What is society?
“Society” is a broad term, which means a group of individuals who live together under common rules. Under this definition, the first one offered by the Dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy, both a country, a town or a community, as well as a honeycomb or a business organization, can constitute examples of companies.
The term society comes from the Latin societas , derived from the word socius , which translates “ally” or “companion.” That is to say, the central feature in the idea of society has to do with cooperation, that is, with being on the same side.
This does not mean that a perfect order reigns in societies, or that they are utopian communities, far from it. Human society, for example, is a constant source of struggles and tensions between the elements that wish to shape or order it.
On the other hand, the term society also has much more specific uses, especially in the legal, political or business field, such as:
- Civil society . Term that refers to the total citizenry of a country, considered as a set of actors independent of the State.
- Anonymous society. Also called “anonymous company”, it is a form of business organization made up of shares, in which the latter represent capital.
- Conjugal society. Legal figure that is established through marriage and that manages the assets and capital of the couple.
- Cooperative Society. Form of organization of producers, merchants or consumers, which are governed by criteria of common utility to all.
Origin of the company
Society has existed in practice since the emergence of the most complex life. To the extent that some individuals sought protection and stability in living together, they formed swarms, colonies or other forms of organization, some very primitive and others more socially developed.
In the case of human society, it has existed since the beginning of our species, although initially it was formed more horizontally and focused on the survival of minimal family or interfamily units, such as tribes. As time passed, they became larger and more complex, developing new modes of organization, production and exchange.
Characteristics of the companies
In general terms, the characteristics of the companies are:
- They are made up of a variable number of individuals, who show a minimum degree of communication and organization.
- They often have hierarchies, that is, internal orders that consist of the distribution of tasks and that assign some individuals central places above others.
- They are oriented towards production and growth, through the satisfaction of the needs common to all individuals.
- They also seek to sustain the processes and mechanisms that guarantee its perpetuity over time, that is, its reproduction. This does not mean that they remain unchanged, but quite the opposite: they change over time.
Animal societies are understood to be those that involve non-human individuals. They are composed according to various modes of organization.
They generally tend towards mutual defense from predators, shared feeding and the organization of reproduction. However, unlike human societies, there is no culture in any of them.
Examples of animal societies are:
- Bee hives, anthills and termite nests.
- The underground nests of moles.
- The prides of lions, wolves and other group predators.
- Chimpanzee communities.
Human society is the way in which humans have organized themselves to jointly undertake the satisfaction of our needs. Unlike animal societies, ours usually have very high levels of organization and complexity, and are accompanied by our own culture, which often allows the identification of individuals belonging to a society.
Human society emerged as a form of tribal community, sharing its resources and seeking protection from the elements and potential predators. But thanks to language and cultural and technological development, what were initially tribes or human hordes managed to integrate and radically modify their ways of life.
The members of the society were linked through a common culture, based on founding stories and a sense of belonging. Activities such as the emergence of agriculture also collaborated in their cohesion with each other and with the geography in which they lived.
This path led to the abandonment of the nomadic life of hunter-gatherers. Finally, cities, political hierarchies, nations and religions appeared, as human society promoted the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next.