People live in collective co-existence, no matter how much they engage – or not – with one another. Society is the largest social entity we belong to: it is the world we live in.
Individuals occupy particular roles in society. One’s roles are defined in relation to the roles of others. The more knowledge we have about the social roles relevant to a situation, the better we can respond to a particular interaction.
At the same time, it is interaction that shapes our very understanding of society, and this understanding becomes our reality.
Society can be studied top-down as well bottom-up – both approaches are complementary, Because we, as individuals, are neither entirely subjected to society, nor are we completely free from its structures. According to the matter at hand, it is crucial to know which kind of dynamics are relevant to a certain situation.
Ideally, society is experienced as providing stability and protection as well as room for positive identification and autonomy.