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Title: De Sociologische verklaring van de sociale kontrole
Authors: Verhoeven, Jef
Issue Date: 1969
Publisher: Uitgeverij SINFRA
Abstract: The sociological explanation of social control adopts the following outline : the putting forward of problems, the status quaestionis, the set of instruments concerning methodology, the sociological starting point, the scientific¬critic analysis of some explanatory models of social control and finally an attempt to explain social control in a sociological way.
The first chapter consists of a rather extensive survey of the questions dealt with in the investigation. This allows us afterwards, to compare the results of the investigation with the aim we had in mind. The main questions of the investigation are : 1) Which are the methodological implications resulting from the explanation of social control by a number of authors ? 2) Which are the conditions that are in our opinion the basis for the explanation of social control ?
The second chapter deals with a status quaestionis. Here we have asked for the present situation of the investigation concerning social control. At the same time we have introduced within this developmental sketch the hypo-thesis put forward by H.C. Brearley in 1962 viz. that there are three main tendencies in the investigation of social control : (i) "those who, like Ross, discuss the number and complexity of the means by which the agents of social control attain uniformity of behaviour" and (ii)"those who, like Cooley, devote their efforts to explaining the effects of social control upon the development of personality". The third tendency is the one that runs parallel to Sumner's, but which can be reduced to the first because of its intrumental tendency. The investigation indicates that Brearley's classifica¬tion doesn't hold. Gurvitch, Oppenheim, Hollingshead, Lemert, Nadel et.al. break through this frame. In the same investigation it has been established that the methodological approach has not yet been realised in studies on social control.
The next two chapters introduce the scientific-critic analysis. In the third chapter a number of concepts are described in the first place because they will be of use for the methodological analysis. This chapter describes what should be understood by the term `explain' and it also describes what laws and theories are. Brief summaries are given of induction, functional explanation, genetic explanation, conceptual and dispositional explanation, and the phenomenological method. Special attention is drawn to the restrictions of the methods. In the second place the selection criteria of the works to be analysed are indicated, because it is practically impossible and scienti¬fically insignificant to take all works into consideration. It has been decided to take six works which are integrally devoted to social control viz. the studies by E.A. Ross, P.H. Landis ; L.L. Bernard, G. Gurvitch, T.T. Segerstedt.
and R.T. LaPiere. The general sociological studies have been chosen on the basis of a historical survey by Don Martindale because he constructs his work by means of the philosophy of science. G. Simmel has been chosen as the representative of formal sociology, P.A. Sorokin has been studied as an organicist, T. Parsons as a functionalist and R.M. Maclver and Page as theorists of sodal behaviour and R. Dahrendorf as a sociologist of conflicts. The methodological analysis of the explanation of social control will be given with respect to the above mentioned works.
However, before an answer is given to the question as to the procedure with the explanation, a description will be given of the sociological starting point of this work and the methodological consequences which result from it. (Chapter 4).
The description of the sociological point of view is the result of the confrontation with the problem of whether to start from the person or society in order to explain social reality. According to G. Gurvitch, A.C. Zijderveld, A. Schiltz, and P.L. Berger both the persons and society are needed so as to explain social reality. Gurvitch and Zijderveld, talk in terms of a dialectic between persons and society. This dialectic opinion results in a number of difficulties. P.L. Berger does not give any methodological aspect of his sociological point of view. Schtz accepts the dialectic movement (used in the sense of Gurvitch) between persons and society in social reality but he does not draw any methodological conclusions from this. Methodologically he starts from the individual.
Schtz is a phenomenologically oriented sociologist. He proceeds from an evereyday knowledge of simpte life to a scientific knowledge. The observer is only in the "Umwelt" capable of grasping in a direct way the behaviour of the other. For a sociologist, however, the "Mitwelt" is the frame of observation. He does not reach the direct experience of the other unless he gets rid of his scientific character. This can be prevented by referring to "ideal types" which form typical patterns of behavior. The postulate of the subjective interpretation is preserved.
With Schtz the attention is drawn to the understanding and explana¬tion of social behaviour as he got it from Max Weber. The method referred to as "Verstehen" is, however, not generally accepted. It has been rejected by various sociologists as being unscientific on the one hand, or referred to the pre-scientific work as a sort of hypothesis formation on the other. For Schtz it is an important method which stands by itself.
After this rather comprehensive introduction, we ask for the methodo-logical features of the explanation of social control in the eleven works mentioned above (Chapter 5).
Finally we reach the last question of this work : which conditions are to be considered as basic for our opinion of social control ? An attempt to answer this question is to be found in chapter six.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IR
Appears in Collections:Centre for Sociological Research

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