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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120128 Find in a Library
Title: Critical Discourse on "Social Control": Notes on the Concept as a Hammer
Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law  Volume:17  Issue:3  Dated:(August 1989)  Pages:347-357
Author(s): S Cohen
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 11
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: Some social control concepts and doctrines of the past 20 years can be seen as hammers attempting to bang reality to fit ideological norms. Radical, critical, and revisionist writings about crime, deviance, and law are examined for evidence of such manipulation.
Abstract: Revisionist literature manifests ten specific features, among them a use of the concept of social control to refer to a single essentialist "thing" and a tendency to define social control as a manifestation of the wider social order and not as a response to deviance. Ideologies and structures of social control are not analyzed in their own terms but are traced back to wider social contexts, which are often perceived as sinister or negative. In an attempt to demystify the concept of social control, new mystiques are created. Additionally, generalizations are created that cloud specific problems and solutions. The author proposes a ten-point checklist to use when contemplating what is referred to by revisionists as social control. 2 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Social control theory
Index Term(s): Criminal justice system effectiveness; Society-crime relationships; Sociology of law
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