Societies, Types of

Guillermina Jasso

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


    Societies may be classified along many dimensions - large or small, geographic location, resource base, form of government, kind of economy, and so on. This article describes two new approaches to classifying societies, both grounded in basic sociobehavioral theory, specifically, on Plato's and Aristotle's idea that the ways and means of seeking happiness generate distinctive types of societies. The first approach arises from the new unified theory (NUT) of sociobehavioral forces, which posits three forces from the Mertonian middle range and yields five types of societies (echoing Plato's hint). The second approach is based on four deeper engines of behavior, and yields 15 types of societies (four single-engine societies, six dual-engine societies, four triple-engine societies, and one quad-engine society) plus a null society, with no visible engine of social behavior - for a total of 2n or 16 societies. In the language of happiness, the first approach is based on three middle-range carriers of happiness and the second on four deeper carriers of happiness. An as yet unanswered question is whether the middle-range carriers of happiness can be derived from the deeper carriers of happiness, or, equivalently, whether the NUT societies can be derived from the deeper-engine societies.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition
    PublisherElsevier Inc.
    Number of pages9
    ISBN (Electronic)9780080970875
    ISBN (Print)9780080970868
    StatePublished - Mar 26 2015


    • Aristotle
    • Basic forces
    • Basic theory
    • Comparison processes
    • Happiness
    • Identity
    • Individualism and collectivism
    • Inequality
    • Justice
    • Plato
    • Power
    • Preexisting and emergent subgroups
    • Rate of change
    • Status

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


    Dive into the research topics of 'Societies, Types of'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this