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Theories of Social Disorder in Contemporary UK Society

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1526 words Published: 12th Aug 2021

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In UK's society, like in many other Modern society's Life is ordered in a certain way, They live in what is called a democratic society where everyone in theory has a voice and is heard and everyone gets to help pick who is in power or rather they get the freedom of making a choice. Those that are placed in power by the majority of the society in theory help maintain the social balance and laws that will govern that society in a certain way. This type of society is arranged in a certain order and those that live in this society are accustomed to life having an order and an acceptable set of rules in which they live within. This is social order an accepted Group belief on the ways of life in the society. The people who live in these society's are accustomed to its order and anything or anyone that disrupts their order are seen as a threat to their beliefs and on their ways of life these people are a seen as a disruptive or called and disruptive element and are said to bring disorder. This behavior can be categorized as antisocial or Social Disorder. But who gets to decide on what is actually classed as order and what is classed as disorder?"

To be able to provide an answer to the question about theories of disorder in contemporary UK Society. An understanding of social order and where it comes from needs to be understood. Then looking at why social disorder is, and how it affects society on a whole.

By doing so a better idea of UK societies is gained and why order is so important and why disorder can become such an issue to society. Looking first at Social order and how people get accustomed to order.

People get used to their society working in a certain way it becomes a natural accepted way of life to them. But who decides on this way of life and what the order should be. An attempt can be made to try to show this by comparing and contrasting the works of two social scientists Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault (Silva pp.316).

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According to Geoffman's Apotheosis people come together in many ways. Society is not a separate entity with needs of its own but rather instead, society is a construction of many individual parts these parts made up of actions and interactions of many parts. Society is like a vast network of individual parts and that social order is caused by action put together by its individual parts. These are not repeated the same every time, as actions are made remade, worked and reworked all the time. This can simply best be summed up in saying. Interactional order creates social order (Silva pp 317).

In comparison when the work of the social scientist Michel Foucault is looked at, He examined how the social order is organized and shaped. Foucault claimed society is made and remade through, power of discourses and authoritative knowledge. His apotheosis was that the dominant ways of thinking, Came from ether an authoritative entity, professionals and experts in positions of authority and that the order in society is made from alterative power and discourse. Foucault says that "in any given historical period, ways of thinking and talking are organized in systems of discourses". These discourses can be seen as what determines the dominant ways of thinking and subsequently what the order in the society will be (Silva pp.319-324).

In the comparison between the work of Geoffman and Foucault, They both have different apotheosis as has been shown earlier and both gave a strong explanation on how order is created in society and where it comes from. Both had their own merits but Foucault Seems apart from lacking to take the creative process of the individual into account uses a scientific basis to his apotheosis which helps to add to the validity of his claims and this builds a stronger apotheosis than the one put across by Geoffman.

Now that a basic idea on what social order is has been gained its now time to take a look at what social disorder is, who creates it. To gain a better a basic idea of social disorder the works of the two social scientists Stuart Hall and Stanley Cohen, have been used and will be compared and contrast.

So let's first look at what is social Disorder? Social disorder can be said to be any thing differing from 'normal'. There is no universally recognized definition as to what contributes social disorder, disorderly/anti-social (which people are identified as anti-social or disorderly) or essential definition of certain things being 'right' and others 'wrong'. The definition of disorderly or 'anti-social' is actually constructed in specific societies and therefore differs between places. Indeed, the very term 'anti-social' is of relatively recent origin (Kelly, Toynbee.pp367-368). And such definitions are potentially an issue of conflict and power. This leads to the issue of the value-laden nature of defining disorderly/anti-social behaviors' and people via law, social policy and media. A definition of disorderly/anti-social behavior is also a concept invoked by communities, an imagined 'we' who judge some activities and people as disorderly/anti-social in the separated, yet overlapping, social space, Toynbee.pp368). Antisocial behavior' has now become a catch-all term to describe anything from noisy neighbors and graffiti to kids hanging out on the street. Indeed, it appears that almost any kind of unpleasant behavior can now be categorized as antisocial or Social Disorder.

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Stanley Cohen puts forward the Apotheosis on social disorder that society's media over reacts to an aspect of a group or individual's behavior which may be seen as a challenge to existing social normality. However, the type of media response and the way it deals with the representation of that behavior will actually helps to define it, communicate it and portray it to society as a model for others to observe and adopt in their own way. He puts forward that the way group or individuals behavior represented in the media causes moral panic and that the fears generated are out of all proportion to the scale of the actual behavior which is the subject of the panic by society and will arguable fuel yet further sociably unacceptable behavior. (Kelly, Toynbee.pp378)

Stuart Hall and his colleagues employing Cohen's definition of moral panic theorized that the "rising crime rate equation" has an ideological function relating to social control. Crime statistics, in Hall's view, are often manipulated for political and economic purposes. Moral panics (e.g. over mugging) could thereby be ignited in order to create public support for the need to "police the crisis." this was the creation of a 'Law and Order society'.

The media played a central role in this new law and order Society "in order to reap the rewards of lurid crime stories. After a period of stabilized consent the government relationship to the British society was starting to begin to crack and was coming to an end, in the form of social and political dissent. This dissent ranged from strikes and industrial unrest, intense political and military conflict in Northern Ireland, to the emergence of new social movements trying to promote or provoke social change. (Kelly, Toynbee.pp371)

The British state those that are those in authority the most rich or powerful in society e.g. government, police, judges, politicians and lords used a crack down on crime and violence, particularly among young men of ethnic origin. This changed the status and the state it became a definer' of disorder. The media then taking the cue from those in power made use of terminology, for instance the word 'mugging 'and extended it in society eyes, giving them a popular ring. This helped cover the deep-seated causes of social conflict, chiefly inequality, and the original social issues were now masked and turned into a moral and legal struggle e.g. violence'. This was the birth of a 'Law and Order society'(Kelly, Toynbee.pp380)

In conclusion in this essay it was shown what social order was and how it works and how disorder is made and used examples of how order works and about disorder was used to build a full picture. First by Geoffman who saw society as a network of individuals interacting. Then by Foucault who saw society as controlled and dominated by the powerful and authorities. Then we looked Stanley Cohen theories about media manipulating and escalating disorder in contemporary UK society and in part causing grater disorder in society. Then finally, Stuart Hall theory that social disorder was used as a way of manipulating issues and discord in society and that the media was used as a tool to suit there means.

So to conclude society in UK is a democracy where we vote for who has the power then those who are in power use the media to manipulate and escalate to cover deep-seated causes of social conflict and they become the definers of what social disorder is and use it as required to keep stability in their society. They become the definer of social disorder and can change it to suit there political and social needs.


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