Task 3. Match the terms in the left column with their definition in the right one.

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Task 3. Match the terms in the left column with their definition in the right one.

1. consensus a) the way in which two people or two groups behave

towards each other;

2. pluralism b) most of the people or things in a particular group;

3. power c) the process of looking after someone or something

especially because they are weak, ill, old etc.;

4. ills d) a particular type of character which makes someone

more likely to behave or react in a certain way;

5. majority e) someone who is looking after their children on

their own;

6. capital f) the principle that people of different races, religions

and political beliefs can live together peacefully in

the same society;

7. care g) control of a country;

8. relationship h) money or property, especially when it is used to

start a business or to produce more wealth;

9. lone-parent i) problems and difficulties;

10. disposition j) an opinion that everyone in a group will agree

with or accept.



Task 4. Fill in the blanks with the words from the box below.

1. Democracies fall into two basic …: direct and representatives.

2. You can find a lot of different … in the USA according to the nationality, religious and cultural similarities.

3. Children often suffer from hostile … between their parents after divorce.

4. The controversy between majority and … often leads to the severe problems which can hardly be settled in a short period of time.

5. Very often people join into different … according to their personal or professional interests.

6. In the US there was traditionally high level of participation in … organizations.

7. A lot of people can come to the … after discussing some topical issues if they observe the rules of the political correctness.

8. Most psychologists are worried about the increasing number of … families where parents take care of their children separately.

9. The ideas of … have attracted peoples from the times of the ancient Greece.

10. The … of any society strongly depends on the ideas, principles and political will of its members.


Voluntary, minority, development, categories, lone-parent, communities, democracy, societies, relationships, consensus.



T E X T 1

Pre-reading Activity

Share your opinions with your group mates on the following.

1. What do you understand by the word “society”?

2. Why does each society establish a political system?

3. What are the basic types of government?


Reading Activity

(!) Read the text and say why no individual can be totally independent of other people.

We learn from history that prehistoric man first lived and hunted alone. Later, he realized that he was more successful if he hunted with a group of other men. Eventually, men built their home together, and began to farm the land. These men came together because they had something in common – in this case, hunting and farming – and they found that they could achieve more by helping each other. In this way, first primitive communities were formed. Since then, these communities have expanded and joined together, into villages, towns, cities and nations. The people who live in them have developed a relatively fixed way of life. In the course of time they have evolved their own laws, customs, beliefs and institutions. An organized and permanent group of individuals living together in this way make up a society.

Nowadays, we usually think of societies as national, and even international communities. For example, when we talk of “Western Society” we mean the ways of life of people in Western Europe, in North America, and even in Australia and New Zealand. Within every national society, however, there are many smaller communities, social groups and “societies” in which individuals with common interests live or work or play together.

Everyone today belongs to one or more of these kinds of society. Certainly, no individual can ever be totally independent of other people. Everyone is greatly influenced by the society he lives in: at the same time, the individual person can play a responsible part in the creation and the development of that society.

Before the 18th century, few people ever looked seriously at the make-up of the various social groups in which they lived. Since that time, however, the study of society has developed into the important science of sociology. It is indeed by means of the sociological study of the relationships that exist between the individual and that it is hoped to create a better society in the future.

(“The Individual in Society”

Izolda Geniene, Liongina Miseviciena, 1997)

Post-reading Activity


Task1.Decide which of the statements below are true and which are false. Read aloud the part of the text that you think gives you the answer.

1. The people who live in communities have developed a relatively unstable way of life.

2. Prehistoric man first lived and hunted in a group.

3. An unorganized and nonpermanent group of individuals living together makes up a society.

4. No individual can ever be totally independent of other people.

5. The prehistoric men came together because they had something in common.

6. In a short period of time the people have evolved their own laws, customs, beliefs and institutions.

7. Society is a system in which people live separately in organized communities.

Task 2. Match the words with their definitions. Give your own examples where these terms can be applied.

1. a monarchy a) a system of complete governmental control over all aspects of social and political life in a society;  
2. an oligarchy b) a government in which one person has nearly total power;
3. a dictatorship c) a form of government in which a few individuals rule;
4. totalitarism d) a form of government headed by a single member of a royal family;
5. democracy e) a particular large group of people who share laws, organizations, customs etc.;
6. society f) a government of people;
7. sociology g) the scientific study of societies and the behavior of people in groups.


Task 3. Explain the meaning of the following. Decide if these notions are associated with an individual, a group, a community or a society.

a) an assembly f) crowd

b) a political party g) a protest group

c) the government h) a mob

d) “a pressure group” i) a picket

e) a hooligan j) a ring-leader


Task 4. Comment on the following quotations.

1. Society moves by some degree of parricide, by which the children, on the whole, kill, if not their fathers, at least the beliefs of their fathers, and arrive at new beliefs. This is what progress is. (Men of ideas, BBC TV programme)

2. The good is better than the best, else what does society mean? (Alan Bennett)

3. Our civilization ... has not yet fully recovered from the shock of the birth – the transition from the tribal or “closed society”, with its submission to magical forces, to the “open society” which sets free the critical powers of man. (Sir Karl Popper)

4. I write about violence as naturally as Jane Austene wrote about manners. Violence shares and obsesses our society, and if we do not stop being violent, we have no future. (Edward Bond)

T E X T 2

Pre-reading Activity


1. Can you explain the origin and the meaning of the term “democracy”?

2. What are the most characteristic features of a democratic society to your mind?

3. Having read the text see if your ideas correspond to the given information.

Reading Activity


(!) Read the text and make its outline. Check it with your group mates' samples.



Democracy may be a word familiar to most, but it is a concept still misunderstood and misused in a time when totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships alike have attempted to claim popular support by pinning democratic labels upon themselves. Yet the power of the democratic idea has also evoked some of the history most profound and moving expressions of human will and intellect: from Pericles in Ancient Athens to Vaclav Havel in modern Chechoslovakia, from Thomas Jefferson’ Declaration of Independence in 1776 to Andrey Sakharov’s last speeches in 1989.

In the dictionary definition, democracy “is government by the people in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.” In the phrase of Abraham Lincoln, democracy is a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Freedom and democracy are often used interchangeably, but the two are not synonymous. Democracy is indeed a set of ideas and principles about freedom, but it also consists of a set of practices and procedures that have been molded through a long, often tortuous history. In short, democracy is the institutionalization of freedom. For this reason, it is possible to identify the time-tested fundamentals of constitutional government, human rights and equality before the law that any society must possess to be properly called democratic.

Democracies fall into two basic categories, direct and representative. In a direct democracy, all citizens, without the intermediary of elected or appointed officials, can participate in making public decisions. Such a system is clearly only practical with relatively small numbers of people – in a community organization or tribal council, for example, or the local unit of a labor union, where members can meet in a single room to discuss issues and arrive at decisions by consensus or majority vote. Ancient Athens, the world's first democracy, managed to practice direct democracy with an assembly that may have numbered as many as 5.000 to 6.000 persons – perhaps the maximum number that can physically gather in one place and practice direct democracy.

Modern society, with its size and complexity, offers few opportunities for direct democracy. Even in the northeastern United States, where the New England town meeting is a hallowed tradition, most communities have grown too large for all the residents to gather in a single location and vote directly on issues that affect their lives.

Today the most common form of democracy, whether for a town of 50.000 or nations of 50 million, is representative democracy, in which citizens elect officials to make political decisions, formulate laws and administer programs for the public good. In the name of the people, such officials can deliberate on complex public issues in a thoughtful and systematic manner that requires an investment of time and energy which is often impractical for the vast majority of private citizens.

How such officials are elected can vary enormously. On the national level, for example, legislator can be chosen from districts that each elect a single representative. Alternatively, under a system of proportional representation, each political party is represented in the legislature according to its percentage of the total vote nationwide. Provincial and local elections can mirror these national models, or choose their representatives more informally through group consensus instead of elections. Whatever the method used, public officials in a representative democracy hold office in the name of the people and are accountable to the people for their actions.

Democracy is more than a set of constitutional rules and procedures that determine how a government functions. In a democracy, government is only one element coexisting in a social fabric of many and varied institutions, political parties, organizations and associations. This diversity is called pluralism, and it assumes that the many organized groups and institutions in a democratic society do not depend upon government for their existence, legitimacy or authority.

Thousands of private organizations operate in a democratic society, some local, some national. Many of them serve a mediating role between individuals and the complex social and governmental institutions of which they are a part, filling roles not given to the government and offering individuals opportunities to exercise their rights and responsibilities as citizens of a democracy.

These groups represent the interests of their members in a variety of ways – by supporting candidates for public office, debating issues and trying to influence policy decisions. Through such groups, individuals have an avenue for meaningful participation both in government and in their own communities. The examples are many and varied: charitable organizations and churches, environmental and neighborhood groups, business associations and labor unions.

In an authoritarian society, virtually all such organizations would be controlled, licensed, watched or otherwise accountable to the government. In a democracy, the powers of the government are, by law, clearly defined and sharply limited. As a result, private organizations are free of government control; on the contrary, many of them lobby the government and seek to hold it accountable for its actions. Other groups, concerned with the arts, the practice of religious faith, scholarly research or other interests, may chose to have little or no contact with the government at all.

In this busy private realm of democratic society, citizens can explore the possibilities of freedom and the responsibilities of self-government – unpressured by the potentially heavy hand of the state.

(What is Democracy

US Information Agency, 1997)

Post-reading Activity

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