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1a. The totality of social relationships among humans.
1b. A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual
interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a
1c. The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group.
2. An organisation or association of persons engaged in a common profession,
activity, or interest: a folklore society; a society of bird watchers.
3a. The rich, privileged, and fashionable social class.
3b. The socially dominant members of a community.
4. Companionship; company: enjoys the society of friends and family members.
5. Biology A colony or community of organisms, usually of the same species: an
Things about society, about people, about you and me, and them too. About life and death, and everything imbetween.
In the 1980's Margaret Thatcher famously declared that "there is no such thing as society". How wrong she was. On this, and so very many other things, but let's save for that for our Politics sub-vault. So given that we think it may exist, what exactly is society?
According to the Social Education Centre, society can be defined as a group of people who share something in common. Some the things that bind a people as a society are religious beliefs, geographical closeness, cultural values or anything that people can find as a common ground. The word society can apply to an entire culture, country or just to a small group of people who are closely associated with each other for any number of reasons.
Some societies are formed by a natural process. That is people find that they share something in common with others and will naturally work together based on common interest. Societies can also be formed intentionally and require some form of admittance.
An example of an unintended society may be people who first come together over some shared event. This type of society may form originally as a support group if the event was tragic or negative. Other types of unintentional societies can form around shared values.
Intentional societies are very common today and may have started as an unintentional society. For example a group of people who come together over an event such as the loss of loved ones in a war may form an official society with organisation, purpose and activities revolving around a solution to that event or the effects of an event.
Usually a society will form for a specific purpose. The reasons societies form is normally to resolve issues, effect social change or any number of other positive purposes. Societies do not always form for beneficial reasons. They can form when a group of people have a specific agenda that can be selfish or at the least, not beneficial to their communities.
The study of societies is one of the major activities of social studies. By studying the values and purposes of various intentional and unintentional societies we can learn about the social climate of a people or time in history. We can learn not only what is of value to those people but also we can apply what we learn to other studies involving the arts, science and other social activities.
No study of societies is complete with out also studying the reactions of others to those societies. For instance a group of people can form a society to champion a particular cause while others outside of that group may not hold the same values. This can indicate that a culture was somehow divided and odds with each other.