Folk society is a society of
primary communal relationships with little complexity, minimal division of labor and
largely insulated from contact with other societies.
The term folk society is an ideal
type associated with American anthropologist and sociologist Robert Redfield (1897-1958).
Folk society is closely related to
F. Tonnies' (1855-1936) concept of Gemeinschaft.
Gemeinschaft is a form of social integration based on
personal ties; community.
The Folk Society and
Culture - Robert Redfield
American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 45, No. 5 (Mar., 1940), pp. 731-742
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. Other
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 "structure"; the
relatively small development of problems of sampling, the emphasis on formalized kinship
institutions, and certain emphasis of meaning in such words as "status" and
The Natural History of the
Robert Redfield, Social Forces, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Mar., 1953), pp. 224-228
doi:10.2307/2574218 - jstor.org
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, Université de Québec à Rimouski
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, a student
of the well known American anthropologist Robert Redfield. In Miners 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. - 1973d
Redfield, Robert. (1947). The Folk Society. The American Journal of Sociology
Odum, Howard Washington, Folk society in Social Forces (1953).