chapter  2
26 Pages

Theories of Social Control, Deviance and Individuality

The purpose of this chapter is to introduce the reader to the main theories of social control, deviance and individuality not abstractly alone but also concretely through the conversation, cries, caresses and slaps of people as they act within the confines of school. School is a physical boundary where a few adults regularly meet many children. Schooling, it has been argued frequently, habituates children to the notion of the control of the many by the few. Schools, sociologists and historians inform us continually, are agents of social control and agents for the reproduction of social class divisions, inequalities in wealth, in life opportunities, in health and in life expectancy. Theories, however, may disguise rather than reveal the contours of social reality if they are but projections of the theorists' own needs, fears and fantasies upon the social actors the researcher seeks to understand. Particularly important to remember is that schools are formal mass 'child rearing' institutions and hence child rearing practices and education have become intertwined - perhaps to the disadvantage of each. According to De Mause (1974), 'The history of childhood is a nightmare from which we have only recently begun to awaken.' He continues: The use of the child as a 'toilet' for adult projections is behind the whole notion of original sin, and for eighteen hundred years adults were in general agreement that, as Richard Allestree (1676) puts it, 'the newborn babe is full of the stains and pollution of sin, which it inherits from our first parents through our l o i n s . . . . '