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In societies and communities, there is a need for social order in institutions and traditions in order to keep the society together and operate cooperatively preventing it from falling apart. Social order is what holds the society together and people need to comply with what the society expects of them. For any form of order to be maintained in a society, there is a need for some degree of control on the individual right from childhood to adulthood.
Social order is a fundamental concept in sociology that refers to the way that the various components of society and institutions, social relations, social interaction and behavior, and cultural aspects such as norms, beliefs, and values work together to maintain the status quo. This is the way in which a society is organized along with certain rules and standards that are set forth in order to maintain that organization.
In a society, individuals live together and interact in unique arrangements such as families, churches, formal and informal groups, institutions and organizations. Some individuals belong to a single group while others belong to more than one. These structures take on the form that is in a form of hierarchy in which some people have more power than others and use this power in order to enforce laws and rules that govern it.
Benefits of Social Order to a society
As discussed earlier on, it’s important to appreciate the essentiality of social solidarity for the existence of society. As known that people are different in nature with varying ideas, interests and attitudes, therefore, each individual has a unique personality.
The differences among individuals can, for instance, be based on the religious orientation in which some are orthodox and others are Catholic. This explains the society as a heterogeneous organization. In case an individual is granted freedom with no limits on how to behave it may give rise to a social disorder. Therefore it is necessary to have social control to bring about an orderly social life.
Most of us agree that murder is out of order and that we have to work to earn our money and this is based on the morals and values of our societies. And as societies evolve, so does the order change. In that citizens have to work collaboratively with the law to set up systems that reward good behavior and systems that punish bad ones. We also find such systems set up in our homes, in schools and other institutions.
It’s through means of social contracts that our societies remain stable through implied agreements. These contracts are standards and exceptions that most people believe necessary to maintain order and progress. According to philosopher Thomas Hobbes the people within a society agreed to empower the state to enforce the rule of law, and in exchange, they gave up some individual power leading to a form of social contract. He argued that a society cannot exist without such a contract because it would be filled with fighting and chaos. In order to bring about social order in the society, modern states were created within which this order was enforced. The people in the society entrusted the state to enforce the rule of law while they gave and in so doing gave up some of their individual power which formed the basis of Hobbes’ theory of social order.
In our world today even though the society is made up of different groups of people with different goals yet there is always a need to work together cooperatively. This helps explain why we do look out for one another, obey the law and other rules and also invest in our futures.
The problem of social order gives rise to the concept of cooperation and concept of coordination each of which is a need that needs to be met by not only the individual but by also the society. We do need to recognize that we as people are both individuals and social creatures. Not only do we want our needs to be met, but we also have expectations of those in the world around us.
As people, we do have a need to be happy and don’t want to live a miserable life and therefore we have to rely on other people in order to be happy. For instance, it is unimaginable how life can be if for instance you are sent to live on an island alone. This clearly shows why we do need one another in order to be happy. Since we need people in order to be happy, therefore we need others to be happy so that we are also happy. However, there is a tension that arises between the individual self-interests and interests of the group which brings in the need for both coordination and cooperation.
Coordination does create an order which means that when we don’t coordinate with one another it will give rise to disorder which can also be referred to as anomie. Coordination does require predictability and stability when we know that we can rely on the world in which we live in. There is a need to behave in a predictable way in which can coordinate our life with the lives of others. However, when society acts in unpredictable ways, we begin to become disorderly. It is important we have this coordination structure to depend on that even if is invisible we can rely on it. Take for instance driving. When you get in a car to drive, you have to abide by the rules that govern the road, drive on the side of the road that you must drive on and stop when you need to stop on the red light and also mindful of the people driving around us. This is the kind of structure that we need in place to assume that people will behave the same way when we come in contact with them.
Cooperation is doing things that benefit others and not just ourselves. When we work in a structure willing to support us, we, in turn, cooperate with one another. The individual decides to follow the rules and laws because they are beneficial to all of us. Some may decide to do some volunteer work. However, when we don’t have cooperation in society, people become too individualistic whereby they look out only for themselves. With lack of cooperation, the need for collective action decreases and many of the collective needs go unmet. For example, when we as voters perceive that politicians do not meet the needs of the people, there will be a low voter turnout. In this way, people begin to serve their own interests without consideration for others around them.
When cooperation is working well, we work together. For example, when a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina hit America, many volunteers came to the aid of survivors and many food resources where given to the flood rescuers and victims. This required some bit of sacrifice on the side of the volunteers or Aid groups in order to help fix the problem that had happened so that everything could be put back into some sort of reasonable social order. Cooperation and coordination are required to create a world that we want to live in. We must have social order and not take that order for granted. We must have public policy that addresses issues which make it difficult for individuals not to want to cooperate.
Social order is what holds the society together and people need to comply with what the society expects of them. For any form of order to be maintained in a society, there is a need for some degree of control on the individual right from childhood to adulthood. It’s an interesting concept of social
Theorist Opinions on Social Order
Karl Marx’s Take On Social Order: With a focus on the transition from a pre-capitalist to capitalist economies, and their impact on society formed a background to Karl Marx’s theory of social order. Whereby the economic structure of a society and the social relations of how goods are made create a form of social order which is maintained through the cultural aspects of society, its social institutions, and the state.
The shift to a capitalist industrial economy throughout of Europe brought up hierarchical class-based society. This society had a large class of workers exploited by the small minority who held the power that included the factory owners and their wealthy financiers. This first class of bourgeoisie owned the product, means of production and the profit whereas the second class of laborers who could not afford to invest in mass production, the only thing they could sell was their labor. Marx believed that the laborers gained little and lost much while the bourgeoisie benefited more. He believed that the proletariat could eventually overtake the Bourgeoisie leading to a revolution through redistribution of resources. The social institutions of like education, religion, and media focus on the values and norms of the ruling class so as to maintain a social order which in most cases serves their interest and safeguards their power.
Cultural Theory of Social Order: According to French sociologist Emile Durkheim, culture is the most important aspect of this theory of social order. During his study, he noted that the social order in primitive and traditional societies was maintained majorly on the shared values, norms and beliefs within those societies.
He noted that with that kind of culture in a society, there is a form of social connection which binds the people together leading to a form of collective conscience. The way people interact in the social institutions such as the state, education, news media and cultural products forms the basis of their participation in the maintenance of rules and norms that brings about a smooth functioning society.
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