Superphysics Superphysics
Chapter 1b

What is a Society, Nation, and State?

by Juan Icon
1 minutes  • 164 words
Table of contents


‘Society’ comes from the Latin socius which means companion which is an abstract term.


‘Nation’ comes from the Latin natus which refers to birth. Thus, a nation can have two meaning:

  1. The place where a person was born – this leads to nationality
  2. The ethnicity of the person at birth – this leads to ‘Cherokee nation’ if one’s parents are both Cherokee


A state is a formalized society that is non-arbitrary.

Its opposites are kingdoms, tribes, and nations, which are arbitrary.

Unlike a nation that has physical attributes such as a place of birth and race of parents, a state is an abstract idea.

A state has derivative ideas:

  • A nation-state is a collection of tribes that has evolved to govern itself.
  • A city-state is a city that has defined its society.

A state can merge with other states and become a United States or European Union, or split up like former Soviet states. The next evolution is the global state.

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