Sociology Index


Folk society is a society of primary communal relationships with little complexity and largely insulated from contact with other societies. 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 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 - 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 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 Natural History of the Folk Society 
Robert Redfield, Social Forces, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Mar., 1953), pp. 224-228 doi:10.2307/2574218 -

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
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 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.

Redfield, Robert. (1947). The Folk Society. The American Journal of Sociology 52(4):293-308.

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