it is so widespread that it carries the force of inevitability.
The concept of social control was made popular during the Progressive era by Edward Alsworth Ross, a professor of sociology at Stanford and Harvard.
Social control can use criticism, sarcasm, ridicule, shame, and other devices in order to make people behave a certain way.
Arguably the most prominent form of control are regulations, they are also the most forceful being as they carry the weight of law. Regulation can be created in the middle of the night by agencies that very few people are even aware of and can go unnoticed. Despite this regulations can have a vast influence on the way people conduct their lives which results in some slight changes, or in other instances forcing people to act entirely contrary to how they would naturally behave. Since regulations are passed by unelected bureaucrats, they do not require the kind of congressional votes that garner attention.
- Saul Alinsky - Rules as a series of social controls
- The Managerial Revolution
- Social regulation