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There are various interpretations of the concept of social control. This entry discusses several of these perspectives, concluding with a general definition that incorporates elements from each of the views discussed.

Based on a sociological perspective, social control refers to the way in which societies are organized and remain cohesive—that is, the means by which life in common is founded. It is noteworthy that such means are constituted jointly by the individuals themselves and by society. In this sense, as pointed out by Edward A. Ross in 1939, social control is primarily socially built, not something natural or preexisting to the organization of society.

Following a pragmatic view of the concept, “social order” is a product of social control. The concept of social control is associated ...

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