Religious belief and social control, with special reference to patterns of stability and change in classical Athens and ancient Egypt
The social sciences are vitiated by the perennial problem of social order. Questions concerning the nature and possible determinants of social formations are often intriguing and necessarily conjectural, but the problem of how such structures are then kept in being constitutes one of the fundamental issues of sociology. Social order connotes social stability, and this is necessarily difficult to study in the modern world of dissolving and crystallizing social patterns. This thesis, therefore, sets out to examine the problem of order in the context of complex pre-industrial society which, whilst not completely., static, exhibits more clearly and comprehensively the persistent features of institutional life. The discussion rests upon a typification of Static and Dynamic societies. The Static society is characterised by retrospective orientations and eunomic (good order) stability, and the Dynamic society by qualified prospective orientations and anomic innovation. It hypotheses that these factors, in turn, can be related to the nature, form and implementation of the belief-systems concerned. The term 'pre-industrial society' is not a vague classification which can be stamped on an undifferentiated past. Certainly the ancient world' witnessed a great variety of systems. The main body, of this discussion is involved with a comparative analysis of two such systems, Egypt and Classical Athens, which may be typified as Static and Dynamic societies. Key institutional areas are-examined and related to the main themes of religion and social control.