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Society is the culmination of a group of people involved in continuous interactions. It is built on the everyday interactions and communication amongst each other to develop relationships between individuals who share different cultures and experiences. These everyday interactions are what we call socialization as a lifelong process of learning norms, behaviours, customs, and ways of think about aspects of the social world. As a result of these interactions, societies construct patterns of behaviour which deem certain actions as acceptable or unacceptable, called societal norms. These societal norms produced by the interactions of others create a form of social control that I believe to be the most persuasive reason when explaining the social world.
The process of socialization a response to social pressure where people learn the particular beliefs, norms and values that create culture. Socialization begins when people receive primary socialization which takes place in the social institutions of early development such as within the family and school environments. In these early stages, children are taught these norms and values in order to integrate themselves into society. I believe that in these early stages of childhood is where socialization has the most influential impact of social control on a person of society. At such a young age, these learned behaviours given by key authority figures such as parents and teachers will determine how the identity of the person will be developed throughout their lives. As a result, they begin learning of key people who hold power in certain situations and how to behave accordingly to avoid any repercussions with the failure of respecting the form of social hierarchy.
With early socialization, people have a taste of what it means to be a good abiding member of society based on the rules set out for them to begin developing an identity and personality unique to them revolving around the learned behaviour norms. These behaviours are further supplemented by the secondary socialization people receive where they begin to learn specific roles, norms and attitudes that come with self-imposed learning which occurs during adulthood. This secondary socialization reinforces the already accumulated knowledge from their previous socialization and develops an identity forged around those learned behaviours which they perpetuate into developing a culture of social control. As people continue to develop their identities throughout their lives, they constantly reflect on their socialization which influences their every action down to the smallest detail.
Socialization is about actively participating in social interactions and people need to constantly watch how others view their own actions and adapt based on those immediate reactions. Subtle cues such as facial expressions are enough to influence changes in behaviour as instant feedback is a good indication of what is deemed acceptable or unacceptable based on their socialization. These small indications are important when creating relationships with others and forming peer groups where people of similar social characteristics, interests and tastes interact together. Individuals within these peer groups are influenced by group members to reflect any interests and behaviours that are accepted amongst the group which emulates a form of social control that is consistent with the socialization methods explained earlier.
However, when explaining social control, it is important to address other points of view which play a role in how people are influenced the social powers and how it is reflected in their actions and behaviours. One key factor in social control is the medical control that is a result of the medicalization of the larger population of society. According to Michel Foucault, medicalization is a form of social control that designates, even stigmatizes, certain populations as being different, requiring intervention by authorities. This medical social control is a way in which medicine functions to reinforce social norms by using medical means to normalize any behaviour that is deemed deviant. People are more willing to listen to professionals with the years of required education such as doctors when regarding their wellbeing. This is because the condition of wellness is so highly valued and as a result, the power of doctors is incredibly immense. This is further reinforced when medical surveillance in the name of public health and safety results in policies that are regulated through law and police. Due to this, people will change their actions and behaviour in response to a doctor’s recommendation and in response to any policy that deems certain actions as deviant. As a result, medical social control is able to influence individuals on a macro scale that socialization does not reach utilizing the public’s desire for wellness and the power of the state and its laws.
In conclusion, I believe that socialization is the most important factor when explaining social control because of the early socialization methods implored on developing people which influences a person’s actions down to the micro-level of subtle cues in everyday interactions to the larger level of the development of the person’s entire identity.
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