For the overall stability of a society, it is important that members broadly follow its norms and values. These are learned during the process of socialisation. However, to prevent or discourage people from deviating, all societies have systems of social control, which either persuade or force people to behave in a socially desirable manner.
Social controls are either informal, such as the exercise of peer group pressure, or formal, i.e. enforced in some way by institutions such as schools, the police, the judiciary or the state. Sanctions for deviating from social norms range from informal ones, for example disapproving looks or social exclusion, to formal, such as fines or imprisonment. Agencies of social control include the family, education, the workplace, religion, the media, the police, the judiciary and the state.
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