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Sociology: Formal and Informal Social Control
Formal Social Control

Formal Social Control

This kind of social control is based on regulations and laws which the state uses to control people’s behaviour. The agencies of formal social control are the organisations in society that make the laws and enforce them and punish those who break the laws:

  • The Houses of Parliament - where the government makes laws to control our behaviour
  • The Police - who enforce the law
  • The Courts (or Judiciary) - is to deal with those alleged to have broken the law
  • The Prison Service - which is there to punish and confine law breakers and act as a deterrent to others


  • Put the following statements into the correct box, where you think they are most likely to be formally controlling people ’s behaviour:

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