You may not use theory to understand your reality, but theory certainly uses you. Whether you are a teacher, principle, lecturer, student or simply curious, in this short EDDi section Dr Stephen Whitehead will answer common questions related to sociological theory.
All of his answers were originally published on Quora*. We offer these answers on EDDi in the hope you acquire some sociological insights into the 21st century.
Treat these articles as a healthy, and heavier, counter-point to all the lighter fluff which gets posted on social media.
Question: What is the relationship between culture, society and politics?
This is a massive question that cannot be fully answered other than in a book.
But I’ll try.
The first thing that humans do when they connect with each other, in whatever environment, under whatever circumstances, and for whatever reason, is to begin to create a (mini)culture. Over time this culture deepens, strengthens, gets passed on to future generations and so becomes directly connected to the individual’s sense of who they are. Reinforced by intimate relations (e.g. families) so emerges the beginnings of a society. This has been the pattern of human life since at least homo sapiens and very probably before then.
So the basic and arguably most natural form of human existence is not isolation but community (starting with family). Communities have cultures (not least language), communities eventually merge and become societies. But societies need organisation, they need provisions, they need to develop and adapt, they need safety, they need protection. Societies need leaders. And so we have politics.
Since 2017, Dr Stephen Whitehead has answered over 10,500 Quora questions, mostly on relationships, education, sociology, life and living, and philosophy. To date, his answers have received approximately 3.2 million views increasing at the rate 60,000 views a month. He has nearly 1,000 followers.
Stephen’s latest book ‘Total Inclusivity At Work’ is available for pre-order HERE.
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