What is Pre-Modern Society?

What is Pre-Modern Society?

In pre-modern civilization, the population was relatively reduced as compared to the other two social orders. The reason for this is mostly a result of a nomadic lifestyle and communal living that thrived within a small group of people.


The human race has, indeed, run a race to evolve beyond a definite social cognizance of growth and development. From the time of cave arts, the Ice Age (Upper Paleolithic) which detailed the use of elementary stone tools for survival, there has been an upward trail towards the forming of new societies. Human history has consistently subscribed to the theories of evolution through which it has built innovative ways to adjure the path from whence it stems from. This takes the form of sub-conscious labelling of past societies as “primitive” or “outdated” thereby inundating the capacity of future generations to learn from the past. This brings to fore the vitality in the knowledge of pre-modern society.


The function of social order is to give its inhabitants a structural advantage for the creation of identity, culture, family, beliefs, and art, among other societal tentacles. Moreover, order implies serenity and this forges the foundation for the laying of development.

The concept of social order has been divided into three segments namely: the Pre-modern, the Modern and the Post-modern societies. While the other two involve various faces of innovation, a pre-modern society is labelled as a point in man’s social advancement where he was most ‘primitive’. It is commonly itemized as the point before modernism. An academic definition puts it as a period in the human evolution phase that immersed the societal designs prevalent before industrial development. This appears in the form of social isolation from the nuances of technology.


To understand the operation of such a society, it is important to note the features, that make up its building blocks. This is so, given the need to stimulate the mind towards the innate practices of a man’s world. In a pre-modern society, a distinct feature was the size of its population. The population has been termed as the total number of people living in any place. Typically, the chart of a society’s population makes up the socio-cultural growth or otherwise of that environment. In pre-modern civilization, the population was relatively reduced as compared to the other two social orders. The reason for this is mostly a result of a nomadic lifestyle and communal living that thrived within a small group of people. This feature morphed into a system of cultural oneness and orientation because of the potency of cultural distribution amongst a small community. From this came comfortable ease, utilized in driving the undisputable goal of cultural awareness. An even distribution of such knowledge utilized the family system and social existence that made the responsibility of a child’s upbringing, the duty of an extended family and the community.

This close-knitted homogeny flourished in a geographical topography that was known to be very small. Usually, it functioned within a trifling area of land that dispensed values and the principle of oneness. It occasioned relative tranquillity and neighbourliness, which pushed for laxity in crime and other social vices. In addition, the economic strata were a system of division of labour. Agricultural labour was divided not because of laziness on the part of the originators of such labour, but because of the consciousness to see everyone partake in the community’s wealth. Hence, it was a common sight to witness a family ploughing the farming area of another to share in the upcoming harvest. This was inevitable considering the propensity of individuals to possess tight links to one another. From this stemmed a oneness, made up of the circulation of societal beliefs and religion.

Given this, the incidence of diversity was non-existent following an organized mode of living, imbued with ancient traditions and mono-diversity. This brought about a singular language, mode of dressing, traditions, art, and festivals, marriage and burial practices, beliefs alongside a concise legal framework. The law was largely a summation of ancient practices and traditions influenced by conventions than unconscionability. Following this was a pattern of rigidity, making up a series of harsh laws that were responsive to a plethora of offences. This took the form of stoning, caning, hanging, ostracism, and banishment. This form of legal implementation was mostly termed the “trial by ordeal” that required the accused to pass through a laid down string of events to prove his/her innocence.

During this period, the male gender created, adjudicated and implemented the law. What was manifest in this time was the offshoot of a patriarchal system that potentially subsumed the rights of the women, as they had no vote in the making of policies, rules, and regulations. Such a system placed the feminine gender at a vantage point behind the male, thereby producing the beginning of female exploitation and cultural oppression. The effect of this practice on society was a birth of inequality in the economic, social and legal vibrancy of the society, which spilt into the succeeding generations. The presence of isolation and enlightenment further fueled this trend.

Above all, was the absence of technology. The procedure that this took was the lack of mechanized tools for the production of food, construction of homes and various notable infrastructures, transportation, communication and/or a concise movement in development. Yet this presumed trait failed to stall the pre-modern society from covert innovation. Survival was bent on the use of natural objects that were laid around in the environment. This has been said to pioneer the coming of the Stone Age that characterized tools and weapons carved from stones. Concurrently, this action created new ways to make living loftier and built a general state of contentment.

Structural and societal growth is prejudiced by man’s need to surpass his subsisting standing in the evolution chain. When this need is quenched, there is always a change in the socio-cultural nature of the environment, with the residues of the old age left in the whims of time. However, with knowledge comes an awareness, capable of teaching new lessons. These lessons filter into the succeeding individuals and aim to educate them on how to act not for the prevention of regression.

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