Categories of Society Essay

Submitted By blacqtears
Words: 868
Pages: 4

Sociologists have classified the different types of societies into five categories, each of which possess their own unique characteristics: Hunting and gathering societies, Pastoral societies, Horticultural societies, Agricultural societies, Industrial societies and Post-industrial societies
Hunting and gathering societies survive by hunting game and gathering edible plants. Until about 12,000 years ago, all societies were hunting and gathering societies. There are five basic characteristics of hunting and gathering societies:
• The primary institution is the family, which decides how food is to be shared and how children are to be socialized, and which provides for the protection of its members.
• They tend to be small, with fewer than fifty members.
• They tend to be nomadic, moving to new areas when the current food supply in a given area has been exhausted.
• Members display a high level of interdependence.
• Labor division is based on sex: men hunt, and women gather.
In a horticultural society, hand tools are used to tend crops. The tools they used were simple: sticks or hoe-like instruments used to punch holes in the ground so that crops could be planted. With the advent of horticultural machinery, people no longer had to depend on the gathering of edible plants—they could now grow their own food. They no longer had to leave an area when the food supply was exhausted, as they could stay in one place until the soil was depleted. There are five basic characteristics of hunting and gathering societies:
• The primary institution is the family, which decides how food is to be shared and how children are to be socialized, and which provides for the protection of its members.
• They tend to be small, with fewer than fifty members.
• They tend to be nomadic, moving to new areas when the current food supply in a given area has been exhausted.
• Members display a high level of interdependence.
• Labor division is based on sex: men hunt, and women gather.
A pastoral society relies on the domestication and breeding of animals for food. Some geographic regions, such as the desert regions of North Africa, cannot support crops, so these societies learned how to domesticate and breed animals. The members of a pastoral society must move only when the grazing land ceases to be usable. Many pastoral societies still exist in Africa, Latin America, and parts of Asia. As techniques for raising crops and domesticating and breeding animals improved, societies began to produce more food than they needed. Societies also became larger and more permanently rooted to one location. For the first time in human history, not everyone was engaged in the gathering or production of food. As a result, job specialization emerged. While some people farmed or raised animals, others produced crafts, became involved in trade, or provided such goods as farming tools or clothing.
The invention of the plow during the horticultural and pastoral societies led to the establishment of agricultural societies approximately five thousand to six thousand years ago. Members of an agricultural tend crops with an animal harnessed to a plow. The use of animals to pull a plow eventually led to the creation of cities and formed the basic structure of most modern societies.
The development of agricultural societies followed this general sequence:
• Animals are used to pull plows.
• Larger areas of land can then be cultivated.
• As the soil is aerated during plowing, it yields more crops for longer periods of time.
• Productivity increases, and as long as there is plenty of food, people do…