What is a Society, Nation, and State?August 15, 2015 by Juan
‘Society’ comes from the Latin socius which means companion which is an abstract term.
‘Nation’ comes from the Latin natus which refers to birth. Thus, a nation can have two meaning:
- The place where a person was born – this leads to nationality
- The ethnicity of the person at birth – this leads to ‘Cherokee nation’ if one’s parents are both Cherokee
A state is a formalized society that is non-arbitrary.
Its opposites are kingdoms, tribes, and nations, which are arbitrary.
Unlike a nation that has physical attributes such as a place of birth and race of parents, a state is an abstract idea.
A state has derivative ideas:
- A nation-state is a collection of tribes that has evolved to govern itself.
- A city-state is a city that has defined its society.
A state can merge with other states and become a United States or European Union, or split up like former Soviet states. The next evolution is the global state.