Chapter 4. Society and Social Interaction
Figure 4.1. Sociologists research exactly how societies connect through the atmosphere and also how they usage technology. This Maasai village in Tanzania looks incredibly various from a rural Canadian tvery own. (Photograph courtesy of Guillaume Baviere/Wikimedia Commons)

Learning Objectives

4.1. Types of Societies

Describe the distinction in between precommercial, industrial, and also postcommercial societiesUnderstand also the role of environment on preindustrial societiesUnderstand also exactly how innovation impacts societal development

4.2. Theoretical Perspectives on Society

Describe Durkheim’s functionalist view of modern-day societyUnderstand the crucial sociology watch of modern societyExordinary the distinction in between Marx’s idea of aliecountry and also Weber’s concept of rationalizationIdentify how feminists analyze the advance of society

4.3. Social Constructions of Reality

Understand the sociological principle of fact as a social constructDefine functions and also explain their area in people’s daily interactionsExordinary just how individuals present themselves and also perceive themselves in a social context

Review to Society and Social Interaction

Early in the morning, a team of male warriors creeps out of the village and heads for the savannah. They must be mindful not to wake the various other members of the people, lest they be accosted by the womales or elders. Once they have actually regrouped on the plains, the warriors begin preparing for the hunt. The eldest members of the group pick the the majority of qualified hunters, known as ilmeluaya, interpretation men who are not afrhelp of death. Warriors that are not schosen are sent out residence in shame.

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Once the pick team has actually been preferred, the warriors start the hunt. They scour the levels for footprints or droppings, and also search for dense bushes or tall termite mounds that might conceal their relaxing prey. The search deserve to take ten minutes to ten hrs, yet when a lion is discovered, the warriors quickly relocate right into area.

Selected hunters ring bells and also rattle the brush, forcing the lion away from its defended hiding spot. The goal is to challenge the beast one-on-one on the open up savannah. There will be no tricks or cheating, ssuggest warrior against warrior. If all goes as planned, the lion will certainly be carried dvery own with a solitary spear.

When the warriors return to the village through their trophy, it is the beginning of a weeklengthy celebration. Although the hunt must be planned in secret, news of the warriors’ success spreads conveniently, and also all village members come to congratulate the victors. The warrior that wounded the lion initially is honoured and offered a nickname based upon his accomplishment. Songs are sung around the warrior, and from then on he will be remembered and recognized throughout the neighborhood, even among other tribes.

To the Maasai, lion searching is around more than food and security. It is a method to strengthen the bonds of community and also the power structure among the hunters. Disputes over power are settled prior to the hunt, and also roles are reinrequired at the end, via the bravest warrior receiving the lion’s tail as a trophy (Maasai Association 2011). Although Maasai culture is incredibly different from modern Canada, both have the right to be viewed as different means of expressing the huguy need to cooperate and live together in order to endure.

4.1. Types of Societies

Figure 4.2. Maasai men are hunting via shepherd’s staves and spears. How does technology influence a society’s everyday occupations? (Photo courtesy of Abir Anwar/flickr)

Maasai villagers, Iranians, Canadians—each is a culture. But what does this mean? Exactly what is a society? In sociological terms, society refers to a group of people who live in a definable region and share the very same society. On a broader range, society consists of the civilization and also establishments about us, our common beliefs, and also our social principles.

Sociologist Gerdifficult Lenski (1924–) identified societies in terms of their technological sophistication. As a culture breakthroughs, so does its use of modern technology. Societies via rudimentary technology are at the mercy of the fluctuations of their environment, while industrialized societies have more manage over the affect of their surroundings and also hence build different cultural features. This distinction is so important that sociologists mostly classify societies alengthy a spectrum of their level of industrialization, from precommercial to commercial to postindustrial.

Precommercial Societies

Before the Industrial Revolution and also the widespreview use of devices, societies were small, rural, and dependent mainly on neighborhood resources. Economic production was restricted to the amount of work a human being can provide, and also tbelow were few specialized occupations. The extremely initially occupation was that of hunter-gatherer.


Hunter-gatherer societies show the strongest dependence on the environment of the various forms of precommercial societies. As the standard structure of all humale society until around 10,000–12,000 years ago, these teams were based about kinship or people. Hunter-gatherers relied on their surroundings for survival—they pursued wild pets and also foraged for uncultivated plants for food. When sources came to be scarce, the team moved to a new area to find sustenance, interpretation they were nomadic. These societies were widespread until several hundred years earlier, yet this day just a few hundred remajor in visibility, such as indigenous Australian tribes sometimes referred to as “aborigines,” or the Bambuti, a group of pygmy hunter-gatherers residing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hunter-gatherer groups are conveniently disshowing up as the world’s populace explodes.

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Changing problems and adaptations led some societies to depend on the domestication of pets wbelow situations allowed. Roughly 7,500 years back, huguy cultures started to identify their capability to tame and also breed pets and to thrive and cultivate their own plants. Pastdental societies depend on the domestication of animals as a source for survival. Unlike previously hunter-gatherers that depended completely on existing resources to continue to be alive, pastoral groups were able to breed livestock for food, apparel, and transport, producing a surplus of items. Herding, or pastdental, cultures stayed nomadic because they were required to follow their pets to fresh feeding grounds. Around the time that pastdental cultures emerged, specialized occupations started to develop, and cultures commenced trading through local teams.