Anthropology: Society


Society is made up of individuals and groups.

Individual : An individual in a society mainly have two characteristics

  1. Status : As an individual, what is the status he posses in the society,
  2. Role    : As a member of the society, what is the role is he playing?

Groups : A group is an assembly of more than two people or two individuals. There are different groups in the society.

Groups can be broadly classified into:

  • Community
  • Association

Community: A group of people who live together to achieve all the common interests, which are necessary for the human existence.

According to McIver, a community is an area of social living marked by some degree of social coherence.

There are two types of communities:

  1. Nomadic communities
  2. Settled communities

Nomadic communities are the ones in which the lifestyle of the people is primitive. Usually the size of the communities ranges in between 25 to 300 members. The economy of these people is subsistence and hence this makes a basis for them to live together.
Example : Band

Settled communities are the ones in which the lifestyle of people is developed. It always occupies a definite territorial area.
Example : A village community, a town community and city community.

Associations: An association is a group of people organized for a particular purpose or a limited number of purposes. These associations follow some prescribed rules and regulations in order to achieve their interests. Generally these groupings are goal- oriented.
Example: South Indian Priests associations, Economic associations like trade unions, social associations like gender associations, lineage associations and political associations like the UPA.

Institutions: The established set of rules, procedures or laws which will be followed by the associations are called the institutions. These institutions evolve with the growth of associations.


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