The Role Of Social Control For Social Classes In Britain

Social control is a technique that controls people to make sure they conform to the dictates of those who are in power. This social control can be implemented by many agencies, including the government and police. This was particularly true in the second half of the nineteenth-century, when most people moved to cities to find work in that particular industry. Although the actions of different state agencies were very visible in the daily lives of the people, the state and members of Britain’s upper classes were conscious that if they controlled too much of the population, it could make them dependent and cause them to be more burdened. This would result in a nation less independent. In spite of this, the upper and lower classes could still use many social control methods to suppress the mass population in nineteenth-century England.

The first was the impact of an expanding legal system on the lives of working-class people for many different reasons. The most significant shift was the creation of the modern police force in 1829. This made it possible for the police to use their powers to keep political campaigns in check and to protect the state from any future threats. This was important due to the growing fear of public disorder within major UK cities. A change was made in the sentence system, with criminals being classified based on their crime. This classification placed more emphasis upon the crime committed than on the crime being committed. A distinct criminal class was created out of reoccurring offenders. This group was considered to be a danger to the upper classes due its public disorder. However, working-class people felt their privacy was being violated by the police. These changes resulted in a rise in crime reports by working-class people as the police had to find evidence for a case. Although the legal system was designed to oppress the working class in many ways, the police also had the responsibility of finding evidence to support a prosecution. Because the state didn’t intervene in providing social housing for those living in slums, they thought it was a private enterprise. This meant that the majority of housing was provided by middle-class and upper-class companies. They chose to relocate them from their homes as this would have been less desirable. A lack of enforcement on housing regulations meant that quality housing for the working-class was not good. They only covered new-build homes. The majority of upper and middle class used functional segregation as a way to control the masses, while also taking advantage of the fact that there was not enough enforcement of quality housing.

Education can also serve as social control tool for the wealthy classes. Prior to the Forster Education Act, 1870 many working-class people could not afford education. Their prospects were limited and they couldn’t express any negative feelings about the higher classes via the expanding print industry. The police often monitored these protests and oral demonstrations. This made it impossible for them to challenge the upper classes. This became less problematic after the act was passed and there was a short period of time to allow them to become adults. However, the gap between classes in terms of education achievements was still significant.

This statement is not without limitations in regards to middle-class attitudes towards the masses. Aspirational and weakly placed workers, many in the middle were sympathetic to those who are suffering. They also fear being included in the ranks of the rest of the population if their work is stopped. A number of middle class campaigns were launched to improve slum conditions in nineteenth-century Britain. It would be inaccurate to assume that everyone in the middle class was trying to suppress the mass population through their activities in this century.

While there are many instances of upper and middle class social control being used to suppress the British masses, there are also cases where these changes have been beneficial for certain groups. However, not all middle and upper class members used social control to suppress people. In many cases these classes were geared to helping the masses in particular ways. It would be true to say that many people in these classes used social control to their advantage in order to suppress the masses of nineteenth-century Britain.


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    Valentino McIntyre is a 39-year-old blogger and schoolteacher from the United States. He is a dedicated father and husband and has been married to his wife for over 10 years. Valentino has a vast amount of experience in the education field, having worked as a teacher for over 15 years. He is a prolific writer and has been blogging for over 10 years. His blog is a source of information and inspiration for parents and educators.