Rural Societies :-
The German sociologist used for a small and illiterate settlement the word Rural (Gemenichafft) and described its characteristics briefly as: "Gemenichaft; to describe a small, traditional society where people have personal face to face relationship with each other and where they value social relationships as ends in themselves.".
A French sociologist Emile Durkheim has explained these characteristic as
1. Population :
The population of rural society is small, of a few hundred people and belongs to the same ancestors. When a hunting and agrarian society thought a place easy for the supply of subsistence needs, it made its residence permanently there. In this way, rural societies came into existence but in the twentieth century a canal system was set up to promote agriculture and villages were formed of the societies, where there were to a limit independent settlements economically and socially and consisted of limited population.
2. Shared Common Economic Activities :
The residents of villages had commonly shared activities. According to Durkheim, these societies depend upon generally one economic activity. They are attached to agriculture, fishing or cattle grazing and depend upon these. They start their life from this activity and remain attached to it for the prime of their years and spend their old age in the memory of these activities.
3. Traditionalism :
Rural societies pass their activities of life under the influence of tradition and rituals. They abide by their traditions very strictly and any deviation from those is strongly disliked by the society. Tradition with all traits like religion, customs, belief and norms dominate and keep the society united and harmonious as the biggest effective forces.
4. Trends of Social Interaction :
In the rural society, interaction is face to face and the people know each other by names and castes. The profession of an individual in the rural society is important for his recognition and status and determines the nature of relations. In a rural society, interaction is intense, secret and informal Religious rites, marriages and deaths are an important source of making the interaction more deep and intense. The relations are of personal type in a rural society. Friendship is deep and durable but enmities are long and revengeful extending to many years and even agrarian races.
5. Social Change :
Rural societies are a changed form of agrarian societies of the past. The life in rural societies, is under the influence of traditions which present a serious hindrance to any social change. People are satisfied with their lives and there is no competition among them, exchange of information with others is often hesitated willfully and is thought injurious to the stability of the society. The rate of progress in social change is slow. However, the rapid means of communications have sped up this even in the rural societies and as a result of this changes in agriculture, fishing and cattle grazing have occurred. Raw material production and rapid transportation is a tendency to reach the market. Better standard of living and social status mobility consciousness is being promoted and all these changes are bringing the rural societies quite near to the urban societies.
6. Commitment to Customs :
Rural society is thought as the birth place of traditions because these take root deep in the rural society and in all the functions, these are abided by strictly, more expenditure is done to fulfill their requirements and it is thought as an honour. It is thought a guarantee of unity and harmony and there is a thinking that learning the traditions is a rebellion against the society which will make social relationship impossible. The intense desire to remain attached to the society has a serious presence on the individuals to observe the customs and traditions of. the society. Therefore all the individuals abide by the traditions automatically in the matters of marriage, death, religious rites and cultural rites and this keeps this continuity of customs and traditions to the new generation in a very safe manner.
7. Basic Needs :
The central institution for providing basic needs in a rural society is family and its structure is arranged according to the provision of needs. That is why, extended family is the successful and popular form of the rural society. The family arranges for basic needs like food, provision of family and conjugal relations where as in mattes of marriage, death and rites, the family requires mutual cooperation and this provides a social security also by stability of the social discipline. In the modern age, for the completion of modern needs like
schooling, hospital, telephone and electricity availability are becoming a cause of changing the nature of basic needs of the rural society.
A Gelman sociologist, Ferdinand Tonnies gave the name of urban individual society or `Geerellchafft' to a society of a large population where the people have impersonal and formal relations for the achievement of some aims. "F. Tonnies characteristic urban industrial society as a Geerellchafft. People in such societies has more impersonal, distant relationships with each other and lived to use social relationships as a mean to an end. Individualism is valued more than group solidarity."
Salient Features of Urban Societies :
1. Population :
August Comte in "The Progress of Civilization Through Three Stages", have given the detail of coming into existence of the urban society like this:
"When handicraft took the form of industry and a need arose to increase the industrial production and to make it available to the people, the people of rural society started to reside near industrial set ups which increased the population and because of strangeness, which made this free environment more charming for the people to come there."
2. Economic Activities :
Urban societies are the center of different economic activities. Here industry provides their production which increases trade activities. Rural societies bring their raw material to sell which gives rise to markets, means of communications, exchange house, business and shapes to be established. Services become a source of earning and employment and the large population has to do many jobs of labourers, managers and skilled men etc.
3. Trends of Social Interaction :
According to Max Weber: "Social interaction in an urban society is impersonal and the relations depend upon personal qualities instead of traditions."
There is no importance of social tradition and cultural values in an urban society. Profession, education, economic resources and authority have importance in relations. Instead of family relations, formal organizations,' clubs and associations provide a social stability system. Customs are of no importance and interaction is based upon informal and professional matters. The most of the division of work is due to relation and social interaction and status which increase the interaction to more informal and objective-oriented aims.
4. Social Change :
According to Neil J. Smelser: "Urban societies came into existence because of social change and the speed of social change remains constant." Urban societies give importance to modernization instead of traditionalism and adopting a modern life is thought a value. That is why that the family becomes nuclear,
egalitarian and non local instead of an expanding family. Economic activities shift from agricultural to educational activities and social stratification is the basis of education professional skill, power, authority and economic resources instead of sex or racial status. The strong consciousness of keeping the standard of life
makes the competition rapid and because of this a continuous action of social change in the urban societies goes on.
5. Basic Needs :
Individualism is given more importance in an urban society in place of group and collective stability. That is why, there are regular organizations to provide basic needs in urban societies. Though family is a center for providing basic needs but for education, health and for employment, the schools, hospitals, social institutions and police etc. are working. Marital relations depend upon personal liking and suitability instead of families. Recreations manners are informal and economic. The needs of friendships and relationships are satisfied by
associations with professional organization or formal organizations instead of neighbours or family relationships.