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A society is a
group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with ...
of individuals involved in persistent
social interaction In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from individual agency form the basis of social structure and the basic object for analysis by social scie ...
, or a large
social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Other theorists disagree however, and are wary of definitions which ...
sharing the same spatial or social territory, typically subject to the same
political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, such as the distribution of re ...

political
authority and dominant cultural expectations. Societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (
social relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship between two or more individuals. Social relations derived from individual agency form the basis of social structure and the basic object for analysis by social scie ...
s) between individuals who share a distinctive
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...

culture
and
institutions Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to social mechanism, mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community, and are ide ...

institutions
; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent of members. In the
social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociol ...

social science
s, a larger society often exhibits
stratification Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
or dominance patterns in subgroups. Societies construct patterns of behavior by deeming certain actions or concepts as acceptable or unacceptable. These patterns of behavior within a given society are known as
societal norms Social norms are regarded as collective representations of acceptable group conduct as well as individual perceptions of particular group conduct. They can be viewed as cultural products (including values, customs, and traditions)Sherif, M. (193 ...
. Societies, and their norms, undergo gradual and perpetual changes. Insofar as it is
collaborative Collaboration is the process of two or more people, entities or organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an institution, or an association ...
, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would otherwise be difficult on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap. A society can also consist of like-minded people governed by their own norms and values within a dominant, larger society. This is sometimes referred to as a
subculture A subculture is a group of people within a culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, c ...
, a term used extensively within
criminology Criminology (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of ...
, and also applied to distinctive subsections of a larger society. More broadly, and especially within structuralist thought, a society may be illustrated as an
economic An economy (; ) is an area of the Production (economics), production, Distribution (economics), distribution and trade, as well as Consumption (economics), consumption of Goods (economics), goods and Service (economics), services by different a ...
, social,
industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
or
cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
infrastructure Infrastructure is the set of fundamental facilities and systems that support the sustainable functionality of households and firms. Serving a country, city, or other area, including the services and facilities necessary for its economy An eco ...

infrastructure
, made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than "other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social environment.


Etymology and usage

The term "society" came from the 12th Century French ''société'' (meaning 'company'). This was in turn from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
word ''
societas Consensu or obligatio consensu or obligatio consensu contracta or obligations ex consensuGeorge Bowyer, ''Commentaries on the Modern Civil Law'' (London: V & R Stevens and G S Norton, 1848), chapter 26p 201 or contractus ex consensu or contracts con ...
'', which in turn was derived from the noun ''socius'' ("
comrade The term ''comrade'' is used to mean 'mate', 'colleague', or 'ally', and derives from the Spanish term , literally meaning 'chamber mate', from Latin , meaning 'chamber' or 'room'. Political use of the term was inspired by the French Revolution ...
, friend, ally"; adjectival form ''socialis'') used to describe a bond or interaction between parties that are friendly, or at least civil. Without an article, the term can refer to the entirety of humanity (also: "society in general", "society at large", etc.), although those who are unfriendly or uncivil to the remainder of society in this sense may be deemed to be "antisocial". In the 1630s it was used in reference to "people bound by neighborhood and intercourse aware of living together in an ordered community". However, in the 18th century the
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...

Scottish
economist,
Adam Smith Adam Smith ( 1723 – 17 July 1790) was a Scottish economist, philosopher as well as a Ethics, moral philosopher, a pioneer of political economy, and a key figure during the Scottish Enlightenment, also known as ''The Father of Economics'' * ...
taught that a society "may subsist among different men, as among different merchants, from a sense of its
utility As a topic of economics, utility is used to model worth or value. Its usage has evolved significantly over time. The term was introduced initially as a measure of pleasure or happiness as part of the theory of utilitarianism by moral philosophers ...

utility
without any mutual love or affection, if only they refrain from doing injury to each other." Used in the sense of an
association Association may refer to: *Club (organization), an association of two or more people united by a common interest or goal *Trade association, an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry *Voluntary association ...
, a society is a body of individuals outlined by the bounds of functional
interdependence Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems, i.e. cohesive groups of interrelated, interdependent parts that can be natural or man-made, human-made. Every system is bounded by space and time, influenced by its environment, defined by i ...
, possibly comprising characteristics such as
national National may refer to: Common uses * Nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a common culture, and, in many cases, a shared territory. A nation is more overtly political than an ...
or
cultural identity Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
,
social solidarity Solidarity is an awareness of shared interests, objectives, standards, and sympathies creating a psychological sense of unity of groups or classes.''Merriam Webster'', http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solidarity. It refers to the ties ...
,
language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to inscribe the original soun ...

language
, or
hierarchical structure A hierarchical organization is an organizational structure where every entity in the organization, except one, is subordinate to a single other entity. This arrangement is a form of a hierarchy. In an organization, the hierarchy usually consists of ...

hierarchical structure
.


Conceptions

Society, in general, addresses the fact that an individual has rather limited means as an autonomous unit. The
great apes The Hominidae (), whose members are known as great apes or hominids (), are a taxonomic family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marri ...
have always been more (''
Bonobo The bonobo (; ''Pan paniscus''), also historically called the pygmy chimpanzee and less often, the dwarf or gracile chimpanzee, is an endangered great ape and one of the two species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological cla ...
'', ''
Homo ''Homo'' () is the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, virus ...
'', ''
Pan Pan may refer to: Prefix *''Pan-'', a prefix A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Adding it to the beginning of one word changes it into another word. For example, when the prefix ''un-'' is added to the word ''happy ...
'') or less (''
Gorilla Gorillas are ground-dwelling, predominantly herbivorous great apes that inhabit the tropical forests of central Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa is, geographically and ethnoculturally, the area of the continent of Africa that ...

Gorilla
'', '''')
social animal Sociality is the degree to which individuals in an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals Heterotroph, consum ...
s, so
Robinson Crusoe ''Robinson Crusoe'' () is a novel by Daniel Defoe, first published on 25 April 1719. The first edition credited the work's protagonist Robinson Crusoe as its author, leading many readers to believe he was a real person and the book a Travel ...
-like situations are either fictions or unusual
corner case In engineering, a corner case (or pathological case) involves a problem or situation that occurs only outside of normal operating parameters—specifically one that manifests itself when multiple environmental variables or conditions are simultane ...
s to the ubiquity of social context for humans, who fall between presocial and
eusocial Eusociality (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 mil ...
in the spectrum of animal ethology.
Cultural relativism Cultural relativism is the idea that a person's beliefs, values, and practices should be understood based on that person's own culture, and not be judged against the criteria of another. It was established as axiom An axiom, postulate or assum ...
as a widespread approach or ethic has largely replaced notions of "primitive", better/worse, or "progress" in relation to cultures (including their material culture/technology and social organization). According to anthropologist
Maurice Godelier Maurice Godelier, 1977. Maurice Godelier (born February 28, 1934) is a French anthropologist who works as a Studies' Director at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences The School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (frenc ...
, one critical novelty in society, in contrast to humanity's closest biological relatives (chimpanzees and bonobos), is the parental role assumed by the males, which supposedly would be absent in our nearest relatives for whom paternity is not generally determinable.


In political science

Societies may also be structured politically. In order of increasing size and complexity, there are bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and state societies. These structures may have varying degrees of political power, depending on the cultural, geographical, and historical environments that these societies must contend with. Thus, a more isolated society with the same level of technology and culture as other societies is more likely to survive than one in close proximity to others that may encroach on their resources. A society that is unable to offer an effective response to other societies it competes with will usually be subsumed into the culture of the competing society.


In sociology

Sociologist Peter L. Berger defines society as "...a human product, and nothing but a human product, that yet continuously acts upon its producers." According to him, society was created by humans, but this creation turns back and creates or molds humans every day. Sociologist
Gerhard Lenski Gerhard Emmanuel "Gerry" Lenski, Jr. (August 13, 1924 – December 7, 2015) was an American sociologist known for contributions to the sociology of religion, social inequality, and introducing the ecological-evolutionary theory. He spent much of ...
differentiates societies based on their level of technology, communication, and economy: (1) hunters and gatherers, (2) simple agricultural, (3) advanced agricultural, (4) industrial, and (5) special (e.g. fishing societies or maritime societies). This is similar to the system earlier developed by anthropologists Morton H. Fried, a conflict theorist, and
Elman Service Elman Rogers Service (1915–1996) was an American cultural anthropologist. Biography He was born on May 18, 1915 in Tecumseh, Michigan and died on November 14, 1996 in Santa Barbara, California. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1941 from the ...
, an integration theorist, who have produced a system of classification for societies in all human cultures based on the evolution of
social inequality File:Global Wealth Distribution 2020 (Property).svg, 255px, Global share of wealth by wealth group, Credit Suisse, 2021 Social inequality occurs when resources in a given society are distributed unevenly, typically through Norm (social), norms ...
and the role of the
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
. This system of classification contains four categories: *
Hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
bands (categorization of duties and responsibilities). Then came the agricultural society. *
Tribal The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

Tribal
societies in which there are some limited instances of
social rank A social class is a set of concepts in the Social science, social sciences and Political philosophy, political theory centered on models of social stratification which occur in a class society, in which people are grouped into a set of Dominanc ...
and prestige. *
Stratified Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
structures led by chieftains. *
Civilization  A civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society A complex society is a concept that is shared by a range of disciplines including anthropology, archaeology, history and sociology to describe a stage of social formation. The concept ...

Civilization
s, with complex
social hierarchies A hierarchy (from the Greek: , from , 'president of sacred rites') is an arrangement of items (objects, names, values, categories, etc.) in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarch ...
and organized, . In addition to this there are: *
Humanity Humanity most commonly refers to: * Human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language a ...
, humankind, upon which rest all the elements of society, including society's beliefs. * Virtual society, a society based on online identity, which is evolving in the information age. Over time, some
cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differ ...
have progressed toward more complex forms of
organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such a ...

organization
and control. This
cultural evolution Cultural evolution is an evolutionary theory Evolutionary thought, the recognition that species change over time and the perceived understanding of how such processes work, has roots in antiquity—in the ideas of the Ancient Greece, ancient Gr ...

cultural evolution
has a profound effect on patterns of community. Hunter-gatherer tribes settled around seasonal food stocks to become agrarian villages. Villages grew to become towns and cities. Cities turned into
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French ''souverain'', which is ultimately derived from the Latin word ''superānus'' ...
s and
nation-state A nation state is a state in which a great majority shares the same culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, ...
s. Many societies distribute largess at the behest of some individual or some larger group of people. This type of generosity can be seen in all known cultures; typically, prestige accrues to the generous individual or group. Conversely, members of a society may also shun or
scapegoat In the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of an antho ...

scapegoat
any members of the society who violate its
norms Norm, the Norm or NORM may refer to: In academic disciplines * Norm (geology), an estimate of the idealised mineral content of a rock * Norm (philosophy), a standard in normative ethics that is prescriptive rather than a descriptive or explanato ...
. Mechanisms such as
gift-giving A gift or a present is an item given to someone without the expectation of payment or anything in return. An item is not a gift if that item is already owned by the one to whom it is given. Although gift-giving might involve an expectation of ...
, joking relationships and
scapegoating Scapegoating is the practice of singling out a person or group for unmerited blame and consequent negative treatment. Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals (e.g. "he did it, not me!"), individuals against groups (e.g., ...
, which may be seen in various types of human groupings, tend to be
institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior." Institutions can refer to social mechanism, mechanisms which govern the behavior of a set of individuals within a given community, and are ide ...
alized within a society. Social evolution as a phenomenon carries with it certain elements that could be detrimental to the population it serves. Some societies bestow status on an individual or group of people when that individual or group performs an admired or desired action. This type of
recognition Recognition may refer to: *Award, something given in recognition of an achievement In science and technology In computer science *Pattern recognition, a branch of machine learning which encompasses the meanings below Biometric *Recognition of h ...
is bestowed in the form of a name, title, manner of dress, or monetary reward. In many societies, adult male or female status is subject to a ritual or process of this type. Altruistic action in the interests of the larger group is seen in virtually all societies. The phenomena of community action, shunning, scapegoating, generosity, shared risk, and reward is common to many forms of society.


Types

Societies are
social groups Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology The word "Social" derives fr ...
that differ according to subsistence strategies, the ways that humans use technology to provide needs for themselves. Although humans have established many types of societies throughout history, anthropologists tend to classify different societies according to the degree to which different groups within a society have unequal access to advantages such as resources, prestige, or power. Virtually all societies have developed some degree of inequality among their people through the process of social stratification, the division of members of a society into levels with unequal wealth, prestige, or power. Sociologists place societies in three broad categories:
pre-industrial Pre-industrial society refers to social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing process ...
,
industrial Industrial may also refer to: Industry * Industrial archaeology, the study of the history of the industry * Industrial engineering, engineering dealing with the optimization of complex industrial processes or systems * Industrial loan company, a f ...
, and
postindustrial In sociology, the post-industrial society is the stage of society's development when the tertiary sector of the economy, service sector generates more wealth than the secondary sector of the economy, manufacturing sector of the economy. The ter ...
.


Pre-industrial

In a pre-industrial society, food production, which is carried out through the use of human and animal
labor Labour or labor may refer to: * Childbirth Childbirth, also known as labour or delivery, is the ending of pregnancy where one or more babies leaves the uterus by passing through the vagina or by Caesarean section. In 2015, there were about 13 ...
, is the main economic activity. These societies can be subdivided according to their level of technology and their method of producing food. These subdivisions are hunting and gathering, pastoral, horticultural, agricultural, and feudal.


Hunting and gathering

The main form of food production in such societies is the daily collection of wild plants and the hunting of wild animals. Hunter-gatherers move around constantly in search of food. As a result, they do not build permanent
villages A village is a clustered human settlement or Residential community, community, larger than a hamlet (place), hamlet but smaller than a town (although the word is often used to describe both hamlets and smaller towns), with a population typ ...

villages
or create a wide variety of artifacts, and usually only form small groups such as
bands Band or BAND may refer to: Places *Bánd, a village in Hungary *Band, Iran, a village in Urmia County, West Azerbaijan Province, Iran *Band, Mureș, a commune in Romania *Band-e Majid Khan, a village in Bukan County, West Azerbaijan Province, Ira ...
and
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intellig ...

tribe
s. However, some hunting and gathering societies in areas with abundant resources (such as people of
tlingit The Tlingit ( or ; also spelled Tlinkit; russian: Тлинкиты) are indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Their language is the Tlingit language (natively , pronounced ),Leadership Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and Br ...

Leadership
is personal—charismatic—and used for special purposes only in tribal society. There are no political offices containing real power, and a
chief Chief may refer to: Title or rank Military and law enforcement * Chief master sergeant Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) is the ninth, and highest, United States Air Force enlisted rank insignia, enlisted rank in the United States Air Force, ...
is merely a person of influence, a sort of adviser; therefore, tribal consolidations for collective action are not governmental. The family forms the main
social unit The term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term "unit of observation" in that the former refers to a more or less integrated s ...
, with most members being related by birth or marriage. This type of organization requires the family to carry out most social functions, including
production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products (goods and services) * Production as a statistic, g ...
and
education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), values, morals, beliefs, habits, and personal development. Educational methods include teaching, training, storytelling, discussion a ...
.


Pastoral

Pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry where domesticated animals known as livestock are released onto large vegetated outdoor lands (pastures) for grazing, historically by nomadic people who moved around with their herds. The species involv ...
is a slightly more efficient form of subsistence. Rather than searching for food on a daily basis, members of a pastoral society rely on domesticated herd animals to meet their food needs. Pastoralists live a nomadic life, moving their herds from one pasture to another. Because their food supply is far more reliable, pastoral societies can support larger populations. Since there are food surpluses, fewer people are needed to produce food. As a result, the division of labor (the specialization by individuals or groups in the performance of specific economic activities) becomes more complex. For example, some people become craftworkers, producing
tools A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use by animals, simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back Paleolithic, hund ...

tools
,
weapons A weapon, arm or armament is any implement or device that can be used with the intent to inflict physical damage or harm. Weapons are used to increase the efficacy and efficiency of activities such as hunting Hunting is the practice of see ...

weapons
, and
jewelry Jewellery or jewelry consists of decorative items worn for personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants, bracelets, and cufflinks. Jewellery may be attached to the body or the clothes. From a western perspecti ...

jewelry
, among other items of value. The production of goods encourages trade. This trade helps to create inequality, as some families acquire more goods than others do. These families often gain power through their increased
wealth Wealth is the abundance of Value (economics), valuable financial assets or property, physical possessions which can be converted into a form that can be used for financial transaction, transactions. This includes the core meaning as held in the o ...

wealth
. The passing on of property from one generation to another helps to centralize wealth and power. Over time emerge hereditary chieftainships, the typical form of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, Executive (government), ex ...

government
in pastoral societies.


Horticultural

Fruits and vegetables grown in garden plots that have been cleared from the jungle or forest provide the main source of food in a horticultural society. These societies have a level of
technology Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of any Art techniques and materials, techniques, skills, Scientific method, methods, and Business ...

technology
and complexity similar to pastoral societies. Some horticultural groups use the slash-and-burn method to raise crops. The wild vegetation is cut and burned, and ashes are used as fertilizers. Horticulturists use human labor and simple tools to cultivate the land for one or more seasons. When the land becomes barren, horticulturists clear a new plot and leave the old plot to revert to its natural state. They may return to the original land several years later and begin the process again. By rotating their garden plots, horticulturists can stay in one area for a fairly long period of time. This allows them to build semipermanent or permanent villages. The size of a village's population depends on the amount of land available for farming; thus villages can range from as few as 30 people to as many as 2000. As with pastoral societies, surplus food leads to a more complex division of labor. Specialized roles in horticultural societies include craftspeople,
shamans Shamanism is a religious practice that involves a practitioner who is believed to interact with a spirit world through Altered state of consciousness, altered states of consciousness, such as trance. The goal of this is usually to direct these s ...

shamans
(religious leaders), and traders. This role specialization allows people to create a wide variety of artifacts. As in pastoral societies, surplus food can lead to inequalities in wealth and power within horticultural political systems, developed because of the settled nature of horticultural life.


Agrarian

Agrarian societies use agricultural
technological Technology ("science of craft", from Ancient Greek, Greek , ''techne'', "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and , ''wikt:-logia, -logia'') is the sum of Art techniques and materials, techniques, skills, Scientific method, methods, and Business proc ...
advances to cultivate crops over a large area. Sociologists use the phrase agricultural revolution to refer to the technological changes that occurred as long as 8,500 years ago that led to cultivating crops and raising farm animals. Increases in food supplies then led to larger populations than in earlier communities. This meant a greater surplus, which resulted in towns that became centers of trade supporting various rulers, educators, craftspeople, merchants, and religious leaders who did not have to worry about locating nourishment. Greater degrees of social stratification appeared in agrarian societies. For example, women previously had higher social status because they shared labor more equally with men. In hunting and gathering societies, women even gathered more food than men. However, as food stores improved and women took on lesser roles in providing food for the family, they increasingly became subordinate to men. As villages and towns expanded into neighboring areas, conflicts with other communities inevitably occurred. Farmers provided warriors with food in
exchange Exchange may refer to: Places United States * Exchange, Indiana Exchange is an Unincorporated area, unincorporated community in Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Green Township, Morgan County, Indiana, Morgan County, in the U.S. state of In ...

exchange
for protection against invasion by enemies. A system of rulers with high social status also appeared. This nobility organized warriors to protect the society from invasion. In this way, the nobility managed to extract goods from "lesser" members of society.


Feudal

Feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted from the 5t ...
was a form of society based on ownership of land. Unlike today's farmers, vassals under feudalism were bound to cultivating their lord's land. In exchange for military protection, the lords exploited the peasants into providing food, crops, crafts, homage, and other services to the landowner. The
estates of the realm 250px, A 13th-century French representation of the tripartite social order of the Middle Ages – ''Oratores'' ("those who pray"), ''Bellatores'' ("those who fight"), and ''Laboratores'' ("those who work"). The estates of the realm, or three esta ...
system of feudalism was often multigenerational; the families of peasants may have cultivated their lord's land for generations.


Industrial

Between the 15th and 16th centuries, a new economic system emerged that began to replace feudalism.
Capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within ...
is marked by open competition in a free market, in which the means of production are privately owned. Europe's exploration of the Americas served as one impetus for the development of capitalism. The introduction of foreign metals, silks, and spices stimulated great commercial activity in European societies. Industrial societies rely heavily on machines powered by fuels for the production of goods. This produced further dramatic increases in efficiency. The increased efficiency of production of the industrial revolution produced an even greater surplus than before. Now the surplus was not just agricultural goods, but also manufactured goods. This larger surplus caused all of the changes discussed earlier in the domestication revolution to become even more pronounced. Once again, the population boomed. Increased productivity made more goods available to everyone. However, inequality became even greater than before. The breakup of agricultural-based feudal societies caused many people to leave the land and seek employment in cities. This created a great surplus of labor and gave capitalists plenty of laborers who could be hired for extremely low wages.


Post-industrial

Post-industrial societies are societies dominated by information, services, and high technology more than the production of goods. Advanced industrial societies are now seeing a shift toward an increase in service sectors over manufacturing and production. The United States is the first country to have over half of its workforce employed in service industries. Service industries include government, research, education, health, sales, law, and banking.


Contemporary usage

The term "society" is currently used to cover both a number of political and scientific connotations as well as a variety of associations.


Western

The development of the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, refers to various regions, nations and state (polity), states, depending on the context, most often consisting of the majority of Europe, Northern America, and Australasia.
has brought with it the emerging concepts of
Western culture Western culture, also known as Western civilization, Occidental culture, or Western society, is the heritage Heritage may refer to: History and society * In history History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired b ...
, politics, and ideas, often referred to simply as "Western society". Geographically, it covers at the very least the countries of Western Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. It sometimes also includes Eastern Europe, South America, and Israel. The cultures and lifestyles of all of these stem from Western Europe. They all enjoy relatively strong economies and stable governments, allow freedom of religion, have chosen democracy as a form of governance, favor capitalism and international trade, are heavily influenced by Judeo-Christian values, and have some form of political and military alliance or cooperation.


Information

Although the concept of
information societyInternet design and usage influence other areas, and there are discussions about how big the influence of specific media or specific modes of production really is. Frank Webster notes five major types of information that can be used to define informa ...
has been under discussion since the 1930s, in the modern world it is almost always applied to the manner in which information technologies have impacted society and culture. It, therefore, covers the effects of computers and telecommunications on the home, the workplace, schools, government, and various communities and organizations, as well as the emergence of new social forms in cyberspace. One of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe. Its members have a combined area of and an estimated total population of about 447million ...

European Union
's areas of interest is the information society. Here policies are directed towards promoting an open and competitive
digital economy Digital economy refers to an economy that is based on digital computing technologies, but is often perceived as conducting business through markets based on the internet and the World Wide Web. The digital economy is also referred to as the ''Inte ...
, research into
information and communication technologies Information and communications technology (ICT) is an extensional term for information technology (IT) that stresses the role of unified communications and the integration of telecommunications (telephone lines and wireless signals) and computers, ...
, as well as their application to improve
social inclusion Social exclusion or social marginalisation is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measur ...
, public services, and
quality of life Quality of life (QOL) is defined by the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a list of specialized agencies of the United Nations, specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public heal ...

quality of life
. The
International Telecommunication Union 260px, ITU Monument, Bern The International Telecommunication Union is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each other through the ...

International Telecommunication Union
's
World Summit on the Information Society The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) was a two-phase United Nations-sponsored summit on information, communication and, in broad terms, the information society that took place in 2003 in Geneva , neighboring_municipalities= Caro ...
in Geneva and Tunis (2003 and 2005) has led to a number of policy and application areas where action is envisaged.


Knowledge

As the access to electronic information resources increased at the beginning of the 21st century, special attention was extended from the information society to the knowledge society. An analysis by the Irish government stated, "The capacity to manipulate, store and transmit large quantities of information cheaply has increased at a staggering rate over recent years. The digitisation of information and the associated pervasiveness of the Internet are facilitating a new intensity in the application of knowledge to economic activity, to the extent that it has become the predominant factor in the creation of wealth. As much as 70 to 80 percent of economic growth is now said to be due to new and better knowledge."''Building the Knowledge Society. Report to Government'', December 2002. Information Society Commission, Ireland
. Retrieved 20 October 2009.


Other uses

People of many nations united by common political and cultural traditions, beliefs, or values are sometimes also said to form a society (such as Judeo-Christian, Eastern, and Western). When used in this context, the term is employed as a means of contrasting two or more "societies" whose members represent alternative conflicting and competing worldviews. Some
academic An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
, professional, and
scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern science is a discovery as well as an invention. ...
associations describe themselves as ''societies'' (for example, the
American Mathematical Society The American Mathematical Society (AMS) is an association of professional mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics ...
, the
American Society of Civil Engineers The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt professional body founded in 1852 to represent members of the civil engineering profession worldwide. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, it is the oldest national engine ...
, or the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by Charles II of ...
). In some countries, e.g. the United States, France, and Latin America, the term "society' is used in
commerce Commerce is the exchange of goods and services, especially on a large scale. Etymology The English-language word ''commerce'' has been derived from the Latin word ''commercium'', from ''com'' ("together") and ''merx'' ("merchandise"). History ...

commerce
to denote a partnership between
investor An investor is a person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return (profit) or to gain an advantage (interest). Through this allocated capital most of the time the investor purchases some species of property. Types ...
s or the start of a
business Business is the activity of making one's living or making money by producing or buying and selling products (such as goods and services). Simply put, it is "any activity or enterprise entered into for profit." Having a business name A trade ...
. In the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shortha ...

United Kingdom
, partnerships are not called societies, but
co-operatives A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned enterprise".mutuals are often known as societies (such as
friendly societies A friendly society (sometimes called a benefit society, mutual aid society, benevolent society, fraternal and service organisations, fraternal organization or Rotating savings and credit association, ROSCA) is a mutual association for the purpos ...
and
building societies A building society is a financial institution owned by its members as a mutual organization. Building societies offer banking and related financial services Financial services are the Service (economics), economic services provided by the fi ...
).


See also

*
Civil society Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad ...
*
Club (organization) A club is an voluntary association, association of people united by a common interest or goal. A service club, for example, exists for voluntary or charitable activities. There are clubs devoted to hobbies and sports, social activities clubs, pol ...
*
Consumer society Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the industrial revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Eu ...
*
Community A community is a social unitThe term "level of analysis" is used in the social sciences to point to the location, size, or scale of a research target. "Level of analysis" is distinct from the term " unit of observation" in that the former refer ...

Community
(
outline Outline or outlining may refer to: * Outline (list), a document summary, in hierarchical list format * Code folding, a method of hiding or collapsing code or text to see content in outline form * Outline drawing, a sketch depicting the outer edg ...
) *
Culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
(
outline Outline or outlining may refer to: * Outline (list), a document summary, in hierarchical list format * Code folding, a method of hiding or collapsing code or text to see content in outline form * Outline drawing, a sketch depicting the outer edg ...
) *
Eusociality Eusociality (from Greek εὖ ''eu'' "good" and social), the highest level of organization of sociality, is defined by the following characteristics: cooperative brood care (including care of offspring from other individuals), overlapping gene ...
*
High society (group) High society, also called in some contexts simply "society", is the behavior and lifestyle of people with the highest levels of wealth and social status Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, ...
*
Mass society Mass society is any society of the modern era that possesses a mass culture and large-scale, impersonal, social institutions. A mass society is a "society in which prosperity and bureaucracy The term bureaucracy () may refer both to a body of ...
*
Open society Open society (french: société ouverte) is a term coined by French philosopher Henri Bergson in 1932 and describes a dynamic system inclined to moral universalism.Thomas Mautner (2005), 2nd ed. ''The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy'' Open soci ...
* Outline of society * Presociality *
Professional society A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) seeks to further a particular profession A profession is an occupation founded upon specialized educational training, the pu ...
*
Religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

Religion
(
outline Outline or outlining may refer to: * Outline (list), a document summary, in hierarchical list format * Code folding, a method of hiding or collapsing code or text to see content in outline form * Outline drawing, a sketch depicting the outer edg ...
) * Scientific society * Secret societies * Sociobiology * Social actions * Social capital * Social cohesion * Societal collapse * Social contract * Social disintegration * Social order * Social solidarity * Social structure * Social system * Social work * Structure and agency


Notes


References

* * * * *


Further reading

* Effland, R. 1998
''The Cultural Evolution of Civilizations''
Mesa Community College. * * * Raymond Williams, ''Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society''. Fontana, 1976. * Althusser, Louis and Balibar, Étienne. ''Reading Capital''. London: Verso, 2009. * Tom Bottomore, Bottomore, Tom (ed). ''A Dictionary of Marxist Thought'', 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 1991. 45–48. * Craig Calhoun, Calhoun, Craig (ed), ''Dictionary of the Social Sciences'' Oxford University Press (2002) * Stuart Hall (cultural theorist), Hall, Stuart. "Rethinking the Base and Superstructure Metaphor". ''Papers on Class, Hegemony and Party''. Bloomfield, J., ed. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1977. * Chris Harman.
Base and Superstructure
. ''International Socialism'' 2:32, Summer 1986, pp. 3–44. * David Harvey (geographer), Harvey, David. ''A Companion to Marx's Capital''. London: Verso, 2010. * Larrain, Jorge. ''Marxism and Ideology''. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1983. * György Lukács, Lukács, Georg. ''History and Class Consciousness''. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1972. * Postone, Moishe. ''Time, Labour, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory''. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1993. * Raymond Williams, Williams, Raymond. ''Marxism and Literature''. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977. * Leonid Griffen
''The society as a superorganism''
The scientific heritage. No 67 Vol 5. P. 51-60, 2021. *


External links

{{Authority control Society, Types of organization Main topic articles