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November 06, 2008

Defining 'Society' - A College Freshman's Understanding

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6 November 2008

ENG 121.14 Students,

Per the directions you were given in our class meeting today . . .

. . . please write YOUR definition of "society" in the comment box below. I am not interested in a dictionary definition, I am interested in how YOU define it. To help in your brainstorming process, start by trying to define what society IS NOT. Then, maybe classify society into different types. Use all of the tools you have learned in this class to develop your thesis: brainstorming, outlining, narration, description, examples, explanation, and division.

*This will be regarded as one of the many quizzes we are scheduled to take for this course. You will be evaluated on your originality and how well you have followed the instructions. This is due on BOTH turnitin.com AND on the english-blog. Failure to post on both will constitute an incomplete assignment (zero points awarded).

I look forward to your responses. I'm looking for about a paragraph or more. Consider this practice for your upcoming essay which will be a much more developed response.

Dr. Hobbs.


*To read other essays/articles on this blog that deal with either the origins, meanings, or subtleties of words in the English language, please click HERE!

Posted by lhobbs at November 6, 2008 11:56 PM

Readers' Comments:

Searching for the Meaning of Society

What is society? Is it civilization? Is it a state or nation? Or is it a community? Could it be something else that does not involve a formal government? The answer lies in all of these examples. To understand the meaning of society, one must look past differences in the examples and look more towards what all of them have in common with each other for the meaning of society to come into context. Society is more than just government; it is a way of living life as a group or whole.

I, for one, can only speak as an American, and Americans, it seems, live in a different culture than those of other nations. There are even different cultures within the American culture.

But as Americans, in general, people live a way of life that is defined by personal wants and needs. In American culture everyone has the opportunity to better themselves, receive an education, and pursue happiness. Society in America is also explained by the government that allows this way of life to take place. The democratic institution of America allows people to elect their leaders and have freedom of choice, and freedom of speech. Society in America is defined by Individualism. This is a rather simplistic break-down of a very complex form of government. It is broken down into the major points on which it stands; as to show a comparison to a very different form of government.

Other nations, such as the former USSR, had a very different culture, based on an almost opposite belief system. The former soviets were free to live as they pleased in a different way. Instead of doing so as the Americans and focusing on individualism, the Soviets pushed towards making everyone the same, in doing so, attempting to make everyone socially and economically equal. Citizens in the USSR had fewer freedoms then those of America, but also had a greater sense of security of public standing. This helped define society in the former USSR in the form of collectivism. This is also a very simple break-down of a very intricate and complicated government.

Another form of society, still considered nations but not defined as strictly by location, were the indigenous people of the United States. Many Native American tribes were nomadic, and followed their food source whenever it migrated. Their culture also had distinct views on how to live and religion. The goal of these nomadic Indian tribes was very clear and easy to see, survival. It was the driving force which held the tribes together. They also had established governments, and rules which by the lived. The leaders were usually chosen in a more primitive manner, by usually being the biggest or strongest person in the group.

Society, as seen in the examples, has many different models. It is more easily defined as a group, or groups of individuals, living together in a manner that is intended to further their existence. The examples given have very distinct differences in way of governing, but there are also similarities that show through in all of them. One such example is how they are both gatherings of people that live together for specific purposes. Society is a broad term for explaining the state in which people live or interact with each other. There are different forms of governments and types of civilizations, many of which are built on completely different beliefs, but they all share the same basic principle of continuing their existence through one another.

Almost all societies have a differing form of government. Government, country, and geographical location are often major defining points in what differentiates societies from one another. They are easily seen as the most obvious differences in the modern world. Societies are often labeled by the corresponding title in one of these three categories due to the simplicity and importance of proximity of different cultures.

Are there other societies that do not involve people? There are many animals that live together for various reasons, such as; protection in numbers, mates, and hunting in groups. Many animals live together in a way that is beneficial them, and increase their ability to survive. This is not an example of society however, society pertains to self-perpetuating humans.

A society can also be a group of people who all share common interests, professions, or who just enjoy certain activities; for example an actors society, or a poets society. To be considered a society, it is not necessary to be nation or community; it can be as simple as a brotherhood or sisterhood. Government does not need to play a major role in such groups, they work within themselves to share common interest, pass on knowledge, and carry on a certain practice or activity. A certain set of rules still apply to the order of what is necessary to be part of such a group, and how to continue to be apart of it. An example of this would be meeting together to share their ideas or going out and taking place in the activity that has bound the group of people together.

Society is simply people living together furthering their existence. It is not bound to any form of government or way of life. Societies come in many different forms; all of witch though share the same purpose one way or another. A society must consist of people though, living under a common creed sharing similar goals.

~Daniel M.

Posted by: Daniel M. at November 6, 2008 07:51 AM

There are many different types of society which we live in. Society as a whole is defined in my words as a group of people who contribute to that group. In America, people contribute to our society by voting, working, and buying or selling. Society has to be a group of people who represent a function of being in existence. Societies can crumble and they can prosper with the proper knowledge and understanding of what needs to be done.

Posted by: Ron Carlson at November 6, 2008 10:58 AM

A society is a group of living organisms, usually of a somewhat numerous size, who interact with one another and the world in a certain way. Societies can exist within societies, and there are several ways of classifying them. For example, the American society which describes the entire United States encases prison societies, which then can go on to encase criminal societies that exist in the prisons. Similarly, the society of an ecosystem encases the societies of different species of organisms within it, which then can be broken down into the societies of certain genders from a particular species. Additionally, for a society to exist, people or other organisms do not necessarily have to be living in the same general area as one another. An example of this is the different groups of religions which exist all over the world such as the Christian society, Buddhist society, and Islamic society. Therefore, a Buddhist living in the United States and a Buddhist living in Nepal belong to the same religious society.

Posted by: Aaron O'Neill at November 6, 2008 01:15 PM

Folarinle Fasida
Professor Hobbs
Eng-121: Academic Writing 16
12:30 p.m.
Proposal: Enemy

The topic I have chosen for my definition essay is Enemy. I would define enemy as one who was once your friend, but decides to betray you in a sense that cannot be forgiven. My essay will go along the lines of a story point of view of how I have made friends, and gained enemies because they betrayed me. This essay is going to define friendship and how most friendship do not last forever because people are not willing to change or help the friendship survive. They would rather squabble then gather up their pride and realize what friendship really is.

Posted by: Folarinle F. at November 6, 2008 02:38 PM

When i think of the word society, i think of what surrounds us daily. Such as, the people that we live and interact with and the technology that we use. The reason why i describe society in this way is because this what i see through my eyes. I believe there may be other meanings, as mentioned in my English 121-Section 14 class. One of the meanings that others have is that a society is one in which people contribute to help each other. I believe that this is similar to my definition, because it is saying that people interact with each other to help each other.

Posted by: Sasha-ann Jarrett at November 7, 2008 11:57 AM

Tom felt lonely because he didn't feel like he belong in his family. He tried out many different styles including, a hippie and a carpenter. Tom did this because he didn't really know who he was inside.

Posted by: Katherine Lamb at November 9, 2008 08:41 PM

Society is the what we live in and what surrounds us every day. It is a large group of people living and working together in order to survive. Society, in many ways, defines our country and changes over time. Society is the base for close to everything and without society we would not have the many different believes and cultures.

Posted by: Katherine Lamb at November 9, 2008 09:20 PM

Society is the general members of the place one lives and things in it. Humans are not the only species that have a society. Also, a society is anything that can be made better or changed by the people or things in it. If someone told me to go out and make the society a better place to live it could be anything from picking up litter to starting a business that helps raise money. Society is not just one thing; it’s more like everything combined into one. For instance, our society is the people, the economy, businesses, and the government all combined. A society is something that has to be made, it doesn’t just appear and everything is perfect. The members of the society have to take action and do what they believe will be good for the community, economy, and world in general.

Zachary West
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 121 Sec 14
November 10, 2008

Posted by: Zachary West at November 10, 2008 08:40 PM

Allyn Tuff
Dr. Hobbs
English 121 CA 14
Society is when a large number of living organisms live, work, and communicate to survive. A society can be a group, or organization, or a nation. Society doesn’t only have to do with humans either. There can be societies of animals such as monkeys, apes, and many other species of living organisms.

Posted by: Allyn Tuff at November 12, 2008 04:29 PM

Raymond Ferrara
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
English 121 section 14
12 November 2008

The word society has to do with different groups of people and the way they interact together. There is not a certain amount of people or a certain belief that makes a society. I believe that when a certain group works together in a social way then a successful society is taken place. An example is when people every Sunday go to a certain church. They are a group of people that come together and value a certain religion. There are many different examples of ways people can be part of a society.

Posted by: Raymond Ferrara at November 12, 2008 10:38 PM

Michael Hewlett
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
English 121 Academic Writing
12 November 2008
Society is a controlled group of people that has to do with a government function, religious act, or a club. I believe a society also involves a neighborhood, because neighborhoods have a group of people that join together to make their community look the way they want it to look. A society provides security, friendship, and fashion for it community. A society does not have to be a group of friends; it can be a group of people that are joined together for the same cause.

Posted by: Michael Hewlett at November 12, 2008 10:46 PM

Christian Tejada
ENG 121.14

Society is a complex word to define. Each person has their aspect of society. My definition of society is how everyone goes about their everyday life. It's like a large number of people trying to survive. It is a community filled with types of cultures. People sharing and living the everyday life.

Posted by: christian tejada at November 12, 2008 11:16 PM

Thomas Murray
Dr. Burgsbee L. Hobbs
English 121 sec. 14
12 November 2008
Society is the way we interact and communicate among people. In a good society, a group people might contribute to the community, making it a better place. In a bad society, a group of people might rebel, not caring about the world around them. A society can be any group of persons during any time period. We are all living in a society today. Whether it’s your country, your state, your town, or your friends, we as people all form a society’s.

Posted by: Thomas Murray at November 12, 2008 11:57 PM

Society is a word to classify all people that make up in a group. It's also used to classify whichever group an individual belongs to. It can be the country that one is a citizen of, the city or town in which one lives, or the group of people they associate with. A broader classification can be referring to the society of humanity. This means that everyone is classified as society, no matter how different they may be.

Brianna Bilbao
English 121-14
November 13,2008

Posted by: Brianna B. at November 13, 2008 09:15 AM


*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at November 13, 2008 04:03 PM

To me, Society means the all group of human people AND HUMAN MATURE. All people together in a big group, who co-exist together in many aspects.

Society is our base, our nature, because all life we have living with someone, interacting with social things, so, Society is a part os US.

Posted by: Ana Delca at November 26, 2008 06:31 AM

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