Thread: Sociology Notes
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Old Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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Individual and Society

Individual is basic unit of Society.

Man is a social animal. He lives in social groups in communities and in society.

Society has become an essential condition for human life to arise and to continue.

Society not only controls our movements but shapes our identity, our thought and our emotions.


August Comte the father of sociology saw society as a social organism possessing a harmony of structure and function.

We can define society as a group of people who share a common culture, occupy a particular territorial area and feel themselves to constitute a unified and distinct entity. It is the mutual interactions and interrelations of individuals and groups.

The term society is most fundamental to sociology. It is derived from the Latin word socius which means companionship or friendship.

According to George Simmel it is this element of sociability which defines the true essence of society.

Characteristics of Society

society is a largest human group.

(1) Likeness:
Likeness is the most important characteristic of society.Without a sense of likeness, there could be no mutual recognition of' belonging together' and therefore no society.

(2) Differences :
Along with likeness, differences are another important characteristic of society. Because society involves differences and it depends on it as much as on likeness. Because differences is complementary to social relationship. If people will be alike in all respect society could not be formed and there would be little reciprocity and relationship became limited.

(3) Inter-dependence fulfils the human needs)
Interdependence is another important characteristic of society. Man is a social animal he is dependent on others. No individual is self sufficient.

(4) Co-operation and Conflict:
Both co-operation and conflict are two another important characteristics of society. "Society is Cooperation crossed by conflict". Co-operation is essentially essential for the formation of society. Without co-operation there can be no society.

(5) Society is a network or web of social relationship:
Social relationships are the foundation of society. That is why famous sociologist Maclver remarked that society is a network of social relationship.

(6) Permanent Nature:
Permanency is another important characteristic of society. It is not a temporary organisation of individuals. Society continues to exist even after the death of individual members.

(8) Society is Dynamic :
The very nature of society is dynamic and changeable. No society is static. Every society changes and changes continuously. Old customs, traditions, folkways, mores, values and institutions got changed and new customs and values takes place. Society changes from its traditional nature to modern nature.

(10) Comprehensive Culture:
Culture is another important characteristic of society.
Each and every society has it's own culture which distinguishes it from others.
Culture is the way of life of the members of a society and includes their values, beliefs, art, morals etc.

(11) Collection of individuals:

(12) Accommodation and Assimilation Integration of Individuals:
This two associative social process is also important for the smooth functioning and continuity of society. Hence it is also another characteristic of society.

Goal of Society?

Goal of Society is SOCIAL PROGRESS.

Types of Society

Writers have classified societies into various categories Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft of Tonnies, mechanical and organic solidarities of Durkheim, status and contract of Maine, and militant and industrial societies of Spencer.

All these thinkers have broadly divided society into pre-industrial and post-industrial societies.

Sociologists like Comte based their classification of societies on intellectual development.

Most of them concede the evolutionary nature of society- one type leading to the other.

One more way of dividing societies is that of Marx. His classification of society is based on the institutional framework of society as determined by a group of people who control the means of production.

Marx distinguishes five principal types of societies: primitive, Asiatic, ancient, feudal and capitalist.

Types of Society

Open Society

Close Society

Primitive Society

Folk Society

Industrial Society

Non- Industrial Society

Urban Society

Rural Society

Secular Society

Sacred Society

Difference observed between Society and Community

Some of the difference between society and community are as follows:
The term society and community are two important concept used in Sociology. There exists both a similarity as well as differences between the two. But in a wider sense both society and community is a social group. However, following differences is observed between the two.

a.Community means a group of people living together, having some characteristics in common. Society means the number of people living in a region, by honoring its laws and customs.

b.Society has no definite locality or boundary because it refers to a system of social relationships. Hence it is universal or pervasive. On the other hand a community always associated with a definite locality.

c.Society is abstract whereas community is concrete in nature. Community has its own physical existence but society exists only in the minds of individuals who constitute it.

d.Community refers to a group of people who live in a definite locality with some degree of we-feeling.but society refers to a system or network of social relationships.

e.Society is a broader concept whereas a community is narrower concept. Because there exists more than one community within a society. Hence community is smaller than society.

f.Society is based on both similarities as well as differences. But community is based on only similarities among its members.

g.Society has wider ends but the ends of community are general or common.

h.Size of a community may be small or big like a village community or a nation community but the size of a society is always large.
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