Social Control and the Individual


Peter Berger and J. S. Mill examine the relation of the individual and society. In doing so they are concerned with two central issues:
1. the control of society over the individual and
2. the liberation of the individual.

Show how each author approaches these issues bringing their own language and terms into this presentation. Integrate the two authors in a conclusion about the relation of social control and individual liberation.
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Thesis statement:

            The society is structured in a way that it controls the individual’s actions from causing harm to other members of the society. If a person’s actions are not in line with the accepted code of conduct, then the society has the mandate to restrain the individual through legal penalties. An individual is at liberty to do and act, as he desires so long as his actions do not infringe the rights of other members of the society. Liberty is stripped from an individual if his action will cause harm to himself, in this case, therefore power by the society is implemented on this individual. There is a strong relationship between the society and the individual as one cannot exist without the other. A person should know what role he plays in the society and try as much as possible to be in line with societal expectations. A person should be well aware of the limits of his actions whereas the society is expected to act accordingly in a bid to shape an individual’s character for the betterment of the society as a whole.

Social Control and Individual Liberation

            Social control is the restraints against actions of an individual for the general good of the society (Mill chapter I 6). Laws enacted in the society are a means of imposing rules that will be strictly observed by the society as a whole. Rules of conduct are at times dependent on customs in the society whereby every individual being is expected to act in a certain way and should not ask questions as to why this is supposed to be so. The law controls conducts……

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