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What Is Society?

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A society is a comprehensive system for organizing life in a place. The following are its basic definitions and characteristics with examples.

Definition

A society is a comprehensive system for organizing life in a place.

Examples

Nations such as the United States, China or France.
Communities such as the Amish of North America that provide a comprehensive system for life in a place.
Total institutions such as prisons resemble societies.

Components

A society includes all the primary systems, institutions and culture that govern life in a place including:
National Constitutions & Charters
Political Systems
Economic Systems
Legal Systems
Justice Systems
Education Systems
Defense
Public Infrastructure
Public Services
Government Departments
National Culture
Institutions Such as Families

Society vs Nation

All nations are societies but not all societies are nations. A society can include communities and institutions that heavily govern life within the context of a nation.

Society vs Culture

Societies include formally defined systems such as political systems and laws.
Cultures emerge with shared experience and aren't centrally controlled or defined. For example, a language is culture because it isn't directly controlled by a government but rather emerges and changes over time with a process of communication, media and social interaction.
A society can include culture such as a national culture or language. However, society is a much larger concept than culture.

Society vs Civilization

A civilization is an advanced society. This term is also used to refer to multiple societies that have common heritage such as Western civilization -- meaning societies that have shared heritage with Europe.

Other Meanings

An organization or club devoted to a purpose or activity.
Upper class social groups. In this context "society" is a short form for "high society."

Summary

Society are the systems and institutions that organize life in a geographical place.
Next: Examples of Society
More about society:
Broken Windows
Centralization
Cities
Civic Duty
Civilization
Collectivism
Communism
Community
Conformity
Consumer Society
Culture
Culture Lag
Decorum
Democracy
Duty
Economic Systems
Education
Equality
Freedom
Group Harmony
Herd Behavior
Herd Mentality
Identity
Ideology
Justice
Media Freedom
Medicalization
Middle Class
Mores
Multiculturalism
Paternalism
Power Distance
Public Sector
Resilience
Responsibility
Rights
Rules
Social Capital
Social Class
Social Constructs
Social Mobility
Social Status
Society
Systems
Technocracy
Tolerance
Traditions
Upper Class
Upward Mobility
Working Class
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