Men's Societies

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Men’s Societies


a social institution that apparently arose during the transition from the matriarchal to the patriarchal clan, when men were struggling to win the dominant position in society. Men’s societies had their leaders and secret language, rites, and religious ceremonies. During the disintegration of the primitive communal system, men’s societies, sometimes called secret societies, frequently became embryos of state power. Men’s societies were widespread in Melanesia and West Africa, and they are known to have existed in Micronesia and the Americas. Vestiges of such societies may be found among several ancient peoples, notably the Spartans, and among such contemporary peoples as the Nuristanis.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
In all the new-fangled comprehensive plans which I see, this is all left out; and the consequence is, that your great mechanics' institutes end in intellectual priggism, and your Christian young men's societies in religious Pharisaism.
It is believed the solid oak chair was funded by the Ivorites, a group of men's societies founded in 1837, which used masonic terms like "order" and "lodge" but who were in fact a precursor to modern-day building societies.
After an interesting opening chapter on Morgan and his engagement with 19th century men's societies, Herdt turns to general issues of secret organization in Melanesia and beyond.
Young men's societies were established to position reform activism expressly within a contest over middle-class masculinity, rather than to address a nascent youth movement.