Biosocial models of society - Sociology

Biosocial models of society

The term society in a broad historical and evolutionary sense, is applicable not only to people, but also to social animals, especially social insects (termites, ants, bees and wasps).

In those and others there are such properties as the division and specialization of occupations, the caste system, related groups, the socialization and education of the younger generation and some others. Of course, the general forms of sociality in people and animals are filled with different content, but not so different that they do not speak of their belonging to a common evolutionary line that ends or includes the highest link-society. The fundamental difference of human society is its character. This is an individualized society, whose members are not biological individuals, but individuals possessing intelligence, consciousness, individual lifestyle. On the contrary, the society of social insects, for example ants, scientists call anonymous, or eusocial, i.e. truly public. The personal beginning does not exist there at all.

The definitions of individualized and the anonymous with respect to society are used in biology to refer to two different types of social organization. The community of social insects, for example the termite, is the most visible example of an anonymous society. Here individuals recognize each other as individuals, but as representatives of one group. Accordingly, the biological value of each individual is minimal (not to mention the social value). The colony of ants can calmly sacrifice not only a few, but also thousands of individuals to save the species.

The likeness of society to a living being entered into scientific fashion, perhaps even back in ancient times. Since then, the arsenal of biological models has been constantly expanding. Today we can distinguish the following types:

1) a molecular-cell model, according to which people are identified with cells, and their aggregate - with a cellular population;

2) society as a human organism. Here are no longer cells, but larger entities - the brain, the digestive tract, arteries, etc. are likened to social institutions, each of which performs a specialized function and is in concerted interaction with other institution-bodies;

3) an anthill society. Observation of scientists for the behavior, organization, division of labor, coherence and interaction of social insects (ants, bees and termites) led them to another analogy of society with the biological world,

4) society as a stage of struggle for survival. After the publication of the works of Charles Darwin, European thinkers considered it possible to extend his teaching also to society. The new model of society was called social Darwinism

5) planetary model. It is based on the views of the French scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and the domestic thinker VI Vernadsky. In their representations, the global ecosystem is conceived as a superorganism, known as the noosphere.

From the organic school of sociology Herbert Spencer there is an understanding of society as a social organism. The initial cells (social statuses), specialized bodies (social institutions) performing a specific function (production, education) are allocated in society. For example, an English sociologist compared the government with the human brain, and roads and highways - with the venous system. Such a metaphor was especially popular with late representatives of social Darwinism (it is discussed in the future) and led to the birth of functional functionalism, one of the largest trends in world sociology. His origin from the methodological point of view is very strange: he himself is focused on the statics of society, although it originated from the theory of evolution, explaining the dynamics of the biological and social world. The emphasis on statics in functionalism gradually prevailed to such an extent that one more component was added to it, and it became a structural functionalism.

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