Sunday, March 6, 2011

Formal and Informal Social Control

For this week's blog assignment I chose question number 1, which asks: "What mechanisms of formal and informal social control are evident in your college classes and day-to-day life and social interactions at Montgomery College?" This is a great question, because I can come up with a number of different examples. To start, according to Schaefer, social control is defined as "the techniques and strategies for preventing deviant human behavior in anysociety." (158) Social control can occur in any and all aspects of society. Informal and formal social control are used "to encourage conformity and obedience-and to discourage violation of social norms." (160) The text list certain facial expressions as an example of casually enforcing informal social control. This type of control can be used by anyone. However, formal social control is usually carried out by those in a position of power and/or authority such as a police officer, judge, or principal of a school.
When I first started attending Montgomery College in 2007 I had  an accident with another student attending the school as well that involved physical violence against me. I had to contact campus security and I believe possibly the head of the school. The other student involved was reprimanded and ordered to stay away from me on campus and there was a report filed that went on there record. This would be an example of formal social control. Campus security was called in to keep an eye on that particular student and to make sure that type of deviant behavior did not occur again on campus. Another example of informal social control is when campus control has to go around issuing tickets for vechiles that are parked on campus without the correct stickers needed. Campus security are an example of authorized agents in charge of making sure students act accordingly.
An example of informal social control on the Montgomery College campus that I  have personally witnessed are teachers or other school employees raising their eyebrows or giving a stern look to students that may be either talking too loud in the Resource Center or using inappropriate language as a way of letting this students know their behavior is inappropriate for the social setting they are currently in. From what I have seen, most students seem to comply with this type of non verbal discipline.
Both informal and formal social control are an everyday part of life that most people may not even know they are complying with the majority of the time. This type of social control is no different for Montgomery College.

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