Social Control: In Modern Society and Future!
It is evident from what has been said so far that social control through ages has not been exercised through one and the same methods. Their relative efficiency varies with changes in the social organisation and life-value of the group. In primitive societies generally informal means like convention, usage, custom and tradition were employed for controlling individuals and groups.
In the middle ages since feudal customs and the church had the greatest authority, the whole social life was controlled by the church. With the passage of time the authority of the church diminished and the power shifted from it to the king.
Now the kings became the great controlling agencies who began to rule the state by what was called the divine Right of Kings. Later on there came the period of laissez-faire and the control of the state over the individual became steps with the march of technical advance and economic transformation new social problems cropped up which again necessitated control by the state.
This time, he however, the state represented not the will of the autocratic ruler but the collective will, the will of the community. A large number of associations, economic, social and political gained birth which henceforward began to greatly control the social life.
And today social control is so vast and widening that man finds himself at every step of life under control of some agency or the other. Whether this control is necessary or desirable, is a question which has given rise to the great controversy of man versus the Stale. However, if we remember that there is no contradiction between the interests of society and the individual, then the controversy of Man versus Society loses all its significance.
Social Control in Modern Society:
In modern times social control is mostly exercised through an appeal to reason. Modern society does not favour the use of force though coercive methods are quite often used in making the individuals obedient to the system. Man’s behaviour today is controlled by showing him through education and propaganda the consequences of his action. All discussions and talk about the values of family planning, or the evils of drinking are the examples of modern type of control.
Appeal to feelings is not greatly resorted to in modern times. It was only in primitive societies that people behaved according to the social pattern because they feared that any deviation from the prescribed modes would annoy gods and bring curse on them. People do not believe much in supernatural forces today.
However, social suggestion as to what people will say and desire to win commendation exercise control over man’s behaviour in modern society. Leadership has become a great controlling force in modern times. The leader controls the mob mentality in times of crisis and excitement.
Social Control in Future:
The present society is a highly complex society as compared to the past one and it is to become still more complex in future. The social problems which an individual has to face are becoming so complicated that it is beyond the power of a single individual to cope with them. Consequently, he must join with someone in working for the goal that he desires. The individual is impotent before the mighty forces of society and this fact has led to a significant multiplication of the voluntary agencies of social control— committees, clubs, associations, institutes, bureaus, and co-operations.
The disintegrating forces present in the modern society are likely to give rise to great social control to secure uniformity of conduct. The theory of ‘laissez-faire’ has collapsed. It is now generally held that intelligent collective planning alone can solve the present day social problems. The superiority of the human mind over the blind forces of nature has been established.
Society is not the result of forces operating automatically and regardless of man’s efforts. In contrast to the theory of “evolutionary determinism’ the conception of ‘social Telesis’ proposed by L.F. Ward has greater strength. The more and more increasing control of the government and expanding budgets show that in future social control is further increase than decrease. Moreover, in recent times we have come to possess more and more knowledge of the methods of social control.
New agencies of social control have come into being. In totalitarian states, social control has reached maximum point. Every man’s life is under state direction and regulation. In democracies too, social control is no less vast. A number of regulatory agencies and voluntary bodies have cropped up to influence people’s behavior. The increasing complexity of culture will increase rather than diminish the need for effective social control.