NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control

NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control, Solutions to each chapter is provided in the list so that you can easily browse through different chapters NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control and select need one. NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control Question Answers Download PDF. NIOS Study Material of Class 12 Sociology Notes Paper 331.

NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control

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Also, you can read the NIOS book online in these sections Solutions by Expert Teachers as per National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) Book guidelines. These solutions are part of NIOS All Subject Solutions. Here we have given NIOS Class 12 Sociology Chapter 20 Social Control, NIOS Senior Secondary Course Political Science Solutions for All Chapters, You can practice these here.

Social Control

Chapter: 20



Write answer in one sentence:

Q.1. Define social control.

Ans. Social Control is the way society con-trols individual behaviour, either through norms and practices or through the state and its coercive power. 

Q.2. What are the two ways in which individual control can be regulated?

Ans. (a) By adhering to established social and values. and 

(b) By the use of force.


Answer in True or False:

(a) Social control is essential to maintain the old social order. (True/False) 

Ans. True.

(b) There is no need for social control in modern times. (True/False)

Ans. False.

(c) The purpose of social control is to regulate the interests of individual and the group. (True/ False)

Ans. True.


Q.1. Fill in the blanks with appropriate words from the bracket:

(a) In primary groups relationship are ……………… (intimate, formal).

Ans. Intimate.

(b) Formal means of social control are enforced by ……………… (clan, state, family).

Ans. State.

(c) Informal social control is maintained by ……………….. (law, customs).

Ans. Customs.

(d) Positive sanctions include a ………………. (frown, smile). 

Ans. Smile.


Q.1. Answer in one sentence:

(a) What are folkways?

Ans. Folkways are norms individuals conform to in every society.

(b) What are mores?

Ans. Mores refer to moral conduct as different from the customary practices of folkways.

(c) Define customs.

Ans. Customs are the long established practices of people.

(d) Define religion.

Ans. Religion is the unified system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things.


Answer in one sentence. 

(a) Why do we obey laws? 

Ans. (i) Fear of punishment.

(ii) Rule conforming habit.

(b) Mention two sources of law.

Ans. (i) Customs.

(ii) Religion.

(iii) Legislation. 

(c) What do you understand by the term government? 

Ans. Government comprises all agencies and functionaries through which the state functions.

(d) Distinguish between laws and customs. 

Ans. (i) Customs are specific to groups and clans while laws have a more general nature.

(ii) Customs are respected since they have the sanction of tradition and social approval of the group while laws are obeyed since they have a coercive character.


Q.1. Fill in the blanks:

(a) Family plays a …………….. role in a child’s development.

Ans. Crucial.

(b) In cities, the socialisation function of the family is complemented by ……………….. institutions.

Ans. Secondary.

(c) In urban centers, an individual derives his social status primarily from his ………………… .

Ans. Achievements.

Answer in one sentence.

Q.2. What is public opinion? 

Ans. Public opinion is the aggregate of views that individuals hold regarding matters that affect the interests of community.

Q.3. What are the important agencies of public opinion?

Ans. Agencies of public opinion include newspapers, radio, television, motion pictures, legislation, pamphlets and even the word of mouth.


Q.1. What is social control? Why do we need social control? (Most Imp.)

Ans. I. Meaning of Social Control: For the smooth functioning of any society, it is essential that its members conduct themselves in a manner that is acceptable to other members of that society. Our behaviour in every day life is quite orderly and disciplined. We normally do not wish to antagonise (oppose) people we interact with, we do try to stick to various rules and to observe discipline in schools etc. These who do not obey these norms of society are criticized or looked down upon.

Social control is a general method of regulating the behaviour of individuals in a society through accepted social norms. It is a way to channelize the behaviour of individuals in society that they conform to the accepted code of conduct. Social control is defined as “the way in which the entire social order coheres and maintains itself operates as a whole, as a changing equilibrium”.

This SOCIAL CONTROL refers to the way society controls our behaviour, either through norms and practices or through the state and its compelling force. The regulation of behaviour in Society, whether of individuals or of groups is undertaken in two ways-

(a) By adhering to established norms and values of society. and 

(b) By the used of force.

The term “social control” is generally used by Sociology to refer to this first kind of regulation.

II. Need of Social Control: Need of Social Control has been recognised by all social thinkers.

Individuals differ in their interests and capabilities. If each individual is allowed unrestricted freedom to act and behave, it may lead to anarchy and disorder in the society. The resultant conflicts, frequent and persistent, would be a constant drain on society’s energy and efficiency.

As an analogy, we could consider traffic movement on roads in the absence of any traffic rules and traffic signals, etc. It is easy to imagine the chaos that would rule the roads and the unending traffic jams that would follow.

The situation in society would be no different if there was no accepted mode of behaviour. Individuals, therefore, have to be made to coexist in a manner that benefits them as well as the groups they comprise of social control becomes a necessity for the following reasons:

(i) To maintain the old order – For continuity and uniformity of a social group, it is important that the old social order is maintained. This function is fulfilled by the family. The old members of the family initiate and socialise the young ones into their traditions, value patterns and accepted forms of behaviour.

(ii) To regulate individual behaviour – Individuals vary in their ideas, interests, attitudes and habits, etc. Even children of the same parents think and behave differently. Thus their behaviour needs to be regulated in accordance with the established norms which would lead to uniformity and solidarity of the group.

(iii) To check cultural maladjustment – Society is changing at a rapid pace. The changes threaten to uproot the existing social system and replace it with a new system. There is a need for greater social control in order to distinguish between good and bad and to retain one’s sense of balance and judgement.

Q.2. Distinguish between ‘informal’ and ‘formal’ means of social control.

Ans. Sociologists have classified the mechanisms of social control into:

(a) The informal means of social control and 

(b) The formal means of social control. 

Informal Means of Social Control

In primary groups, the relationships are close, direct and intimate. Social control is often maintained by informal mechanisms, i.e, customs, traditions, folkways, mores and religion. These are adopted means by informal groups.

Informal mechanisms of social control include established and accepted institutions relating of socialization, education, family, marriage and religion etc.

It is executed through informal sanctions, which may be positive or negative. Positive sanctions include smile, a nod of approval, rewards and promotion, etc. For instance, Good performance in an examination may be rewarded with a bicycle or a watch by the parents.

Negative sanctions include a frown, criticism, physical threats and punishments. The unruly behaviour in school may result in detention or severe punishment is an example of negative sanction. 

Formal Means of Social Control:

The formal means of social control come from institutions like the state, law, education, and those that have legitimate power. The apply coercion in case of deviance. For instance, a person convicted of having stolen someone’s property may be sentenced to imprisonment. In other words, these institutions exercise the legal power to control the behaviour of the individual and the group. We shall now deal with the various forms of informal and formal means of social control.

Q.3. How do folkways and mores help in social control? (Most Imp.)

Ans. 1. Folkways: Folkways are norms to which individuals conform. It is customary to do so. Conformity to folkways is not enforced by law or an other agency of the society. It is the informal acceptance of established practice in each group or society. Folkways are manifested in matters of dress, for habits, observance of rituals, forms of worship and method of greeting etc. For instance, the food habits in North and South India are different and the habits persist even when the person has moved to a different location from his earlier surroundings.

2. Mores: Mores refer to moral conduct as distinct from the custom practice of folkways. They influence the value system of a society and are the form of social regulations which aim to maintain social order. Mores to regulate the relationship between individuals in defined situations, e.g. between husband and wife, parents and children and siblings, etc. They may also to general social relationships in terms of honesty, truthfulness, hardwork a discipline, etc. Since mores are consciously designed and created with a view to preserve them. Violations of these often entail penalties. They are perhaps the strongest mechanisms of informal social control.

Q.4. Examine the role of religion in Social Control.(Very Imp).

Ans. Religion: Religion exercise a powerful influence its adherents. Emile Durkheim defines religion as the unified system of beliefs and practices related to sacred things. Those who have common beliefs and practices are united into one single moral community through religion. Religion occupies a significant place in the life of an individual and fulfills the spiritual, social and psychological needs of an individual.

Religion helps in the process of social control in the following ways: 

(a) Every religion has the concept of sin and virtue. Since early childhood individuals are exposed to these concepts and to the notions of good and bad. These become ingrained in the individual’s personality and guide his decision making during his life.

(b) Religious conventions and practice determine marriage, mutual relations among family members, property relations, rules of succession and inheritance, etc.

(c) Religious leaders regulate the behaviour of individuals by exhorting them to follow a prescribed code of conduct.

(d) By organising community activities, prayer meetings and by celebrating religious events and festivals, religious institutions too contribute to this process by bringing believers together and strengthening the common belief systems thereby, regulating individual behaviour.

Q.5. Distinguish between law and customs. (Most Imp.)

Ans. It may be noted that laws are different from customs in the following ways:

(i) Law has a coercive character. Therefore, it compels people to act in a particular way Customs, on the other hand, are respected and practised because of the sanctity of traditions and social approval associated with them. 

(ii) Customs are specific to groups and clans while laws have a more general and universal nature.

(iii) Breach of law entails punishment by the state while disregard of customs is frowned upon by the society and only in an extreme case may result in ostracism.

(iv) Laws are a more recent phenomenon associated with the growth of the state and its institutions. While customs existed in one form or another at all times and in all societies.

Q.6. Highlight the role of state in maintaining social control. (Imp.) 

Ans. The Role of State in maintaining social control:

(i) State has a vital role in administering social control. Sociologists have defined the state as “an association designed primarily to maintain order and security, exercising universal jurisdiction within territorial boundaries, by means of law backed by force and recognized as having sovereign authority”.

(ii) State functions through the government. Modern nation states strive to be welfare states, i.e., they seek to provide to the citizens a wide range of social services like education, medical care, old age pension and unemployment allowance. These are achieved by means of the co-operation of individuals and through collective efforts of the media, the NGOs and other social institutions. For example, the pulse polio programmes of the government are extensively supported by the use of television, posters, NGOs and educational institutions, all of which try to educate the public on the advantages of the government measures. In the above mentioned context, the state acts as an informal agency of social control, eschewing coercion.

(iii) However, certain functions, like. maintenance of law and order, defence, foreign relations and currency, require the state to intervene in a formal and sometimes in a coercive manner.

(iv) India has a federal polity and government manifests itself at various levels-village, block, district, state and at the national level. At all these levels, its functionaries can enforce rules and laws. In modern societies, state has become increasingly important as an agent of social control. 

Q.7. How does education help social control?

Ans. Education as an agency or an agent helping in social control: 

(i) Education has been an important agency of social control. It prepares the child for social living and teaches him the values of discipline, cooperation. tolerance and integration. Educational institutions at all levels, (i.e. school, college and university) impart knowledge as well as ethics through formal structured courses as well as behavioural inputs.

(ii) The different pace of the educational system in different societies, depends upon changing social mores, level of development and social needs. Thus, in ancient Indian society, the emphasis was on religious scriptures, philosophy and metaphysics. The focus shifted as social development has resulted in an increased demand for knowledge in other areas and managerial skills.

(iii) At schools, the ideas of democracy, secularism, equality and national goals are communicated to students in addition to the emphasis on our shared history, culture, heritage, norms and values. By inculcating the concepts of good moral behaviour, morality, discipline and social etiquettes, the educational system serves its role as an agent of formal social control.

Q.8.  What is the role of family and neighbourhood in social control? (Very Imp.) 

Ans. I. The Role of family in social control: 

(a) The family socialises the child into the norms, values, traditions and customs of the group. Thus, family has a predominant role in shaping the personality of the child.

In villages, an individual gets his status from his family. The elders have a dominant role in shaping the personality of the individual. This is manifested in the individual attitudes, interests and lifestyle, etc. Marriages are mostly arranged by the elders and seen as an alliance between families rather than between two individuals.

(b) In cities the family continues to play a predominant role in shaping an individual’s personality. However, industrialisation, limited income and the paucity of space have contributed to the prevalence to nuclear family. This is very different from what is encountered in villages.

Hence, families tend to focus upon themselves. This results in an increased accent on individualism as opposed to collectivism common in villages.

(c) The function of socialization that a family carries out is complemented by other secondary institutions such a the classroom, playground, peer group and the media. Unlike in a rural surrounding, the individual derives his social status partly from his family but more importantly from his personal achievements.

(d) Parents and elders still largely arrange marriages in cities. However, the consent of the boy and the girl is sought. Marriages outside caste and religion are also on increase. Thus, we see that individual choice is becoming increasingly important.

(e) However, due to the absence of the strong family support on both sides, individual disagreements are more likely to lead to separation and divorce as opposed to the rural setting where the family network provides a readily available conflict resolution mechanism.

 II. Role of Neighbourhood in Social Control:

(a) Neighbourhood in villages comprises people normally belonging to the same kin group or caste. Hence, relationships that exist are intimate and informal. Beyond the immediate neighbourhood, the bonds are strong, as is evident from the fact that the son-in-law of a family is regarded as the son-in-law of a much larger group, sometimes of the entire village.

(b) In contrast, relationship between neighbours in the urban environment are characterised formally. They are marked by intermittent interactions and hence are far weaker than what is seen in the rural environment. In big cities, the ties of neighbourhood are almost relegated to the backseat. This is hardly any interaction between neighbours.

(c) Thus, the village neighbourhood is an enthusiastic participant in many daily activities of a family. It thereby fulfills its role as a medium of social control. It ensures uniformity and conformity and corrects deviant behaviour. For instance, in a village neighbours would subject a son not looking after his aging parents to sharp disapproval and even sarcasm.

(d) In cities, while not controlling individual behaviour so closely, individual actions that affect community are monitored by the neighbours, e.g. a person throwing trash in the open would be pulled up by his neighbours for spoiling the ambience of the neighbourhood.

Q.9. Examine the role of public opinion in maintaining social control. (Very Imp.) 

Ans. The Role of Public Opinion in Maintaining Social Control: 

1. Public Opinion is commonly used to denote the aggregate view that individuals hold regarding matters that affect the interests of community.

2. Newspapers, radio, television, motion pictures, legislations, pamphlets and even the word of mouth would public opinion.

3. Remote village communities, which do not have access to television and newspaper rely on “gossip” for information about the happenings around them and to express their opinion on these subjects. However, radio has increasingly become a important source to obtain news about events in distant places. There are group readings of newspapers too. Of late, television has also been introduced in the villages.

4. In independent India, the introduction of adult franchise, Panchayati Raj institutions and planned development processes have all contributed to bringing villages in the mainstream of Indian polity and economy.

5. In cities, the print and visual media play a dominant role in shaping public opinion. As the audio visual medium is more powerful, television has slowly gained ascendance over newspapers. However, newspapers continue to influence opinions among the educated group.

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