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Agrarian Societies -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Newton, Heather;

2009 / EBSCO


The following describes the rise of agrarian societies and describes the dominant characteristics of agrarian societies, the challenges they have faced in their development and modern offshoots of early agrarian communities. The social organization of agrarian civilization is generally marked by organized communities and clear distinctions in gender, class and status. These social characteristics that developed as agrarian societies flourished continue to shape our modern culture, and this article will explain this phenomenon. Agrarian societies introduced the concept of land ownership, which had a profound impact on the distribution of wealth and power. In addition, agrarian societies frequently supplement their economic means through the creation and distribution of handmade products, goods and even services. Although agrarian societies were often stable enough to develop into economically viable communities, the process of domesticating, cultivating and harvesting plants is extremely labor intensive. Thus, agrarian societies turned to the development of technology, crafts and skills to ease the workload and to generate supplemental income. Finally, this article discusses some of the ways that agrarian societies interact with the world around them such as the depletion of soil minerals, the alteration of plant species through artificial selection and the contamination of natural resources through overuse of pesticides.