Social Control and Symbolic Interactionism in Literature

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Social Control and Symbolic Interactionism in Literature The way in which social order is achieved has been the subject of many theories presented by respectable sociologists such as Emile Durkheim, Thomas Hobbes, George Herbert Mead, and Karl Marx. Among the most prominent of these theories are Hobbes’ “Social Control” theory and Meads’ “Symbolic Interactionism” theory. Through these two theories, it is possible to gain a better understanding of how social order can be achieved. The social control theory of Thomas Hobbes has five basic premises to it. The first premise is that humans are egotistical beings that will do anything to fulfill their wants and desires. The second premise is based on the idea that because humans are egotistical, crime and deviance are a natural occurrence and do not need to be explained. Instead, those who are not criminalistic or deviant are the ones who need to be explained. The third premise is that humans conform to societal values and norms through rational choice. They do this by weighing the consequences of bad actions with the perceived benefits of good actions, then decide whether to proceed in the direction of good or bad. The fourth premise is that social control is a response to deviance and crime; coercive forms of social control can regulate or reduce crime and deviance. This is possible through the final premise, which is that the fear of consequences imposed by the state influences members of society to adhere to societal norms. The adherence comes from human beings being afraid of suffering a painful and horrible death, whether physical or societal. The social control theory holds strong validation in explaining why most people follow the values and norms of societ... ... middle of paper ... ...n from doing it again. The symbolic interactionism theory if very efficient at describing why criminals do what they do, but its’ use in the study of victimization is very limited. The only possible aspect that can come out of the theory in regards to victimization is that people who become victims may choose to do so based on their interpretations of the symbols that surround them. Perhaps through their interpretation they make it easier for criminals to specifically target them for victimizing. Social order is a highly complex subject. The cause of social order will most likely continue to be studied by sociologists for many years to come. In the mean time, Hobbes’ social control theory and Meads’ symbolic interactionism theory have many valid points in explaining how social order can be possible in such a vast society such as the United State of America.
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