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The Need to Disrupt Social Control

Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy

ISBN: 978-1-78756-049-9, eISBN: 978-1-78756-048-2

Publication date: 4 July 2019


“The Need to Disrupt Social Control” discusses three examples: sexual assault, civil rights, and state security, and how all three involve social control forces that promote or permit the oppression of individuals, groups, and societies. Amentahru Wahlrab, Sarah M. Sass, and Robert Edward Sterken Jr. briefly provide examples of how social control can be disrupted including #MeToo (sexual assault), the American Civil Rights Movement (civil rights), and the Arab Spring (authoritarian regimes) to illustrate how social control has been disrupted in these areas. The chapter illustrates how patriarchal norms allow for sexual assault by those with power within contexts, such as Hollywood, academia, business, and politics. Sexual assault survivors and bystanders often do not report instances of assault due to informal social norms permitting such actions and fear of personal and professional harm.

On a different level, the jail in the American south was one of the most feared institutions for African Americans. It was not uncommon for an African American to never return from what would be a night in the “drunk tank” for a white person. Black Americans stayed “in their place” due to the threat of the jail cell. Finally, the chapter details how tyrants use the full weight of state security forces, including the police and the military, to maintain their control. Fear of security forces is routinely encouraged by arrests, torture, and even disappearance (of people) at the hands of the security forces. “The Need to Disrupt Social Control” concludes that in these cases, social control maintains an oppressive order of some kind, thus social control is understood as a potential negative.



Wahlrab, A., Sass, S.M. and Sterken, R.E. (2019), "The Need to Disrupt Social Control", Rabe-Hemp, C.E. and Lind, N.S. (Ed.) Political Authority, Social Control and Public Policy (Public Policy and Governance, Vol. 31), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 245-258.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, by Amentahru Wahlrab, Sarah M. Sass and Robert Edward Sterken Jr.