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Thread: Is there such thing as society?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Is there such thing as society?

    I think a lot of people are familiar with the Thatcherite message or maxim that there was no such thing as society, up until that point there had been arguments made against policies such as privatisation, downsizing, pay freezes and other things of the same order in terms of their "social impact" but from that point on the argument was one that there was no such thing as society, only individuals and their families.

    So what is your opinion, is there such thing as society or not? If there is or there isnt how should it be reflected in public life, politics, public policy and the behaviour of the state?

    Can an individualist believe in society? Which is ontologically a priori the individual or the society?

    If there is no such thing as society is there such a thing as community? In what ways would a concept or reality of community differ from that of a society?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array KDude's Avatar
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    Jan 2010


    As long as they some kind of binding cultural mythos or principles, then a society "exists".

    Then again, a rampant individualist can still be part of a society too. It's called the Church of Satan (Not literal Satanism, but Anton Lavey's Randian based Satanism). It's a society destined to fail though. In the words of "Satan's" worst enemy, "A house divided against itself will fall."

  3. #3


    I always thought society was cultural characteristics of a particular time and place. Patterns of individuals and their families I suppose. So yes, I believe in society.

  4. #4


    It depends on the word's framing, then whether or not there is physiological underlying principles to support the claims.

    IE nationalism. I don't doubt the term exists for no reason, there is physiological support as an aggregate across a large enough sample size.

    Another example could be the partial legalization of marijuana in the USA - while federally illegal to partake, state legislation in certain territories has made even recreational use legal.

    Now - and I wonder if this is where your speculating arises - where does the line between state jurisdiction and federal jurisdiction begin and end? As a whole of society, in the USA, we have said no to certain drugs. On a more nucleic, local level, certain societies have risen to challenge this jurisdiction. Surely there is disparity among the masses even there, which raises more questions about how it should be handled as a society.

    Society definitely exists. Conglomerations of beliefs, practices, laws and jurisdiction definitely exist.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Array
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    Oct 2012


    Lady Thatcher never actually said "no such thing as society".

    This is not to defend or criticize her. Simply to correct a widely spread historical myth.

    You can love or despise her (and I have family who fought in a war against her), but certainly, she would not have been so stupid to make such a claim.

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