The very existence of these different activities and different sets of people naturally makes for differences of interest.
Still in all social organisations, there is some measure of stability and cohesion, the sources of which are not properly known. It is at this point that the problem of order arises; that is, the problem of explaining the integration and continuity of social structures. As Peter Worsley has stated the problem of order centres round issues such as—”The coordination of activities, limitations upon the use of force; the containment of conflicts; and the unification of diverse activities”.
Three important problem-areas which involve different levels of analysis are as follows: 1. The Problem of Meaning: This refers to the “ways in which men came to experience the world as an orderly place and are able to communicate with others about it”. People communicate among themselves and on that basis co-ordinate their activities.
This co-ordination of activities and co-operation in actual work is possible because one tries to understand the intentions, desires, commands and refusals of another. A communication process is, therefore, a precondition of co-operative and concerted social activity. Here, the main emphasis is upon the way in which men try to understand their social world, and the connections between their understanding of the world and their mastery of it.
Men “interpret the world and give it meaning so that they may act upon it, control their situation and destiny, and thereby achieve the ends that they desire”. This does not mean that men often find their world as “meaningless” and “chaotic”. It only means that even in situations of disaster when normal channels of communication breakdown, authority-structures collapse, a state of normlessness prevails, “men immediately set out to discover sense and significance in them”.
2. The Problem of Social Control: The problem of social control revolves round the following questions…. “How are the activities of different individuals brought together into stable and enduring patterns? How can their activities be fitted together so that the behaviour of one person produces appropriate responses in another? How is it that when one individual initiates a particular line of action he finds that others respond to it in ways that he considers appropriate, act as he expects them to?”‘-Peter Worsley The problem of meaning reveals as to how men transform their experience into a meaningful, orderly and predictable social world, and establish effective expectations about the behaviour of people who live in that world. The problem of social control reveals “how these expectations are effective, why the world behaves in accord, more or less, with our expectations”. It studies as to how “Men do make decisions and choices and carry them out, not in a random and idiosyncratic way, however, but within the context of rules which they share with other individuals”. Social control throws light on the fact that they act in terms of rules that makes men’s conduct predictable.
And it is a fact that these rules are shared that makes one man’s conduct predictable to another. 3. The Problem of Unity of Social Life: Within the common social boundaries of society many different kinds of social groups are functioning pursuing a wide variety of activities. These groups may be mutually conflicting and their activities may be contradictory also. In the midst of these differences, divisions, conflicts and contradictions society strives and struggles to maintain stability and order. In their attempts to analyse the unity of society, that is, the integration of whole social life, social thinkers and sociologists have developed two theoretical models: (i) ‘the value- consensus model’, and (ii) the conflict model.
The former stresses the importance of shared values and rules in bringing about unity. It stresses that a network of rules and values stabilizes peoples’ relationships which in turn contributes to the unity and solidarity of the society. The latter emphasises power and domination of various types—military, judicial, spiritual and economic. It also stresses the capacity of those who dominate to enforce order.