The Five Elements of Society Despite the many superficial differences among human societies, they all have

underlying similarities. People everywhere over the globe, no matter when they lived, have all structured their societies in similar ways. We have categorized these ways into the “Five Elements of Society,” which provide us a structure by which to study human society in the Humanities program. Below, each element is defined and explained. You should memorize the definitions and know what sorts of activities concern each element. These terms are used in particular ways, and your familiarity with them is expected when writing papers or taking tests. I. POLITICAL: A MONOPOLY ON THE USE OF FORCE/VIOLENCE TO MAINTAIN ORDER. A. Types of Government 1. Monarchy: rule by one person 2. Oligarchy: rule by a small group or committee 3. Democracy: rule by the people (through voting) (Theocracy itself, or rule by a god or gods, is not a form of government. There may be theocratic monarchies, oligarchies, or even democracies.) (Anarchy: no government structure. Each person takes care of him/herself.) B. Functions of Government 1. Legislate: make laws 2. Adjudicate: judge laws 3. Execute: enforce laws II. ECONOMIC: PROVIDING FOR THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE AND OTHER HUMAN WANTS A. The Three Factors of Production 1. Land: raw materials, natural resources 2. Labor: human effort, mental or physical 3. Capital: tools B. Distribution and Trade 1. Direct barter: exchanging one good or service for another 2. Indirect barter: using a symbolic token to procure what is needed C. Consumption: Use of Goods

III.

SOCIAL: PERTAINING TO CUSTOMS, EDUCATION, AND GROUPINGS A. Customs: Ways of doing things. 1. rituals and ceremonies, i.e. rites of passage 2. rites of passage: ceremonies that revolve around transitional points a. birth: transition from life in the womb to life in society b. puberty: transition from childhood to adulthood c. marriage: transition from single life to family life d. death: transition out of society

Education: learning ways of doing things in order to be an effective, responsible member of society. 1. direct learning: survival skills, both physical and social, learned from one’s parents, families, and others. (mother shows you HOW to do something) 2. Indirect learning: formal schooling (someone tells you ABOUT something)
B.

C. Groupings: things that distinguish individuals from one another 1. Differentiation: Within each group no one is “better” than another; neither is any group better than another. Age, sex, ethnicity/race, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, creed, religion. 2. Stratification: groupings that involve a hierarchy (explicit ranking or chain of command) a. estate: usually voluntary, e.g. military organization b. caste: hereditary social order c. class: economic group IV. RELIGIOUS: SYSTEMS OF BELIEF THAT DEAL WITH QUESTIONS OF EXISTENCE A. Questions of existence

1. Time. a. origins of life b. end of life (death) 2. Space a. Where does the universe end? b. most religions have some kind of cosmology (picture of universe) 3. Why is there suffering? a. natural suffering (disease, old age etc) b. man’s inhumanity to man (war etc.)

B. What all religions have in common 1. Separation of spiritual and material reality 2. Material is transitory; spiritual is permanent 3. Some form of ritual/practice to focus the mind on the spiritual V. ARTISTIC/INTELLECTUAL: DEALS WITH TRUTH, GOODNESS, AND BEAUTY
A.

Intellectual (from Latin intellego: I understand/perceive) 1. Attempts to understand/discern the world/society/individual, inquiry into the nature of things. 2. Ologies, from greek “logos”=study, word, reason 3. Questions the intellectual element is concerned with: a) What is TRUTH? b) What is GOODNESS? Ethics: the study of right/correct/moral behavior. How to live? What to do? B B. Artistic Element (from Latin ars: fitting things together) C 1. Aesthetics: the formal study of what is BEAUTIFUL D 2. Types of Art a) music b) visual arts c) dance d) drama/literature 4. Functions of Art a) Art as communication (with God, society, other individuals) b) Art as didactic/teaching c) Art to give pleasure (catharsis) d) Art to praise or criticise society e) Art for art’s sake (ars gratia artis)