intersocietal systemsany social arrangements or social systems which ‘cut across whatever dividing lines exist between SOCIETIES or societal totalities’ (GIDDENS, 1984). The claim of Giddens is that sociologists have often failed to take into account the importance of intersocietal systems. According to MANN (1986), sociologists have often conceived of society as ‘an unproblematic, unitary totality’, and as the ‘total unit of analysis’, when, in fact, this concept, at best, applies only to modern NATION STATES. Usually, historically 'S ocieties’ lacked such clear boundaries. Moreover, given the interdependence of modern nation states as part of a worldwide economic and NATION-STATE SYSTEM (see also WORLD SYSTEM), modern nation states cannot be properly understood as isolated social systems. See also TIME-SPACE DISTANCIATION.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000