According to G.D. Mitchell, the concept of society is one of the vaguest and most general in the sociologists' vocabulary. The concept is a commonsense category in which 'society' is equivalent to the boundaries of nation states. While sociologists in practice often operate with this everyday terminology, it is not adequate because societies do not always correspond to political boundaries. When they speak of a society, they usually have in mind a social unit such as a tribe of neighbouring societies.
Societies is also used in a more general sense to designate the object of sociological investigation, in this sense, it is more or less synonymous with social structure.
Man is a social animal both by need, nature and necessity. Without society, he cannot advance and it is impossible to have fullest expression of his personality and faculties. He requires society both for his life and for the sake of good life.
But in the complex interaction between the individual and society, society is usually the dominant partner. Society exists long before we are born into it, and it will exist long after we are gone, society gives content, direction and meaning to our lives and we, in turn, in countless ways, reshape the society that we leave to the next generation.
Social beings express their nature by creating and recreating an organisation which guides and controls their behavior in myriad ways. Through this organisation, society liberates and limits the activities of men, set up standards for them of follow and maintain. It is a necessary condition of every fulfillment of life. Society is a system of usages and procedures, of authority and mutual aid, of many groupings and division of controls of human behaviour and of liberties. This ever-changing, complex system we call society. It is the web of social relationships and it is always changing.

The concept of society is given different meanings by different writers. It is difficult to find a definition which will be universally accepted by all sociologists. It does not, of course, mean that society means different things to different men. It will be more appropriate to say that different sociologists look at society from different angles and emphasise one or two aspects more than others, as can be perceived from the following definitions.
According to Maclaver, "Society is a system of usages and procedures, of authority and mutual aid, of many grouping and divisions, of controls of human behaviour and of liberties. This ever-changing complex system, which we call society, is a web of social relationships".
According to C.H. Cooley, "Society is a complex of form or processes each of which is living and growing by interaction with the others, the whole being so unified that what takes place in one part effects all the rest."
According to Ginsberg, "Society is a collection of individuals united by certain relations or modes of behaviour which mark them off from others who do not enter into these relations or who differ from them in behaviour".
According to Parsons, "Society may be defined as the total complex of human relationships in so far as they grow out action in terms of means-ends relationship, intrinsic or symbolic".
According to John F.Cuber, "A society may be defined as a group of people who have lived together long enough to became organised to consider themselves and be considered as a unit more or less distinct from other human units".
According to G.D.H. Cole, "Society is the complex of organised associations and institutions within the community".
According to Leacock, " Society includes not only the political relations by which men are bound together but the whole range of human relations and collective activities".
According to Harkins, "Society is a permanent of continuing group of men, women and children, able to carry on independently the process of racial perpetuation and maintenance on their own cultural levels".
If we analyse the above mentioned definitions, if will appear that these fall under two types:i) the functional definition which views society as  a process and ii) the structural definition which views society as a structure. However, there is really no conflict between the two views of society, viz, society viewed as social relationships or as a process and society viewed as a structure. As a matter of facts, these two views complement each other.
Analytical definitions usually treat a society as a relatively independent or self-sufficient population characterized by internal organisation, territoriality, cultural distinctiveness and sexual recruitment. Specific definitions vary considerably in regard to which of these elements is emphasized. Definitions also vary in the specific meaning given to such concepts as "culture", "organisations" and "self-suffeciency". Nevertheless, the basic concept of the inclusive, self-sufficient group remains a constant element in most concepts of society.


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