What Are the 4 Elements of a 1 Sub Theory of Social Control?


Vincent White

When it comes to understanding social control, there are various theories and concepts that help shed light on this complex phenomenon. One such theory is the 1 Sub Theory of Social Control, which identifies four key elements that play a significant role in maintaining social order and conformity. In this article, we will explore these four elements in depth and understand their implications.

The Four Elements of 1 Sub Theory of Social Control

1. Norms

Norms are a set of socially constructed rules and expectations that guide individuals’ behavior within a specific society or community.

These norms can be formal or informal, explicit or implicit. They establish the boundaries of acceptable behavior and help maintain social order. Violating norms often leads to negative sanctions such as social disapproval or punishment.

2. Values

Values refer to the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide individuals’ attitudes and behaviors.

They represent what is considered important, desirable, or morally right within a society. Values often influence the formation of norms and serve as a foundation for social control. When individuals share common values, it fosters cohesion and cooperation among them.

3. Sanctions

Sanctions are the consequences or responses that individuals receive based on their adherence or violation of societal norms and values.

Sanctions can be positive (rewards) or negative (punishments) and can range from informal reactions like disapproval or exclusion to formal actions like legal penalties. The fear of sanctions acts as a deterrent for deviant behavior, promoting conformity.

4. Socialization

Socialization is the process through which individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to function effectively within a society.

It is primarily carried out by various agents of socialization, such as family, education, media, and peer groups. Socialization plays a vital role in transmitting and reinforcing norms and values, thus contributing to social control.

The Interplay of the Elements

These four elements of the 1 Sub Theory of Social Control are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Norms provide the guidelines for behavior, while values serve as the foundation upon which these norms are built.

Sanctions act as incentives or deterrents to ensure compliance with these norms and values. Lastly, socialization is the mechanism through which individuals internalize these norms and values.

For example:

  • A person growing up in a society that values honesty will internalize this value through socialization.
  • This individual will then learn the specific norms associated with honesty, such as not lying or cheating.
  • If they adhere to these norms, they may receive positive sanctions like praise or trust from others.
  • On the other hand, if they violate these norms by lying or cheating, they may face negative sanctions like social disapproval or loss of trust.

In this way, the four elements of the 1 Sub Theory of Social Control work together to create a system that regulates behavior and maintains social order within a society.


Understanding the four elements – norms, values, sanctions, and socialization – is crucial for comprehending how social control operates in any given society. By analyzing these elements’ interplay, we can gain insights into how individuals are influenced to conform to societal expectations. This knowledge helps us appreciate the mechanisms that maintain order and harmony within communities.

So, the next time you observe individuals adhering to certain norms or facing consequences for deviant behavior, remember the four elements of the 1 Sub Theory of Social Control at play.