Society vs. Culture

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Difference between Society and Culture

It would seem that society and culture are pretty much the same thing. Both words are used to describe certain groups of people for starters and they generally refer to certain segments that share a number of similar backgrounds, customs and practices, or even simply geographical location. Still other societal and cultural groupings are determined by blood relationships or tradition. Confused? Maybe this comparison will clear things up!



Society is the term used to describe group of people with a similar cultural and behavioral pattern or those that live in the same geographical area. Each society is generally considered as a distinct and individual unit.

As for culture, the term has come to mean a certain set of traditions that differentiate one society from another.


A single society is usually made up of numerous segments with some being assigned the role of government, educational tasks, and industry. Within each society there may also be smaller societal groups in existence with the members drawn together by common goals or activities.

For its part, culture is made up of various traditions, customs and ethnic characteristics, all of which serve to make one particular culture different from another. Members belonging to a particular culture may share the same language, dietary customs and social practices, although this isn't always the case.

Purpose / Function

Society often serves to bring together people of congruent and divergent backgrounds, and make them part of a bigger whole. It is in times of great need or crisis that some of the most significant purposes of societies are revealed. Many societies are the products of the alignment of members according to state or familial relationships. In most societies, individuals or groups that perform outstanding services are recognized and given honor.

One thing that characterizes culture is constant change. The development of culture is a constantly ongoing process, and it is essential in preserving commonly held practices and customs, and for establishing and maintaining discipline. In fact, culture can be said to inform and influence the development of society and vice-versa. In any case, both are essential components to the entire human experience.



  • Is constantly changing
  • Refers to a group of people from a common geographical area, or those who have similar cultural and behavioral patterns
  • Is a distinct entity
  • Is comprised of various sections such as government, educational system and industries
  • Is comprised of smaller groups with common concerns
  • May be comprised of several different cultures


  • Always changing as well
  • Responsible for the development of certain segments of society
  • A set of cultural traditions that make one society distinct from another
  • May be a manifestation of a desire to preserve an original, transplanted culture
  • Usually characterized by common behavioral patterns


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