ABSTRACT This paper will be introducing you to the theory of social control and the use of surveillance. Social control explains how individuals are less likely to commit crimes based on the idea of them having a good sense of well being and living a decent life with their families and peers. While presenting this, we will go back to the past and see how it started and who developed it up to the way it is now. We will then talk about the major impact social control has had on people. How people were not able to change out of their ways of life from the set of rules, thoughts and behaviours that were passed down to them to keep them behaving.
We will see how this has been done by the use of constant surveillance. It could go from individuals who committed crimes, random people near big institutions, to everyday people living their life while being constantly watched without their knowledge. The paper will also take a look into the past, from the less technological ways where this started to the current world. Nowadays, everyday people can be either the watchers and/or those who are watched. We could also see governments being unlawful while spying on each other for their own benefit. In this paper you will be able to see that not only the government has shaped humans to be their puppets, but they also have to ensure that every single person is following their rules by spying on them. INTRODUCTIONHave you ever thought as to why most of the human population seems to follow the same pattern of life, do the same things and have similar believes?.
Our species is not very original. Responsible for this lack of originality is social control. A base of rules and structures that have been made years ago to keep a state of peace in society. Those thoughts, which have been passed from generation to generation, are responsible that our population has the same idea about what is right and what is wrong. Now, in our present society, we have more people who are willing to step out of that traditional frame of mind. However, the government cannot let this happen, since it will disturb their stability. This is how surveillance over people came upon. With this tool, they know exactly what our next move is going to be, leaving us with absolutely no freedom.
What society as a whole doesn’t realize is that social control and surveillance limits your free will, your rights and freedoms.Social Control In the 19th century, government, industries, and major institutions were formed with the primary purpose of controlling people. Since then, society has been taught to think in ways that those in power, like the government, have guided us to think. We blindly follow the rules of common institutions no matter the subject. We tend to think of prisons and asylums when it concerns to people being ruled over with no chance of free will. Human population believes that is these places where people who could hurt us are kept. As humans they believe that those in power who place individuals in prisons are just looking out for us. Chances are they are looking out for themselves as well.
People in these institutions are those who are deviant, different, outcasts. Realistically most people don’t care too much about those in prison because they just believe it was their fault for thinking or acting differently. These are the people who don’t follow the way of life that the government has dictated is wrong. The rest of society has no say in this. We just conform, accept and follow. What society does not realize is that there are other less harmful institutions that are completely controlled by the government, as well.
These are schools, government jobs and hospitals. Schools are no longer there for the purpose of providing children with education. They are there teaching children how to listen well, retain information, follow rules and be obedient. Students just memorize what they learn up to the day they are tested. They don’t have input or choice in terms of what is important for them to learn, or which one would be the best or most effective method of learning. They do not have a saying in terms of their base of knowledge for the rest of their lives.
In respect to government jobs, equal structured as schools. You work for your survival, in other words, to earn enough money to pay your bills. You don’t get a say on how, where and when you work. The work conditions and the pay is actually atrocious, if you compare it against the physical and emotional waste you get out of it. The workers could be being exploited and the consumer could not know, which social control has lead that into commodity fetishim.
Now, in regards to hospitals, they will only treat you fast if you are in the brink of death. Otherwise, you are just another damaged body that they have to treat. However, when it comes to treatment cost, an insane amount of money is expected from you as a patient. Even if the hospital purpose is to “help us and benefit us” there is always someone in power whom you have to listen to and follow his or her directive every step of the way. If you go against those orders, you will be majorly affected, put to shame for denying such a “precious gift” that not everyone has access to.
Therefore, complaints are not allowed because at least the institution is there and people have to accept it and appreciate it in order to get treated. By 1920, sociologists Robert E. Park and Robert M. MacIver wrote about social control. They took advantage of the term being now known to society imposing their views and thoughts upon everyone.
(Diffusion of the concept, pg12) Then people followed their discoveries because they were the only ones known to society. They quickly learned that people follow rules because someone in power implemented them and make them common. This could be called conformism and we as human beings have fall into it since the beginning of time. At this point, sociologists did not see how social control was the cause of conformism.
They obviously believed the opposite. (Diffusion of the concept, pg13) They just were so appreciative of the fact that there was social control and it was there in the aid of society. They believe that this was “A way to regulate, enforce, and encourage conformity to norms both formally and informally, particularly by one’s peers.”Those above were just broad examples of what happened in the past, leading to today and getting deep into some of the institutions controlled by the government. Here we are digging deeper into the mindset it has created.
Since birth, parents have a set mind on how they are going to raise their children. This includes the rules, behaviour, views and thoughts they are supposed to hold. They already have a mind set of how life will take place and how their children should live based on what they teach them. These ideas are already in the mind of the parents before the children are even born. Therefore, they are never letting the child develop without parental bias. Parents have had this idea drilled in their heads due to social control. It gives them a view on how to be good parents, teaching their children to be successful adults.
If they have the expected behaviour that is approved by society, that will allegedly correct deviance. This practice helps institutions and government, since kids are controlled by their parents, they have less things to worry about. It also leaves only the parent to blame if their child chooses the wrong path. This belief of having a choice speculates that humans have a sense of “free will”, being picked based on the few choices given by the government. These choices can be lethal to our well being or lead to incarceration, but if they follow through with the deviant act, the government will be there to stop them. It is a huge belief that if humans have no social control, institutions would sink.
This could happen if people are able to decide and choose for themselves, which is a huge threat to the government. It could not be allowed to continue since it is a threat. Therefore, we are expected to believe that social control is helping society become better. Schools leading to educating children for following prosperous adults, transforming criminals into followers of the law.
Informal social control is what most people take part on, conforming to the views of society. Surrounded by those who take part in it everyday throughout their whole lives. These acts have been passed down from families, friends, teachers and workers.
The behaviours passed down are not necessarily harmful. However, they are the setting stone to a controlled society. No one tries to change this and act by themselves without following others. All your life you have been taught how to act, behave and think, therefore you are already set and those in formal control don’t have much work to do since you are behaving properly, up to their standards. When social control comes into play, and you have a good sense of family and people who love and care for you, you are less likely to defy the law. Therefore, the government is less likely to get involved. Which people have been conditioned to think is not something you should ever let happen. There is a harmful factor, a not well stated behaviour that they are going to stop you from acting on, by enforcing laws and rules upon that are supposedly done for your own good.
Therefore we accept both informal control and formal control because we have a tendency to protect ourselves from any form of embarrassment, outcasting, and anything that can hurt/affect us. Therefore society does the exact same thing everyone else is doing. Living a senseless, a bland life with no big issues with those around you, so you can therefore protect yourself. In the contrary, what about those who do break the social control norms and commit acts that aren’t seen as correct behaviour. Those individuals are seen as deviants.
Choosing to decide for their own, yet this is not related to them standing up to change the control on society. These actions are done because the individual does not have a social support, having no emotional connection to anyone in their life. Therefore no one to disappoint, hurt or anyone to care for. Which is just the psychological reason why the person had no thought or remorse breaking the law. People don’t do this to change society or to even make a statement.
They do it for their own well-being and good outcome for themselves. Finishing off with that, having a set knowledge on social control, we will now move on surveillance which is a higher more obstructed norm of social control that has just commenced a few years back in human lives. SurveillanceThe practice of having surveillance in urban homes has no logic, yet it is still widely used in North America. Often referred as CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) it has been used to watch over citizens and travellers. Many people genuinely believe that these cameras stop crimes from happening. It helps basically to identify possible suspects in a few crimes, but not in huge amounts as the public believes.
“In a 2006 survey, only about one third of Canadians polled claim to be somewhat familiar with CCTV surveillance technology. They were asked if their workplace should be monitored and they agreed, but only consent has been given”. However after 9/11 surveillance has widely increased. We can now find cameras on walls, street lamps or roofs to monitor the city.
In this case the RCMP operates the system There are also cameras in private property and in buildings. These cameras let the peers monitor themselves in places like universities, convenience stores, malls and banks. We find them also in public transportation, such as buses, subways, airports. Foucault touched upon the alteration from fear of physical punishment to people being afraid of getting caught doing wrongful act was higher. In Sudbury, Ontario, they have the longest surveillance systems which has been followed by other cities. (The growth of open street camera surveillance in Canada, pg9-11) Surveillance with video cassettes is used for taping videos.
These videos could be used for different purposes including law enforcement and family law such as divorces. In some cases it is used for basic things such as family problems, ie. cheating partners and problems with the kids and baby sitters. Stores and bankers were some of the first ones to use video surveillance then its use spread everywhere. The original purpose was to catch thieves.
The nanny cam came to be, allowing parents to be able to see what the nannies were doing in the house while taking care of the children. After the community became aware the usefulness of the cameras, smaller and better resolution cameras were created capable to be hidden anywhere. We can now include smart phones which are able to take pictures and videos and be sent in a matter of seconds to anyone in the world. This new technology makes it effortless to spy on anyone. After 9/11, software developers came up with more advanced programs able to recognize faces as well as facial features and match those with previous records of criminals or terrorists.
In 2011, the Sydney International Airport in Australia installed SmartGate, which is a photo biometrics system used to scan the planes crew member’s face, then comparing it to their passport photo. This new system makes the process quick, efficient and useful. .The Communications Security Establishment (CSE) recently passed over confidential data to foreign allies. This is not a new issue since it has been discussed for more than 15 years, but it has never been brought to the attention of the courts or the Parliament.
“Jean-Pierre Plouffe, a retired judge who acts as CSE’s watchdog commissioner, said in his report that the spy agency broke rules by passing metadata involving the communications of Canadians to its closest foreign allies, a group collectively known as “the Five Eyes.”” This group was formed after the Second World War, with Britain, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada deciding to conform a group to be able to spy on foreign adversaries. They monitor phone logs, Internet IP numbers, their route as well as other trails of data which have been gained through secretive means. They use this information to figure out if there are any threats to national security.
However, this is invasion of privacy which is not allowed, breaking domestic surveillance laws. Even though, CSIS stated that the communications are destroyed, metadata could be kept. .
As the Canadian government attempts to stop criminal activity online with surveillance, free expression and privacy have been jeopardized. Surveillance use in this attempt is considered a huge invasion of privacy. In order to avoid international as well as domestic rules, countries could make use of intelligence sharing arrangements. “These arrangements can also lead to the exchange of information that can facilitate human rights abuses, particularly in countries with poor human rights records or weak rule of law.”CSE is Canada’s national cryptologic agency. The staff at CSE informs the Government about technology security as well as foreign intelligence. This institution also provides federal law and security agencies with technical and operational aid. Other agency is CSIS which is there to protect the security of Canada and the safety of Canadians.
It provides analysis and advice to decision makers within the Canadian Government in terms of national security.ConclusionWe can see how much social control has developed over the years. It has changed completely from deviance being things like no killing or no stealing, to the present, where deviance also could be defying the government. We could be defying the government by stopping its means of income in various ways. Our society currently is very much focused on advancing to a higher sense of power control. This can be seen in surveillance. How western governments have outbidded laws and protected themselves from any possible threats by obstruction of privacy.
The government is now capable of viewing the life of the average citizen via social media or via surveillance technology. They could have our lives at the tip of their fingers.It is shameful to acknowledge similarities of this type between countries under dictatorship and our so called democratic society. Therefore it is really important for us to see that our freedom is not free despite of living in a first world country.