SOCY 507: Sociology of Social Control

Professor Mathieu Deflem, Ph.D.
University of South Carolina
Department of Sociology
Office: Sloan 217


The objectives of this upper-level undergraduate course are to engage students in the sociological study of social control, i.e., the definition of and response to crime and/or deviance. The course primarily deals with the official treatment of crime through a system of criminal justice, especially from a historical viewpoint as well as with respect to a variety of comparative and international developments.

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to understand the manner in which sociologists study various structures and processes of social control and empirically analyze relevant aspects of social control in a variety of social settings.

The themes of this course involve a selection of topics in the sociology of social control. First, the course provides an overview of relevant sociological theories 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 punishment. 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 aspects of the policing of terrorism, both at home and abroad.

The course syllabus is available to all registered students via Blackboard

1. Sociological Theories of Social Control
2. Discipline and Punishment
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 articles. For registered students, all readings except the Deflem book on the policing of terrorism 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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