The result of constant interactions between people is society. The basis of the society is the communication and everyday interactions between individuals. These daily interactions, which we refer to as socialization, are a long-term process in which people learn about social norms. Through these interactions, societal rules are created that determine what actions are considered acceptable or unacceptable. These societal rules created by interactions between others are the strongest reason I can think of to explain social life.
Socialization occurs as a result of pressure from society. It is through this process that people acquire the values, beliefs, and norms which form their culture. Primary socialization occurs in early social institutions such as the family or school. These norms are instilled into children at an early age to help them become integrated into the society. Socialization can have the greatest influence on society’s control of a person in early childhood. The learned behaviors of key authority figures, such as teachers and parents, can have a lasting impact on a person’s identity. They begin to learn about the people in power and how they should behave to avoid any negative consequences.
Early socialization helps people develop their own unique identity and personality based upon the norms of learned behavior. Secondary socialization is a way to reinforce these behaviours. It helps people learn about specific roles, attitudes and norms that are associated with adult learning. The secondary socialization builds on the knowledge they have already acquired from their previous socialization. It also helps them to form an identity that is based around these learned behaviors. As people develop identities over the course of their lives, their socialization influences them in every way.
Socialization requires that people actively participate in social interactions. They must also constantly observe the reactions of others to their actions and make adjustments based upon those reactions. The subtlest cues like facial expressions can have a big impact on behaviour. Instant feedback from others is an excellent indicator of what they find acceptable and unacceptable. These small clues are essential when building relationships and creating peer groups of people who share similar interests, characteristics and preferences. Group members influence the behaviour and interests of individuals in these peer groups. This emulates social control methods that were explained earlier.
But when explaining the concept of social control, we must also consider other viewpoints that influence how people behave and are influenced by their social power. Medical control, which is the result of medicalization in society as a whole, is one of the key factors of social control. Michel Foucault argues that medicalization, as a form social control, is used to stigmatize certain populations and label them as requiring the intervention of authorities. Medical social control is the way medicine reinforces social norms through medical means. In terms of their own health, people will listen more to professionals who have had years of education. Doctors have immense power due to the high value of health. It is reinforced by the fact that medical surveillance done in the interest of public safety and health results in police and legal policies. This means that people will alter their behavior and actions when a doctor recommends it and if a policy deems ‘deviant’ behaviour. Due to the fact that medical social controls can reach individuals at a much larger scale, socialization is not able.
Socialization, in my opinion, is the key factor to explain social control. This is because early socialization techniques are used to influence a person from the micro level of subtle cues during everyday interactions up to the large scale of their entire identity.