Traditional society was a far more hierarchically ordered society than today's modern western society. Members of that society were expected to know their place within it, and could suffer consequences ranging from disapproval to punishment if they breached the acceptable terms of behaviour and manners for their rank or status within it.
Frequently those of a higher status within society would consider that they had the right, perhaps even the duty, to correct, speak to or intervene in situations and to people of a lower status than themselves, and to be treated with respect and deference when they did so.
Spanking in traditional society
It would not be considered unusual in a number of circumstances for such correction and intervention to take the form of spanking or other such chastisement. For many artists and authors, and also in roleplaying, a scenario may be created to model a Traditional Society in order that the spanking may take place without excessively straining the percieved reality of the situation.
In many situations, it would considered perfectly normal for parents to spank their sons and daughters, teachers their pupils, husbands their wives, and masters and mistressess their servants and maids. Such chastisement would be expected in some cases, with parents supporting the actions of teachers and employers, for example, and even providing additional discipline of their own to reinforce the first punishment.
It was also common in traditional socities for criminals to be subject to corporal punishment, whether by being flogged at the public whipping post, privately in prison, or at the cart's tail, by public display in pillory or the stocks, or some form of public penance. This would be considered right and proper by many members of the public, and such open humiliation considered a necessary part of such punishment.