A few scholars would argue that stateless societies imply lack of proper law and order mechanism, while some other scholars would suggest that there was a particular system of maintaining law and order even in the stateless societies.
In the stateless societies, one may not find the centralized law enforcing authorities that are noticeable in the modern times. Stateless societies give the impression that they are disorderly and chaotic. Although such societies lack proper order, one may not consider them as chaotic. In the stateless societies, there is no concentration of powers in the hands of a single authority. Even in societies that lack state institutions, there are mechanisms by which law and order is maintained.
The members of the society can collectively decide regarding the accepted ways of behavior. There can be consensus among the different members of the society regarding the methods of maintaining particular social order. Those people who break the norms and customs of the society can be punished by the community.
However, such punishments may not be unjust so that they do not overcompensate the crime committed by the person. There are no written rules regarding the kind of punishment that a particular crime deserves. In such a society, there are also provisions for settling disputes among different members so that some sort of order is maintained. However, this is not to mean that stateless societies were ideal societies. There were several instances of norm breaking activities. In such cases, the local community were given the authority to punish the offenders.
Even in the absence of centralized administrators, it was possible to maintain some sort of order and avoid chaos. The potential criminals and norm offenders were discouraged by the earlier examples of punishment given to the people who tried to threaten the peace and order in the society. Thus, the stateless societies may not be considered as chaotic although there were many instances of norm breaking activities.