traditional society

traditional society

a nonindustrial, predominantly rural society which is presumed to be static and contrasted with a modern, changing, INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY. The concept is widely used in the social sciences, but over the last few decades has come to be seen as very problematic and therefore avoided by many sociologists. The problems involved in its usages are:
  1. it is a term which has been used to describe a wide variety of societies which in fact differ markedly from each other (see AGRARIAN SOCIETY, TRIBAL SOCIETY, ANCIENT SOCIETY, FEUDAL SOCIETY);
  2. whilst the rates of SOCIAL CHANGE in such societies are slower than in industrial societies, it is erroneous to accept that no change occurs;
  3. the term gained usage within sociology when systematic knowledge of nonindustrial societies was weak, and increased knowledge no longer warrants the usage;
  4. it is associated with MODERNIZATION theory which has been criticized for delineating an oversimplified contrast between traditional and modern;
  5. the oversimplifications involved in the term lead either to a romanticized or a pejorative view of such societies.

An example of the problematic use of the term is when commentators argue that contemporary Japanese society differs from Western European society because of the stronger survival of traditional society within Japan. This ignores the facts that all societies carry features from the past in their present social arrangements, no societies have complete breaks between so-called traditional and modern, and that such features from the past may be more striking to Western observers because of their unfamiliarity, thus adding Eurocentricity to the list of problems. Further, in the case of Japan, in the 19th century the state actively decided to promote what were seen as aspects of traditional Japan for political purposes and for the establishment of Japanese national identity. Thus what is seen as ‘traditional’ is as likely to be an invention (see Hobsbawm and Ranger, 1983).

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
As we watch, as we whine and as we talk, traditional society is fast slipping away into the past.
Mostly recalled for his contribution in introducing concepts of widow-remarriage in the traditional society, he is referred to as a philosopher, writer, reformer, printer and philanthropist.
He added: "Our approach in [Saudi] has been to find an architectural expression for a deeply traditional society that is future-focused.
Her book Celestial Bodies set in the village of Oman is a beautiful portrayal of the life of three Arab sisters growing up in a traditional society and revolves around family's losses and love.
For this simple reason, there is no organized crime in the traditional society where Levies is ruling.
An astute member of the Restoration Baptist Church, one who appears outwardly to be a devote Christian is at another time seen as the leader of the traditional society, where she's named the controversial 'Dahkpannah'.
The novel explores the lives of three sisters as they witness Oman slowly redefining itself from a traditional society to its complex present state, where social mores parley with aspiration, technology, and oil money.
He pointed out that despite the complexities and nature of the traditional society in Yemen, women have managed to attain good leadership and political positions, both in the Shura Council, in the government and in other institutions, in order to make a space for wider participation for women and taking into account the issue of empowering them.
However, one of the major reasons of higher growth of breast cancer is traditional society since there is lack of data collecting system about breast cancer.
UN Women emphasizes that BiH is still a traditional society in which women are struggling every day for a better position.
More specifically, I examine how sacrifice, a ritual act that in traditional society is associated with expressing gratitude and seeking reconciliation between rival factions, is turned into the foundation for a cult and culture of martyrdom."
The Bahawalpur State provides a different picture of women's life in a traditional society that lacked hard formal constraints on the personal freedoms of lower-class women.

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