Nathalie Dagmang

July 16, 2010

2010-24702 BS Community Nutrition


Social order is a state in which the society s fundamental operations are carried out

easily and without interference. This can be attained if the institutions that compose the society perform their tasks efficiently. At this state, a normal and organized way of interacting and behaving is maintained among the members of the society. According to Thomas Hobbes, social order is achieved with the help of the social contract. His theory of social contract states that the society and its members agree to cooperate with each other in exchange of certain benefits (such as labor force and security) that they receive in doing so. Individuals sacrifice their independent decisions, rights and liberties in exchange for the security that the society gives them. Another theory on how to achieve social order is stated by Marx. He said that social cohesion is based on the economic structure of the society which causes the interdependence of its members. According to Talcott Parsons, social order is the set of social institutions determining moral behavior while according to Jurgen Habermas, all said factors plus communicative action creates social order. And lastly, as stated by Emile Durkheim, social order is a set of social norms, an aspect of culture, which is learned through socialization. Socialization is the process in which values and other aspects of culture are transmitted to or learned by an individual. He/she becomes aware of social patterns and roles where his/her own personality will be based upon. Humans are only blank pages when they are

born. They do not have strong instincts. They do not know how to interact with people, or even to perform human actions . Because of this, socialization is a process that every human should undergo to be able to survive and develop and be able to perform his/her role in the society and cooperate with the other members. Culture, also learned in the process of socialization, defines a society and distinguishes it and its members from others. It is composed of the material and non-material products of the group. Material culture is made up by the tangible products of the society while nonmaterial culture consists of its values, norms, language and beliefs. The values, specifically, dictate what is good and bad, what is right and wrong, and what is desirable and undesirable. It guides the individual in developing his/her own personality, how he/she is going to act and what will his/her attitude towards things will be. The values of the society also shape its goals and principles. In effect, the members who have adapted the values will unite to reach their common goal. They will be encouraged to efficiently perform their roles, and the tasks that accompany them, and to cooperate with other members. Norms, another part of the non material culture, are based on the values of the society. These give structure, pattern/uniformity and stability by serving as bases on how the members would act in specific situations. Without these, and other aspects of culture such as language and beliefs, social interaction would be difficult, full of conflict, and even dangerous. If members of the society do not conform to the norms, or even know which norms to conform


to, social interaction will be chaotic, thus threatening and interfering with the fundamental operations in the society. Therefore, internal social control can be achieved through the individual s acceptance/internalization of the norms of the group that he/she belongs to. The individual may have accepted the norms of the group because of how he/she was socialized the beginning of his/her life. At this time, the norms that the individual learned seem the proper way, or even sometimes, the only way of handling things for him. They usually conform to the norms because they may not know any other way. Also, through exposure and repetition, the norms become habitual to the individual. Eventually, it would be difficult for the person to not conform to the norms and he/she will realize that following these will make his/her life easier. Another reason why people choose to conform to the norms is the utility and effectiveness of these. They see that the norms are necessary for them to be able to interact with each other easily and for the best interests of all. For example, people choose to line up when buying tickets, even if they know that not lining up and going straight to the front of the line would make things easier for them. This is because they know that they should line up to make things fair and more organized. They also know that going straight to the front of the line would only make the others mad and only create conflicts. The last reason why people conform to the norms is its use as group identification. They conform to a group s norms because they want to be identified as its member. For instance, those who live in the city will not wear bahag, although it seems an appropriate outfit for the


weather. This is because city-dwellers want to be identified with those who other city-dwellers and not with ethnic groups like the Igorots. External social control, on the other hand, is imposed on the society through sanctions wherein individuals are rewarded when they conform to the dominant culture and punished when they deviate. Sanctions can either be imposed formally through the rules implemented by the authority, and informally through the negative reactions of other people to the deviant. Through external social control, people are encouraged, or even forced, to conform to the norms of the society that he/she belongs to. Social control, either internal or external, is essential for social order. Through this, deviance will be minimized and the fundamental operations of the society will be carried out easily and without interference. In most countries, education is prioritized because of its importance on the maintenance of social order. In schools, children also learn through socialization with their classmates, teachers and other people that they meet in the campus. Because the population of the school is so diverse, they learn how to treat different kinds of people and how to act around them. In effect, students interact will be able to interact with other people more easily thus also making it easy for them to carry out their tasks and cooperate with other members of the society. Also common in the culture of most countries is the treatment of theft as a crime. If their culture would allow theft, many social institutions will break down. Banks, businesses and


other money generating organizations will close and will not be encouraged to perform and provide the society its needs. II. When people think about their personal troubles, they tend to look only in the internal

factors of these problems. They only look in the causes that are apparent in the close environment and in the events where they are directly involved. They do not look outside their own lives. Rather, they only notice what happens to them, what may be the cause of this, and how this can affect his life and of those who are important to them. But they do not realize that, like what C.W. Mills said, neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both. It is important for an individual to first locate himself to be able to see what his group has done to make his trouble happen. This way of looking at one s personal troubles is referred by Mills as the sociological imagination. Using the sociological imagination , and other social sciences, one could distinguish a personal trouble from a public issue. Personal troubles can be seen as events that only concerns an individual. The values threatened by the situation only concerns the individual. Thus, it can be resolved even just by the individual. There are no debates on what values are threatened and how to resolve the problem. The individual is the only one who has the power to decide on what will be the solution to this. Public issues, on the other hand, are events in which the values threatened are of the whole society. These may concern other members of the society because they know that these can contribute to the breakdown/failure of social institutions and interfere with the social

processes necessary for the performance of the whole society. They realize that they, too, may be affected by the outcome of these. Events that are considered as public issues also threaten values that are cherished by the whole society, making these the concern of every member. In effect, there is usually a debate on what value is threatened, how it is threatened, and if it really is threatened in the situation. Although public issues cause problems to the social structure, in some occasions, these may also become helpful in the development of the society and its members. For one reason, public issues may induce debates between different sectors. Through these debates, the views of the different sectors are heard, questions are answered and better solutions are formulated. Debates usually result to the creation of laws that are thought to be helpful in resolving the issue. For example, in the Philippines, debates on graft and corruption encouraged (or even forced) the officials to create laws and members of the society to form non-governmental organizations to minimize corruption in the government. Even Nongovernmental Organizations take part in the movement against corruption and encourage other people to do so. Also, other social issues may also be raised in debates. Like in most political debates in the Philippines regarding corruption, human rights violation issues are usually also talked about. Another positive effect of public issues is the members raised involvement in finding and carrying out better solutions for the problem. Members of the society, directly involved or not, become more aware of what is happening in their surroundings and may even want to take

part in the process of resolving the issue. They may try to look outside of their private lives and cooperate with other members for the betterment of the whole group. At present, one can see this effect in environmental issues that the whole world is facing. People become aware of what is happening with our environment and how each of us, how trivial our actions may be, contributes to the destruction of the planet. Because of this, people try to change their ways to contribute to the world movement of saving the earth. Everyone may not be trying to change their ways of living for their own benefit and not for the whole world, but this public issue in particular has already created a trend /fad in our society that it has also helped in saving the environment in this way. People tend to follow the trends and unconsciously save the earth. This issue also encouraged officials of the Philippine government to create laws on saving the environment such as the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act, Solid Waste Management Act and the Clean Air Act. Oftentimes, social issues encourage the members of the society to take action and contribute for the welfare of the group. They are encouraged to conform to norms to preserve the values of the group and achieve their common goal. This and the creation of laws help the society gain control (through external and internal social control) over its members to be able to maintain peace and order in the society.


References: The Social Order: An introduction to Sociology by Robert Bierstedt A Dictionary of Sociology 1998 Gordon-Marshall Sociological Imagination C. Wright Mills Sociology Eighth Edition by David Popenoe Theories of Social Order by Michael Hechter and Christine Horne


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