SOCY 507: Sociology of Social Control

Professor Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Sociology
Office: Sloan 217
Spring 2015: Class will meet MW in Sloan 104 at 2:20pm


This upper-level undergraduate course engages students in the sociological study of the societal construction and response to deviance and crime. The perspective of this course is not centered on deviance and crime, but on the manner in which a society attempts to control deviant and/or criminal behavior.

The themes of this course involve a selection of topics in the sociology of social control. First, the course provides an overview of theories in the sociology of social control and traces the history of the concept of social control in American sociology. Second, we discuss the concept of discipline and its relevance for the study of social control. Third, attention goes to contemporary forms of surveillance and the role of police. Fourth, we focus on the history and contemporary conditions of international police cooperation. And, fifth, we analyze sociological aspects of the policing of terrorism, both at home and abroad.

The course syllabus will be emailed to all registered students before the first class.

1. Sociological Theories of Social Control
2. Discipline and Social Control
3. Surveillance and Policing
4. International Police Cooperation
5. The Policing of Terrorism


The required readings for this course consist of two books and several research articles. For registered students, all readings except the Deflem book on counterterrorism are available in pdf format on Blackboard.



Graduate students in MA and PhD programs need to fulfill all of the readings and assignments that are specified for undergraduate students. Additionally, they also have to read some additional writings (delivered by the instructor via email) and they need to complete two papers: a mid-term paper, and a final research paper. Details of the graduate assignments are to be obtained from the instructor. Please contact by email or after the first class. 

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