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To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must

study its major cities.

From Babylon to New York, Modern civilization are built on the base of modern cities, gleaning a large
number of samples from different places to extrapolate an idea of the norms, traditions and other
characteristics of the society. Nevertheless, studying major cities does not entail every details of a society
and often misleads into a wrong assumption. Claiming the study of major cities as a prerequisite to have
a better understanding of society is too much too say.

Since ancient times, people established communities near rivers. Most of the big cities in the world have
a river somewhere flowing in the middle of the city or meandering aside delineating the city borders.
These city centers attracted people from different regions and offered a dynamic environment with
elements drawn from different places juxtaposing into a brilliant picture. It is customary to study such
major cities to get a deeper insight of people and the customs in that region as it provides a set of wide
range of samples. For example, the traditions and cultures of Greeks will never be understood properly
without studying Athens in depth.
On the contrary, assuming a society based on its major cities may lead to catastrophic results in cases
where the definition of the word major is questioned. There are numerous examples of societies where
the entire society constitutes a large number of smaller regions. In such cases studying only the major
cities may not yield a clearer picture. A holistic approach of studying the society is needed, absence of
which may lead to a faulty approximation of the characteristics of a society. India can be an example of
such a society where studying a few major cities will not provide sufficient details of a society that is
Major cities often tend to have similarities with other major cities and lacks concordance with other small
cities in its own society. This can be a case very common to modern day world where New York offers
amenities similar to Tokyo and the characteristics of people in both of the cities may have so much in
common whereas The Japanese and American society may have a large contrast.

Given that Major cities indeed contain significant amount of information of a certain society it is needless
to say, studying of a major city is a must to understand its characteristics of a society but claiming it to be
the most important is, I believe, disagreeable.