chapter  10
18 Pages

Social Control: Law and Social Sanctions

AT THE END of the last chapter I spoke of certain social institutions as sanctions against the abuse of political power. By a social sanction I meant, broadly, any institution a consequence of which is to incline persons occupying certain roles to conform to the norms and expectations associated with those roles. I now consider the sanctioning aspect of social institutions in relation not only to political authorities, but to all the members of a community. I remarked earlier that individual self-interest may often incite to behaviour which is incompatible with the common good. This implies that any social system must provide some institutionalized means of constraining individuals to at least some degree of conformity to accepted norms.