From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Social order is a concept used in sociology, history and other social sciences.
Thus, a "social order" is a relatively stable system of institutions, pattern of interactions and customs, capable of continually reproducing at least those conditions essential for its own existence. The concept thus refers to all those facets of society which remain relatively constant over time.
The "problem of social order," how and why it is that social orders exists at all, is historically central to sociology. Thomas Hobbes is recognized as the first to clearly formulate the problem, to answer which he conceived the notion of a social contract. Social theorists (such as Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim, Talcott Parsons, and Jürgen Habermas) have proposed different explanations for what a social order consists of, and what its real basis is. For Marx, it is the relations of production or economic structure which is the basis of a social order. For Durkheim, it is a set of shared social norms. For Parsons, it is a set of social institutions determining moral behaviour. For Habermas, it is all of these, as well as communicative action.