Industrial society

Industrial society

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In sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 to enable mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

, supporting a large population
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 with a high capacity for division of labour
Division of labour
Division of labour is the specialisation of cooperative labour in specific, circumscribed tasks and likeroles. Historically an increasingly complex division of labour is closely associated with the growth of total output and trade, the rise of capitalism, and of the complexity of industrialisation...

. Such a structure developed in the west
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, and replaced the agrarian societies
Agrarian society
An agrarian society is a society that depends on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance. The society acknowledges other means of livelihood and work habits but stresses the importance of agriculture and farming, and was the most common form of socio-economic oganization for...

 of the Pre-modern, Pre-industrial
Pre-industrial society
Pre-industrial society refers to specific social attributes and forms of political and cultural organization that were prevalent before the advent of the Industrial Revolution. It is followed by the industrial society....

 age. Industrial societies are generally mass societies
Mass society
Mass society is a description associated with society in the modern, industrial era. "Guided by the structural-functional approach and drawing on the ideas of Tönnies, Durkheim, and Weber, understands modernity as the emergence of a mass society...

, and may be succeeded by an Information society
Information society
The aim of the information society is to gain competitive advantage internationally through using IT in a creative and productive way. An information society is a society in which the creation, distribution, diffusion, use, integration and manipulation of information is a significant economic,...

. They are often contrasted to with the traditional societies
Traditional society
In sociology, traditional society refers to a society characterized by lack of distinction between family and business, division of labor influenced primarily by age, gender, and status, high position of custom in the system of values, self-sufficiency, preference to saving and accumulation of...

.

Industrial society is characterized by the use of external energy sources, such as fossil fuels, to increase the rate and scale of production. The production of food is shifted to large commercial farms where the products of industry, such as combine harvesters and fossil fuel based fertilizers, are used to decrease required human labor while increasing production. No longer needed for the production of food, excess labor is moved into these factories where mechanization
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

 is utilized to further increase efficiency. As populations grow, and mechanization
Mechanization
Mechanization or mechanisation is providing human operators with machinery that assists them with the muscular requirements of work or displaces muscular work. In some fields, mechanization includes the use of hand tools...

 is further refined, often to the level of automation
Automation
Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. In the scope of industrialization, automation is a step beyond mechanization...

, many workers shift to expanding service industries.

Industrial society makes urbanization
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 desirable, in part so that workers can be closer to centers of production, and the service industry can provide labor to workers and those that benefit financially from them, in exchange for a piece of production profits with which they can buy goods. This leads to the rise of very large cities and surrounding suburban areas with a high rate of economic activity.

These urban centers require the input of external energy sources in order to overcome the diminishing returns
Diminishing returns
In economics, diminishing returns is the decrease in the marginal output of a production process as the amount of a single factor of production is increased, while the amounts of all other factors of production stay constant.The law of diminishing returns In economics, diminishing returns (also...

 of agricultural consolidation, due partially to the lack of nearby arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

, associated transportation and storage costs, and are otherwise unsustainable. This makes the reliable availability of the needed energy resources high priority in industrial government policies.

Some theoreticians—namely Ulrich Beck
Ulrich Beck
Ulrich Beck is a German sociologist who holds a professorship at Munich University and at the London School of Economics.-Life:...

, Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens
Anthony Giddens, Baron Giddens is a British sociologist who is known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. He is considered to be one of the most prominent modern contributors in the field of sociology, the author of at least 34 books, published in at least 29...

 and Manuel Castells
Manuel Castells
Manuel Castells is a sociologist especially associated with information society and communication research....

 -- argue that we are located in the middle of a transformation or transition from industrial societies to post-modern
Postmodernity
Postmodernity is generally used to describe the economic or cultural state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity...

 societies. The triggering technology for the change from an agricultural to an industrial organisation was steam power, allowing mass production
Mass production
Mass production is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines...

 and reducing the agricultural work necessary. Thus many industrial cities are built around rivers. Identified as catalyst or trigger for the transition to post-modern or informational society is global information technology
Information technology
Information technology is the acquisition, processing, storage and dissemination of vocal, pictorial, textual and numerical information by a microelectronics-based combination of computing and telecommunications...

.

See also

  • Industrial (disambiguation)
  • Industry
    Industry
    Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

  • Industrial Revolution
    Industrial Revolution
    The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

  • Reindustrialization
    Reindustrialization
    Reindustrialization is the economic, social, and political process of organizing national resources for the purpose of re-establishing deteriorated industries or change declining or contaminant industries to emerging or cleaner ones. The process often proceeds as a result of a need to reinvigorate...

  • Renewable-energy society