Definition and Characteristics of Society
Definition & Characteristics of Society

Definition and Characteristics of Society – Society is a number man in the broadest sense and bound by a culture that they consider the same. Society (as a translation of the term society) is a group of people who form a semi-closed (or semi-open) system, where most of the interactions are between individuals who are in the group.

according to Maclver, Understanding Society is a system of customs and procedures of authority and cooperation between various groups, various groups and the control of behavior and individual (human) freedoms. This ever-changing whole is called society. Society is a fabric of social relations and society is always changing.

Definition of Community according to opinion Ralph Linton, Society is any group of people who have lived and worked together long enough so that they can organize themselves and consider themselves as a social unit with clearly defined boundaries.

Selo Soemardjan put forward the notion of society, society is people who live together which produces culture.

From the understanding of society conveyed by the expert above, it can be concluded that the notion of society is a collection of people who form a group who live together and help each other in their relationship or interact with each other. I think the discussion about the notion of society is clear enough, then we will discuss the characteristics of society.

Society (as a translation of the term society) is a group of people who form a semi-closed (or semi-open) system, where most of the interactions are between individuals who are in the group. The word “community” itself is rooted in the Arabic word, musyarak. More abstractly, a society is a network of relationships between entities. Society is an interdependent community (mutually dependent on one another). Generally, the term community is used to refer to a group of people who live together in an organized community.

according to Shaykh Taqyuddin An-Nabhani, group man can be said to be a society if it has the same thoughts, feelings, and systems/rules. With these similarities, humans then interact with each other based on the benefit.

People often organized based primarily in the way of livelihood. Social scientists identify there: hunter-gatherer societies, nomadic pastoral societies, farming societies, and intensive agricultural societies, also known as civilized societies. Some scholars regard industrial and post-industrial societies as separate groups of people from traditional agricultural societies.

Society can also be organized according to its political structure: in order of complexity and magnitude, there are band societies, tribes, chiefdoms, and state societies.

The word society comes from the Latin, societas, which means friendly relations with others. Societas is derived from the word socius which means friend, so the meaning of society is closely related to the word social. Implicitly, the word society implies that each member has the same attention and interest in achieving common goals.

In order to scientifically analyze the process of society’s formation as well as the problems that exist as ongoing or shifting processes, we need several concepts. These concepts are very necessary to analyze the process of forming and shifting society and culture as well as in an anthropological and sociological research called social dynamics. These important concepts include:

  • Internalization (internalization),
  • Socialization (socialization),
  • Enculturation (enculturation).

Although many species are socially principled, forming groups based on genetic affinity, self-protection, or sharing of food gathering, and distribution, humans are distinguished by variety, and plurality of customs which they form either for individual or group survival, and for the preservation, and development of technology, knowledge, and trust. Group identity, acceptance, and support can exert a strong influence on individual behavior, but humans are also unique in their ability to form, and adapt to, new groups.

Talking about the characteristics of society, it can be explained about the characteristics of society as follows, namely:

1) Humans Who Live in Groups

The first characteristic of society is Man who live together and form groups. This group is what will form a society. They recognize one another and are interdependent. Social unity is an embodiment in this human relationship. It is impossible for a human being to continue his life without depending on other humans.

2) That Gives Birth to Culture

The next characteristic of society is that which gives birth to culture. In the concept there is no society then there is no culture, and vice versa. It is society that will give birth to culture and that culture is also inherited from generation to generation with various adjustment processes.

3) Society is the one who is experiencing change

The next characteristic of society is that it undergoes change. As happens in culture, society also undergoes changes. A change that occurs because of factors that come from within the community itself. For example: in a new discovery it may result in changes to the community.

4) Society is Human Interacting

The next characteristic of society is human interaction. One of the requirements for the embodiment of society is that there is a relationship and cooperation between experts and this will give birth to interaction. This interaction may apply verbally or not and communication applies when people meet one another.

5) There is Leadership

The next characteristic of society is that there is leadership. In this case, the leader consists of the head of the family, the head of the village, the head of the state and so on. In an early Malay society the leadership was closed, this was due to the selection based on heredity.

6) The existence of Social Stratification

The last characteristic of society is the existence of social stratification. Social stratification is placing a person in a position and also the role he must play in society.

The community actually adheres to an adaptive system (easy to adapt to circumstances), because society is a place to fulfill various interests and of course also to survive. In addition, the community itself also has various needs that must be met so that the community can live continuously. The needs of the community are as follows:

  1. Society needs a population (population replacement),
  2. People need information.
  3. Society needs energy
  4. People need materials
  5. Society needs a communication system.
  6. Society needs a production system,
  7. Society needs a distribution system,
  8. Society needs a system of social organization,
  9. Society needs a system of social control, and
  10. Communities need protection against threats aimed at their lives and property.

Sociology is a science that explains human interactions. A civilization is a society that has reached a certain level of complexity, generally including urban and institutionalized government, religion, science and technology, literature and philosophy. The world’s earliest cities were found near important trade routes about 10,000 years ago (Yeriko, atalhöyük). Human culture, and artistic expression predates civilization, and can be traced back to the palaeolithic (cave paintings, Venus statues, earthenware/pottery). Agricultural progress made possible the transition from hunter-gatherer or nomadic societies to settled settlements from the 9th millennium BC. Domestication of animals is an important part of human culture (dogs, sheep, goats, cows). In the history of science and technology has developed even more rapidly (see History of science and technology).

Source :

– Soerjono Soekanto, 2003. Title: An Introduction to Sociology. Publisher PT Raja Grafindo Persada : Jakarta.