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Detailed Textbook Notes

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Suzanne Casimiro

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Chapter 4: Society
Society: People who interact in a defined territory & share a culture
Gerhard & Jean Lenski: Society & Technology
Socio-cultural Evolution: Changes that occur as a society gains new technology
Societies with simplest technology have little control over nature, so they can support
small # of people; Societies with complex technology (cars/cell phones) support hundreds
of millions of people in more affluent ways of life
More technology society has, the faster it changes
5 types of societies, defined by their technology:
Horticultural & Pastoral
Hunter-Gatherer Societies
Hunting & Gathering: Use of simple tools to hunt animals & gather vegetation
Nomadic moving to find new sources of vegetation or follow migrating animals
Rarely form permanent settlements
Societies with more powerful technology using their lands for other purposes & reducing
their food supply causing hunter/gatherer societies to disappear
Horticultural & Pastoral Societies
Horticulture: Use of hand tools to raise crops
Hunters & gatherers living where food was plentiful saw little reason to change their
Pastoralism: Domestication of animals
Growing plants & raising animals greatly increased food production, so populations
Pastoralists remained nomadic, leading herds to fresh grazing lands, but
horticulturalists formed settlements
Horticultural & pastoral societies have greater inequality
Agrarian Societies
Agriculture: Large-scale cultivation using plows harnessed to animals or more powerful
energy sources
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Moment in history often called the dawn of civilization after invention of animal-
drawn plow, along with other breakthroughs
Plows have added advantage of turning & aerating soil, making it more fertile
Greater production = more specialization; dozens of distinct occupations
Money was required as common standard of exchange
Agrarian societies have extreme social inequality In most cases, large share of people
are peasants or slaves who do most work; Elites therefore have time for more refined
Agriculture raises men to position of social dominance Men take charge of food
Industrial Societies
Industrialism: Production of goods using advanced sources of energy to drive large
Industrial technology gave people power over environment that change took place faster
than ever
Industrialization drew people away from home to factories
Workers lost close working relationships, strong family ties, & many traditional values,
beliefs, & customs that guide agrarian life
Greatest effect of industrialization has been able to raise living standards
Industrial technology more productive that incomes in general rise over time, & people
throughout society have longer & more comfortable lives
Social inequality decreases slightly because industrial societies provide extended
schooling & greater political rights
Post-Industrial Societies
Many industrial societies have now entered another phase of technological development
Post-Industrialism: Technology that supports an information-based economy
Post-industrial production relies on computers & other electronic devices that create,
process, store, & apply skills
Information Revolution more evident in rich nations, yet new information technology
affects world
Limits of Technology
Technology provides no quick fix for social problems
Industrial & post-industrial societies give us more personal freedom, but lack sense of
As technology can be used for good, powerful nations have plenty of nuclear weapons
Advancing technology threatened physical environment
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