Distractionas Social Control
Socialcontrol is a collection of mechanisms that regulates an individual’sbehavior in an attempt to comply with certain rules. Social controlof individuals is achieved by distraction. Moreover, there are manyways in which distraction can be used to control an individual’sbehavior and making them to do the little that is expected theseways include misinformation, misdirection, maintaining the publicignorance or mediocrity (Innes,2003).
Distractionworks by influencing the public without using force. It keeps peopleaway from real issues that affect their lives. Distraction happensdaily in different situations such as watching television, listeningto the radio and by talking to others this happens when issuesaffecting an individual together with his or her community arecontrolled by other people and this is termed as Human Manipulation.Equally, this behavior can be noticed by considering the coveragegiven to issues in different places. For instance, the littleattention given to the latest tweets by President Donald Trumpindicates a small coverage that has been done about the opioid crisisin the New England area (Innes,2003).
Propagandais also another way of distracting people. For example, during warspeople are given false and invalid information to cover up governmentactions. In this case, Miren Guiterrez stated in his article(Interpress Service) that propaganda strategies such as inaccurateand incomplete information is used to create a situation of confusionand anxiety in an individual since the only person with a solution isthe one who uses these strategies against the public.
Waron drugs is another example of social distraction. The posters incollege, flyovers on streets and advertisements on televisions conveythe message that drugs are harmful to our health. However, the war ondrugs has increased the number of drug users in jail with punitivesentences that have resulted to overcrowding in most prisons.Currently, this has led to an increase in the number of privateprisons that have accumulated profits from cannabis users and thepublic who pay the private prisons through taxes.
Currently,drug use has been redefined and improved more than what Gustave Lebonhypothesized he stated that unified masses can be grouped intoactive expressive and hostile hence the participants give in to thedemand of the crowd they belong. Equally, Gustave observed somefeatures of the crowd and any individual who could be used for socialcontrol. On the other hand, Carl Couch further developed this theoryby suggesting that collective behavior can give rise to modern socialcontrol through crowd manipulation.
Similarly,Jacques Ellul wrote on his article that propaganda exploits thesecharacteristics and is concerned with influencing an individualpsychologically this happens through the creation of conviction andcompliance of imperceptible approaches that are efficient whenrepeated. Today, the formation of Men’s attitudes is bombarded bythe same ideas such as shopping commercials, useless beauty servicesand intensive talks about famous celebrities. Issues such ashomelessness, veteran suicide rates and increase in obesity have notbeen solved because we are much distracted by television programs.
Individualsfind themselves in a scenario of being controlled by others becauseof the following reasons. First, negligence of a person to take careof himself if an individual does not take great care of himself, heor she communicates to others to come in and take control. Thesecalls upon others to intervene and show what should be done. Thecontroller could want to manage what one says, how he or she acts andwhat an individual thinks quietly on his own. They insist being onthe top of individuals they control and have influence in the life ofthe person (Downes, Rock & McLaughlin, 2016).
Second,lack of feeling and consciousness. Feelings are vital in makingchoices thus strong feelings reveal an individual’s morals andprovide a beginning in life. If a person is not in touch withfeelings, he or she may not know where to stand. For instance, if anindividual is asked to perform something that he is not comfortablewith, he will not have the desire to carry on because the discomfortforces him or her to ignore it.
Third,when an individual fails in obligations in this case, it occurs if aperson had agreed to do certain tasks and eventually he or she failsto comply. The person is confronted and someone comes after himdemanding for an explanation that led to that failure. On the otherhand, asking for unnecessary guidance when performing tasks that areever known will automatically invite controllers. Invitations forcompanionship will definitely make others take charge.
Fourth,indulging in self-doubt is also likely to make someone invite othersto come in and take over mistakes that you are held accountable forthem. Being afraid of mistakes is fear for the unavoidable aseverybody makes them and keen individuals are always grateful for theerrors made since they help them learn and become more autonomous.
Rebellingemotional agitators are the most controlled when an authoritysignals, they fight back, which calls upon more intervention frompersons in control. In this case, the rebels invite more authorityinto their lives than anyone else and this mark the beginning to becontrolled. Equally, if one is not expressing his opinions, it willmake others to have the influence to hinder his or her thoughts,ideas and feelings. In this way the individual will agree to theagenda of those who are eager to speak up.
Unhealthysocial control may result into negative personality development andsocial instabilities due to strong social control, individualssuppress their impulsive feelings and consequently due to high severefrustrations, they become quite aggressive. These abnormalities arehigh in civilized and urban societies due to a high degree of rigidsocial control people of lower strata do not get enough facilitiesfor free expression of their opinions, desires and aspirations andthey suffer from terrible disappointment and frustration which leadto hostility and aggression.
Secondly,social control exerts tremendous pressure on the society. Forinstance, when individuals are controlled by religious organizations,they are dominated by sacred punishment that their children will getwhile living or after death hence people develop religious and moralattitudes and good human values to behave in acceptable ways and toavoid divine penalties. With this, they are afraid of religiouspunishment and they avoid doing injustices to anyone or illegal(Stark, 2013).
Theend goals of social control include the following. First, socialcontrol ties us together so that we can predict how the stranger nextto us will react to his environment. Equally, all social controlsystems can be likened with a society’s culture, shapes who we areand determine where we have been and where we are going. Throughsocial control, we can be honest, hardworking and considerate toother people as one learns to respect others and be responsible forperforming our social and civic duties. In this case, a healthysocial control benefits the whole society.
Inconclusion, social control shapes a positive personal characterqualities into individuals: it creates honesty, compliance,faithfulness as well as respect to the concerned authorities. Socialcontrol installs informal codes of conduct like giving others respectand teaches good behavior. It provide a support structure where anindividual feel that he or she is part of society and not beingisolated. Therefore, any society needs outsanding individuals whocontribute towards its development.
Downes,D., Rock, P., & McLaughlin, E. (2016). Understandingdeviance: a guide to the sociology of crime and rule-breaking.Oxford University Press.
InnesM. (2003). Understanding social control. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Stark,R., & Bainbridge, W. S. (2013). Religion, deviance, and socialcontrol. Routledge.