1. Elliott and Merrill “Social organization is a state of being, a condition, in which the various institutions, in a society are functioning in accordance with their recognized or implied purposes.”

2. M.E. Jones, “Social organization is a system by which the parts of society are related to each other and to the whole society in a meaningful way.”

3. Ralph Piddington, “The most important bases of social organization are sex, age, kinship, locality, social status, political power, occupation, religion and magic totemism and voluntary associations.” These factors are particularly observed in primitive social structure. However, distinctions may be observed in different primitive societies about these traits.

Primitive Social Organisation


M J. Herskovits has classified the social classes into those based upon kinship and those not connected with kinship system. In the primitive society the family is the unit of social organization. Most of he needs of males and females are fulfilled in the family. These families again, may be of different types such as nuclear family, joint family, matriarchal and patriarchal family, etc.

After the family, the next unit of the social organization is the clan. Clan is the group of people considering themselves descending from a common ancestor. Like family the clan is also based upon kinship organization. Besides the clan, the primitive social organization includes what is known as phratry and dual organization, etc. Again, another important part of primitive social organization is totem groups based upon totemism.

Totemism is the belief according to which members of a clan are related to some natural object, tree, plant or animal in some super natural way. Therefore, the members of the clan express similar faith towards the object of totem.

This commonness increases ‘we consciousness’ among the members of a clan. In the social organization the main elements are status and role, class system and other institutions and associations.