a collective definition of society / by Stephanie Beattie

Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members.

Insofar as it is collaborative, a society can enable its members to benefit in ways that would not otherwise be possible on an individual basis; both individual and social (common) benefits can thus be distinguished, or in many cases found to overlap.


a society may be illustrated as an infrastructure made up of, yet distinct from, a varied collection of individuals. In this regard society can mean the objective relationships people have with the material world and with other people, rather than "other people" beyond the individual and their familiar social environment.

A "society" may even, though more by means of metaphor, refer to a social organism such as an ant colony or anycooperative aggregate such as, for example, in some formulations of artificial intelligence.