intersocietal systems

intersocietal systems

any 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.
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Rather than comparing societies with one another, we compare systems of human societies (or intersocietal systems) and these are empirically bounded in space as interaction networks--bilateral or multilateral regularized exchanges of materials, obligations, threats, and information.
In the last decade, the world-systems approach has been extended to the analysis of earlier and smaller intersocietal systems. Andre Gunder Frank and Barry Gills (1993) have argued that the contemporary world system is a continuation of a 5000-year old system that emerged with the first states in Mesopotamia.
Chase-Dunn and Hall (1997) note that in most intersocietal systems there are several important networks of different spatial scales and relative intensities, which impinge upon any particular locale: Information Networks (INs); Prestige Goods Networks (PGNs); Political/Military Networks (PMNs); and Bulk Goods Networks (BGNs).