Charting the distinctive theoretical traditions informing the history of sociology, Levine (1995) argues that the ‘problem of order’ has been key not only to the writings of classical and contemporary sociologists but also to the successes of the social sciences as a whole. The question of how it is possible for people to live relatively peaceably for significant periods, with conflict mediated and managed within legitimate institutional channels, is as relevant contemporarily in this time of accelerated change as it has ever been. Indeed, Archer’s (2007) suggestion that we inhabit an age characterized by morphogenesis – in which social, cultural and technological dynamics amplify each other, resulting in the unsustainability of previous habits, customs, expectations, beliefs and, indeed, entire ‘ways of life’ – makes sociologically vital the issue of how societies can avoid destructive conflict and fragmentation and achieve sufficient levels of integration.