A social order involves a sense of how individuals all fit together in shared spaces. Social order could not be made and repaired unless individuals were able to make sense of, and make use of, shared norms which govern our behaviour in shared spaces. The ordinariness of these shared norms and expectations means that we often take social order for granted because it is so much a part of our ordinary everyday actions. In fact, we only tend to become aware of the complexity of social ordering when it is disrupted in some way, as in the car accident example at the beginning of Chapter 7. Similarly, because social order is not universal or fixed, we are able to notice different ways of ordering in different cultures or societies and in different historical periods.
For Goffman, social order is produced through the regular practices, performances and interactions of people in their daily lives. Goffman was concerned with the ways in which people's actions and interactions are coordinated in daily life. He viewed society as a vast network of individuals all of whom were engaged in performing a multiplicity of social roles in a variety of contexts. Through their everyday actions, practices and interactions with others, individuals contribute to making and repairing social order. Sometimes people act and interact cooperatively, other times competitively or in conflict. In general, however, people are able to negotiate breaches and repair social order.
For Foucault, social order is shaped and organised by authoritative knowledge. Foucault's work examines how social order is shaped and organised by authoritative knowledge, particularly forms of knowledge that are put to work in social and political institutions like the family, school, hospitals, prisons or government welfare systems. In particular, he is interested in the powerful ways in which order is imagined, talked about and written about - the ways in which knowledge about order comes to circulate in society....
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