Lecture Week 6

Lecture Week 6 - Social Organization and Control Social...

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Social Organization and Control Social organization We, the humans are not and have never been solitary animals. Although a society is made up of people, it is more than just a human aggregation. It is a population or a group of individuals united by some common principle or principles. We are by need and by nature social animals. We have evolved to live with, and depend upon, others of our species. We, of course, may be antisocial at times, but in the final analysis our species can only survive though social life. The needs of subsistence, procreation, child rearing, and mutual defense bind us into organized social aggregates. In other words, we must live in society. For our present purposes, the term “ society will may be defined as a distinctive collectivity of people whose interactions with one another are culturally patterned in regular ways and which recruits most new members through the procreation of its own people. Even though members of a given society may have numerous contacts with the members of other societies, the majority of their activities are in relation with each other. In this respect, we can speak of the society of the United States or of a tribal group in New Guinea, but we cannot treat a club, an association, or a business firm as a society. Further, the relationships of members of a given society are far from random. They are patterned according to learned norms of conduct which may differ in some respects from norms of their counterparts in other societies. The patterns of relationship in a society are distinctive and
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culturally defined. Finally, the members of a society are bonded by a common linguage and symbols. To be functional any society should be organized in a predictable way. Social organization (also called social structure) is the patterned ways in which groups and individuals are organized and related to one another in the functioning entity that is society. Anthropologists have developed a set of analytic concepts that help describe and explain the orderly interdependence of human life in society. In particular, they have noted that people who interact in society do so not only as unique individuals only, but also as incumbents of publicly recognized social positions. Each such social position is called a status . Every person has a number of statuses simultaneously and often changes them in the course of their lives. As a rule, each status explicitly or implicitly implies certain obligations. Violation of the requirements associated with a particular social status generally brings about disapproval or punishment from other members of society. One should distinguish two basic kinds of social statuses found in all societies: ascribed and achieved. An ascribed status
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course ANTHRO 104 taught by Professor Bowie during the Fall '08 term at Wisconsin.

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Lecture Week 6 - Social Organization and Control Social...

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