September 29, 2020

Structural issues and social control

Structural issues and social control

  1. 1. Structural issues and social control
  2. 2. Today’s class • A word on notetaking • Feedback on 3 minute essays • Lecture on social control that will look in more depth at some of the issues discussed yesterday. The role of power is going to be a focal point of discussion. • Actvitiy
  3. 3. Recap of yesterdays lecture • Social control as the ways in which behaviour is enforced • Strongly linked to the concepts of power, socialisation, normalisation and deviance. • Social control can be formal or informal, in this sense it can also be structural or allow for more agency. • Sanctions as positive and negative. • Marxists, Functionalists and Interpretivists all have different standpoints on the purposes of social control and how these relate to power in society.
  4. 4. Some sociological questions • Is social control enforced evenly and fairly? • Who has control of social control? • What does social control tell us about the distribution of power? • What happens when social control isn’t present? • What forms does social control take? How do these differ across time and cultures?
  5. 5. Power, structure and agency Power can be defined in a variety of ways, power in the context we’re studying can be defined as: “The reproductive or transformational capacity possessed by social structures which may be seen as existing independently of the wills of individual actors” (Jary and Jary, 1996, p.513). Does structure make us powerless? Does agency imply we have power? Should we try to challenge power? How can we challenge the power being exerted on us? Think about this in terms of our theorists.
  6. 6. Education Willis (1977) “Learning to labour – how working class kids get working class jobs” • Neo-marxist approach, looks at class struggle and capitalism. • Study followed a group of ‘lads’ who rejected education but still attended school, usually being disruptive in class rather than actively participating. • Agency- Willis suggests that the lads deliberately failed because they felt manual work was inevitable. • Education system as failing to produce compliant workforce for capitalism. Look at the rising levels of white working class boys failing to achieve 5 GCSEs at school.
  7. 7. The media and social control • The mass media as representing the needs of the powerful (Althusser). • Cohen (1972) “folk devils and moral panics”. Important study that illustrates the ways in which the media can create out groups, demonise their behaviour and amplify the societal response as a means of control. Hall (1978) ”policing the crisis” also another influential study. • The internet as a challenge to mainstream media, can be accessed by anyone, content can be created and shared globally and in opposition to dominant ideological ideas.
  8. 8. Inequality and social control- race Are we all subject to the same levels of social control? • Macpherson Report (1999) illustrated that racism in the police forces was not just limited to individuals, rather was systematic and described the phenomena as ‘institutional racism’. • Stop and search- depending on location in the UK black men were 17.5 times more likely to be subjected to stop and search than their white counterparts. • Islamophobia and social control- creates suspicion around certain communities, heightening tension and perpetuating the marginalisation of Islam in the west.
  9. 9. Inequality and social control- sexuality • Homosexuality between consenting men not legal until the introduction of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. A formal sanction on gay men. • Culturally the idea of gay men as sexually ‘deviant’ persists. • Resistance to homosexually shown through the introduction of civil partnerships rather than legalising gay marriage- serves to undermine their union in comparison to heterosexual marriage. Even though gay marriage is now legal still face discrimination. • Association of gay sexuality with disease.
  10. 10. Inequality and social control – Gender • Can we make some links between the studies we learnt about last week? In particular Oakley on housework, domestic labour as a gender specific means of control. • Using gender as a means of control serves the purpose of keeping men and women in specific roles, ensuring the preservation of the status quo (think about how Marx and Parsons might theorise this very differently). • Liberal feminists would suggest that patriarchy is bad for men and women, as it inhibits us all and prevents true equality.
  11. 11. Activity Using your notes from the classes we’ve had on social control, work in your group presentation assessment groups and discuss how your chosen institution is a mechanism of social control. Prepare at least one PowerPoint slide with your ideas on and be prepared to present them to the group.
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