Society is a set of individuals who live in the same territory under a certain organizational scheme, also sharing economic, political and cultural ties.
That is, a society is a group of people who follow a certain order. They also have customs in common, which encompass different areas of life. For example, the use of the same currency as well as the history and festive traditions are shared.
It should be noted that there are not only societies of people, which are the object of study of sociology and anthropology, but also societies of other animal species. These are the subject of research in ethology.
Origin of human societies
Human beings have existed for more than 150,000 years, but we have not always organized ourselves in society. Or, at least, not like contemporary societies. Which are societies with a high level of complexity and organization.
Although there is no consensus among experts, we could determine the origin of societies around 10,000 BC. Date in which a fundamental change occurs in the life of human beings: the beginning of agriculture.
From then on, we could say that the organization begins to evolve and become progressively more complex. Until giving rise to the first civilizations (complex societies) from 4,500 BC onwards. Examples of them are the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian or Persian Empires.Mesopotamian Society
Characteristics of the society
The main characteristics of a company are the following:
- The members have a sense of identity and belonging to the same group. This is mainly due to historical and custom ties.
- The company is located in a certain geographical area that may be smaller or larger. Let's think of a city and a country. For example, there is both the Madrid society and the Spanish society.
- Rules of behavior are established that govern coexistence. For example, take out the garbage at a certain time. These rules are not necessarily written in law. For example, by convention and as a sign of respect, people often greet each time they arrive at a place and meet other individuals.
- Society and the State are related, but they are not the same. The State is the political organization from which a certain geographic space is administered. However, within that territory there may be more than one company. For example, we can speak of the Peruvian State, but also of Lima society (of Lima, which is the capital city of Peru). Likewise, society is a more subjective concept, while the State is a set of institutions with a clear structure from which a country is managed.
- Societies are not static, but evolve over time, changing certain customs. Without going very far back in time, in the middle of the 20th century women obtained the right to vote.
Types of human societies
The types of human societies that have originated in different stages of history are the following:
- Hunter and Gatherer Society: These are the first societies in history. This type of human society was dedicated to hunting animals, fishing or gathering wild fruit.
- Livestock society: As its name indicates, at this point livestock has its origin. These types of societies are also known as pastoral or pastoral societies.
- Horticultural Society: They first developed in Asia and then spread throughout Europe. These societies laid the foundations for the much more organized and experienced agricultural society.
- Agricultural society: Human societies continued to evolve and animals became part of the activity in the field. They also stood out for improving their use of water.
- Medieval or feudal society: The organization of society in hierarchies spread. That is why what stands out from medieval society is the system we know as feudalism.
- Industrial society: Modern states are born, economic activity has an unprecedented advance and industrialization arises.
- Post-industrial societies: They are the most advanced type of human societies. The services sector is the one that has the most weight in these economies, industry is relegated to second place and the primary sector is practically residual.
In addition, although these are not types of human societies, we must also mention three other concepts that are related to them. These three concepts are the following:
- Civil society: Two or more individuals agree to pool resources in order to share possible profits among themselves, constituting a common heritage.
- Commercial company: It is a company that is created with the objective of developing an economic activity. And, therefore, it is for profit.
- Conjugal partnership: It is one that is formed by the marriage of two people.
Society and democracy
As we mentioned previously, societies have evolved over time. In ancient times, they used to be more hierarchical. Consider, for example, what pre-Columbian societies were like in America and in Europe in the Medieval Age, with very vertical structures and marked differences between social classes.
However, since the enlightenment, societies have tended to be more egalitarian and democracy has become the most accepted political system. Even so, there are certain patterns that human beings are trying to overcome, such as the differences that have always been marked between men and women, and racial discrimination.
Culture in society
Although the concepts of society and culture are concepts that are often used synonymously, they are not the same.
Society is a group of people who have certain aspects and characteristics in common. While culture is one of those aspects or characteristics that society has and that is composed of knowledge, customs and behaviors.
For example, Mexican society is the set of Mexicans who reside mainly in Mexico. However, Mexican culture is all over the world. In fact, a part of Mexican culture, such as its food, is spread around the world through restaurants of different types.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that culture directly influences the evolution of a society. This is because culture is also composed of the moral values that govern a society and that, in the long term, are fundamental in the progress of human societies.