Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Question

How are villages, towns and cities distinguished from each other ?

Answer
Distinguish among a village, town and city :

1. Village : From a sociological point of view villages emerged as part of the major changes in social structure brought about by the transition from nomadic ways of life based on hunting, gathering food and transient agriculture to a more settled form of life. With the development of sedentary forms of agriculture — or forms that did not involve moving from place to place — social structure also changed. Investment in land and technological innovations in agriculture created the possibility of producing a surplus -something over and above what was needed for survival. Thus, settled agriculture meant that wealth could be accumulated and this also brought with its social differences. The more advanced division of labour also created the need for occupational specialisation. All of these changes together shaped the emergence of the village as a population settlement based on a particular form of social organisation.

2. Distinction between rural and urban settlement : The distinction between rural and urban settlements is usually made on the basis of two major factors : population density and the proportion of agriculture related economic activities. (Contrary to appearances, size is not always decisive; it becomes difficult to seperate large villages and small towns on the basis of population size alone.) Thus, cities and towns have a much higher density of population — or the number of persons per unit area, such as a square km — than villages. Although they are smaller in terms of absolute numbers of people, villages are spread out over a relatively larger area. Villages are also distinguished from towns and cities by the larger share of agricultural activities in their economic profile. In other words, villages will have a significant proportion of its population engaged in agriculture linked occupations, much of what is produced there will be agricultural products, and most of its income will be from agriculture.

3. Town and city : The distinction between a town and a city is much more a matter of administrative definition. A town and a city are basically the same sort of settlement, differentiated by size. An ‘urban agglomeration’ (a term used in Census and official reports) refers to a city along with its surrounding sub-urban areas and satellite settlements. A ‘metropolitan area’ includes more than one city, or a continous urban settlement many times the size of a single city.

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