Compare and Contrast Goffman’s and Foucault’s Explanations of How Social Order Is Made and Remade

1615 Words Jul 31st, 2012 7 Pages
There are many theories regarding how social order is produced and reproduced , but this essay will focus on the similarities and differences between the two contrasting accounts of how social order is produced, provided by Goffman and Foucault. Social order is the term used to describe the unspoken rules of conduct in everyday life, or a stable social situation in which connections are maintained without change or if change occurs it is in a predictable way. (Taylor, 2009, p. 173) These differing views can be related to the governance of traffic presented in the case studies of the Buchanan report and Monderman’s thesis. This is a useful and relevant example which can be applied to the general theories which need covering first of all. …show more content…
The repetitive practice and actions of these individuals create order, but as these practices change so social change comes about. Whereas Foucault suggests that we live in a disciplinary society, one where corrective action is used to obtain and enforce obedience and order. (Silva, 2009, p. 322) From this point of view it is social order that shapes and constrains people, human behaviour being regulated by many different organisations. Foucault’s studies put forward three different types of power that are involved in the making of social order. He terms these sovereign power, that of the ruling authorities, who use punishment and laws to maintain social order. The second is surveillance, behaviour is controlled through the keeping of information about people. If people are aware of being watched they tend to regulate their own conduct. Foucault argues that the power of surveillance becomes internalised as individuals seek to make their routines and practices fit with the norm. The third is liberalism, where people are under the illusion that they are individuals with self-direction and personal choice, but have actually internalised social order due to the widespread discourse of individualism. So for Foucault social order is achieved through these different levels of power permeating through society, creating disciplined self-control in the individual, what form this
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