society and community

Society and community are terms often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and characteristics. Let’s learn what sets them apart and how they function.

Society and Community: Definitions

Definition of Society

A society can be understood as a group of people who interact with each other within a defined territory. In essence, society revolves around the concepts of people, interaction, and territory. Within a society, cooperation, conflict, and competition are common dynamics, shaping the interactions among its members. Moreover, societies are self-sufficient entities, wherein individuals are born and often spend their entire lives.

According to

  1. Emile Durkheim: “Society is not a mere sum of individuals. It is a system formed by their association representing a reality sui generis.”
  2. Max Weber: “Society is an association of people united by a common interest or purpose, characterized by a shared culture, norms, and institutions.”
  3. Talcott Parsons: “Society is a complex system of interrelated parts, each serving a specific function to maintain the stability and equilibrium of the whole.”

Definition of Community

Community: On the other hand, a community can be seen as a smaller-scale version of society. Like a society, a community comprises individuals who interact within a specific territory. However, what distinguishes a community is the presence of a unique factor: community sentiment. Unlike in society, where interactions may be more formal or distant, community members share emotional connections and a strong sense of belongingness.

According to

  1. Ferdinand Tönnies: “Community (Gemeinschaft) refers to a type of social organization characterized by intimate, personal, and organic relationships among its members, based on shared traditions, values, and sentiments.”
  2. Robert Park: “Community is not merely a geographical location, but a web of social relationships and interactions among individuals sharing common interests, goals, and identities.”
  3. Georg Simmel: “Community is a social form in which the individual is completely absorbed in the collective unity, and the unity itself is integrated into the individual’s consciousness.”

Characteristic Features of Society and Community

Characteristic Features of Society

  1. Collective Interaction: Society involves interactions among individuals who share a common territory and are connected through social relationships and institutions.
  2. Complexity: Societies are often characterized by complexity, with diverse social structures, roles, norms, and institutions that shape individual behavior and collective life.
  3. Social Order: Societies maintain social order through the establishment of norms, laws, and institutions that regulate behavior and resolve conflicts.
  4. Division of Labor: Societies typically exhibit a division of labor, where individuals specialize in different roles and occupations to meet the diverse needs of the community.
  5. Cultural Diversity: Societies encompass a range of cultural practices, beliefs, and values, reflecting the diversity of its members and their historical and geographical contexts.

Characteristic Features of Community

  1. Shared Identity: Communities are characterized by a sense of shared identity and belongingness among its members, often based on common cultural, ethnic, religious, or geographical ties.
  2. Social Cohesion: Communities foster social cohesion and solidarity through interpersonal relationships, mutual support, and collective activities that reinforce a sense of community spirit.
  3. Localized Interaction: Communities are typically localized, with members residing in close proximity to one another, facilitating frequent face-to-face interactions and social bonds.
  4. Community Sentiment: Community members often exhibit a strong emotional attachment and loyalty to their community, fostering a sense of solidarity and mutual obligation.
  5. Shared Resources: Communities often share common resources, facilities, and services, which contribute to the well-being and functioning of the community as a whole.

Key Differences Between Society and Community

  1. Scale:
    • Society encompasses a larger group of people interacting within a broader territory.
    • Community refers to a smaller, more localized group of individuals sharing common characteristics and residing in close proximity.
  2. Scope of Interaction:
    • In society, interactions among individuals can be impersonal and may not always involve strong social ties.
    • Community interactions are often characterized by strong interpersonal relationships and a sense of shared identity and belongingness.
  3. Level of Complexity:
    • Societies tend to be more complex, with diverse social structures, institutions, and norms governing behavior.
    • Communities are relatively simpler, with fewer formal structures and norms, often relying on informal social mechanisms for cohesion.
  4. Cultural Diversity:
    • Societies encompass a wide range of cultural, ethnic, and social diversity, reflecting the complexity of its members and their interactions.
    • Communities may exhibit cultural homogeneity or diversity, depending on the shared characteristics and composition of its members.
  5. Geographical Scope:
    • Societies can span across regions, countries, or even continents, encompassing diverse populations and territories.
    • Communities are typically localized to specific neighborhoods, villages, or towns, with members residing in close proximity to one another.
  6. Sense of Belonging:
    • In society, individuals may have a weaker sense of belongingness to the larger group, as interactions can be more impersonal and diverse.
    • Communities foster a strong sense of belongingness and solidarity among its members, often based on shared experiences, values, or traditions.
  7. Functionality:
    • Societies serve broader functions such as governance, economic organization, and cultural transmission, with formal institutions playing a significant role.
    • Communities often focus on meeting the social, cultural, and emotional needs of its members, relying on informal networks and communal activities.


Society: A broader collective of individuals interacting within a defined territory, marked by cooperation, conflict, and competition.

Community: A smaller-scale group characterized by emotional bonds and a sense of belongingness among its members, existing within the context of larger societal structures.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *