Sociology Index


Folk society is a society of primary communal relationships with little complexity and largely insulated from contact with other societies. Folk society is completely cohesive, morally, politically, and socially, because of the isolated state of the people. In a folk society there is relatively unmediated personal quality of social interaction, and the world experience is permeated with the understanding and expression shared by all members. The folk society is generally assumed to be the model of preliterate or so-called primitive societies. Folk society is closely related to F. Tonnies' (1855-1936) concept of Gemeinschaft. Gemeinschaft is a form of social integration based on personal ties. In folk society there is no anomic division of labor. The term folk society is an ideal type associated with American anthropologist and sociologist Robert Redfield.

Folk-communal societies are often seen as primitive and barbaric, they have little specialization among law enforcers, and let many problems go unpunished to avoid over-criminalization. Characteristics of anthropological analysis of society, as contrasted with sociological, similarly expressive of the nature of folk society, are the disposition to represent the society and culture in terms of "pattern" or "social structure"; the relatively small development of problems of sampling, the emphasis on formalized kinship structure, and certain emphasis of meaning in "social status" and "social class."

The Folk Society and Culture - Robert Redfield.
Abstract: Differences in concept, problem, and field procedure between anthropology and sociology are in part functions of differences in their usual subject matters: the primitive societies as contrasted with the urbanized societies. Awareness of this fact has been developed by studies made of peasant societies and of primitive peoples changing under urban influence. There results a conception of an ideal primitive or folk society.

The Study of Rural Communities in Quebec: From the 'folk society' Monographic Approach to the Recent Revival of Community as Place-based Rural Development. - Bruno Jean. Abstract: The intellectual history of social sciences in Quebec reflects an in-depth community-focused monographic approach. This research model created a conception of rural Quebec as a collection of communities best described as folk societies. It also reinforced a social and scientific representation of rural Quebec as traditional, backwards and conservative. This intellectual history culminated in the work of Horace Miner. In Miner’s 1939 thesis Saint-Denis : A French-Canadian Parish, the community of Saint-Denis is presented as a prime example of a folk society.

"Suki System and Ritual Kinship System in the Philippine Folk Society," read at the 27th Conference of Ethnology and Anthropology, Kyoto. - 1973.

Folk society in Social Forces, Odum, Howard Washington, (1953).

The Natural History of the Folk Society 
Robert Redfield, Social Forces, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Mar., 1953), pp. 224-228