Social order is one of the most central aspects of sociology. Two main factors are necessary for the existence of social order: predictability of society and cooperative behaviour of individuals (Hechter and Horne, 2003). In this essay I will describe how ‘values and norms’ and …show more content…
This suggests that although norms are regarded as external criteria for evaluation, external factors alone are not enough for them to be effective, they also need to have some internal basis to account for social order.
One of the issues with explaining social order simply as people following norms is that the norms are regularly violated and do not prevent deviant behaviour. In addition norms cannot fully account for social order in capitalist societies where according to Engels (1884 in Hechter and Horne, 2003) a minority (the capitalists) dominates and exploits the majority (the working class). Engels considers coercion by a central authority, the state, ‘necessary to moderate the conflict and keep it within the bounds of ‘order’ ’(Engels, 1884 in Hechter and Horne, 2003:179)
Hobbes’ (1651 in Hechter and Horne, 2003) explanation of social order is also based on a central authority. According to him all humans desire approximately the same things and therefore if given complete freedom are in a state of a constant competitive struggle. The authority of a state to which the individuals surrender part of their freedom is the only way to prevent conflict and disorder. One of the problems with Hobbes’ theory is that he assumes humans to be rational egoists, which is not necessarily true. The opposite is suggested by the findings of Joseph Henrich et al. (2004) that most people play the Ultimatum Game pro-socially rather than selfishly, as a rational egoist would.