Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe

By Traian Stoianovich | Go to book overview

4

SOCIETY

A society is a group of communities with a common network of interdependent systems for the management of social strains and solidarities. Every society has its own way of organizing interpersonal and intergroup relationships so that the members of the society are in regular, if generally indirect, communication with each other at several different levels of life—religion, art, play, production, consumption, education, and exchange. In addition, every society has its own set of social structures.

Social structure refers not to the particular parts of a society, or to the role- players, but to the wholes that remain much the same for decades and even centuries in spite of the fact that the players constantly change. Class structure, patterns of consumption, patterns of exchange, and other structural complexes identify functional rather than organizational aspects of society. Behind the functions or social structures, and woven into them, are a society's fundamental values. Ordinarily, therefore, structural change is taboo.

Societies, however, always remain in a precarious equilibrium. Fields of structural solidarity, they are also fields of structural strain and stress. For, at a potential level, they allow the existence of variant social structures. Under certain conditions, a struggle may ensue between the defenders of the dominant structures and the role-players who identify with the variant patterns. When several structures change simultaneously, the change is said to be a revolution.

Structural change and ethnic change are the themes of the present chapter. After dealing with the problem of ethnic change or almost total transformation of roles and partial transformation of structures, especially linguistic, we shall examine the Balkans as a general field of structural solidarities and tensions.


Ethnogenesis

Speakers of various Indo-European or proto-Indo-European languages, as well as representatives of earlier non-Indo-European linguistic groups, may have been present in the Balkans since at least the fourth millennium B. C. The ethnic or linguistic affiliation of the inhabitants can be identified with limited assurance, however, only since 2000 B. C. At that time, the main ethnic or linguistic groups

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Balkan Worlds: The First and Last Europe
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Balkan Worlds - The First and Last Europe *
  • Contents *
  • List of Tables xi
  • List of Maps and Diagrams xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One *
  • 1 - Earth Culture 7
  • 2 - Biotechnics and Social Biology 47
  • 3 - Technology 69
  • 4 - Society 120
  • 5 - Economy 186
  • 6 - Personality and Culture 235
  • Part Two *
  • 7 - The Liberties and Constraints of Culture 267
  • 8 - The Interacting Population Systems 318
  • Bibliography 359
  • Index 421
  • About the Author 433
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