Compare and Contrast Two Social Science Views About the Ordering of Social Life.

Compare and contrast two social science views about the ordering of social life

Society is ‘ordered’ and people who live and work within a society are accustom to their way of living and, on the whole, feel uncomfortable or irritated when things disrupt or create disorder within it; Silva writes ‘Order is part of the way people both imagine and practise their social existence’, (2009, p.311).   This essay will look at the different views of social order by two social scientists, Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault; finding similarities and differences, looking at how they think social order is created and maintained and at their very different social science ideas and approaches to researching them.   It will consider what social order is and how people living and working together change it, how it is made and repaired, how our individual interactions affect the order around us and how order is affected by authority and power.

Firstly we will consider the view point of Erving Goffman, a man who studied the behaviours of the individual; he believed that each person’s action or interaction with another person or object was the making of order in society – interactional order.   These interactions show others who we are, what we expect from them and how we expect to get it; he also felt that the individual would knowingly or unknowingly act the part, acting in a way that is seen as normal, depending on the circumstance they were in (Taylor, 2009).   Goffman was only interested in the micro-level of social order and how this was performed in the role of organisations and institutions, he researched this by taking part in participant observation in everyday situations within workplaces (Silva, 2009).   Goffman felt that people would interact with each other on many levels including through the use of language and body language, being able to communicate how far the interaction would go by just using a gaze or a bodily gesture (The Open University, Act.23, 2014) and in...