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Societies and a social conscience


What is society?

What is a social consciousness?

The social systems within the community

Informal institutions

What is society?

What is society? (Top)
“A society or a human society is (1) a group of people related to each other through persistent relations. (2) A large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations.

The term society came from the Latin word societas, which in turn was derived from the noun socius ("comrade, friend, ally"; adjectival form socialis) thus used to describe a bond or interaction among parties that are friendly, or at least civil. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals sharing a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members. Without an article, the term refers either to the entirety of humanity or a contextually specific subset of people. In social sciences, a society invariably entails social stratification and/or dominance hierarchy.”

Societies are more than a bunch of people stuck together in the same space and time. They are organised into groups that have various functions within society. These functions are organised into various roles that fit together like a clock or a play.

These groups can be described in any number of ways according to the relationship of the group with other groups in society. They provide a way to understand our relationships with each other and the others around us:
... Society: probably the most inclusive or generalised
... Community: defines our relationships within society
... Clubs: defines our relationships within the community
... Teams: defines our relationships within clubs
... Groups: defines our relationships within teams
(These groups can be reorganised any way according to the perspective of the user)

The expressions "society", "social" and "community" have often been used to mean the same things. A social group describes the common characteristics of a group, but not the personal relationships within the group. A community group is the shared interests, networks and relationships we have with each other within society. While a person can move from one community to another easily according to his/her needs at a particular time, it is more difficult to move from one society to another. As a result we see lots of communities that are a part of the same social group.

If someone wants to build a nuclear reactor in a suburb, I would be more inclined to protest if it was planned to be built in my suburb. If the nuclear reactor became a social issue, there would be a great deal of discussion about the project.

Simply put, society could be best described as the way we do things, and, community is who we do those things with.

What is a social consciousness? (Top)

"Social consciousness is consciousness shared within a society. It can also be defined as social awareness; to be aware of the problems that different societies and communities face on a day-to-day basis; to be conscious of the difficulties and hardships of society." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_consciousness)

An awareness of the various social relationships within a community, as well as other communities that it is a part of, and the wider social relationships that they are a part of, is crucial in how the community succeeds of fails in providing for the needs of its members. Just as people interact with each other, communities interact with each other, and it is up to the community to determine how it works towards achieving its desired goals and objectives. Communities need to be able to react to events outside their control and have an impact on the community. They need to be able to balance their own needs and resources with the needs and resources of the wider community that they are a part of.

The social systems within the community: (Top)
These social systems could also be described as the Informal insitiutions of a community.
Politics and business often dictitate how things get done in the community today.  

Informal institutions: (Top)
Politics and business often dictate how things get done in the community today.  It's what we dont see that determines what happens in the community.

These institutions are informal because they are more about the way these members and groups interact with each other, rather any formal policies, rules or regulations of the community. There can be any number of layers in the community, The bigger the community, the more layers there may be. The institutions of each layer also determines the way the group functions within community.

The relationship between the the formal and informal institutions within the community.

Peter Anderson