Society is a system of social interaction that includes both culture and social organization. Society includes social institutions, or established organized social behavior, and exists for a recognized purpose;social structure is the patterned relationships within a society. Two other forms of social organization also contribute to the cohesion of a society: gemeinschaft a "community," characterized by cohesion based on friendships and loyalties and gesellschaft a "society," characterized by cohesion based on complexity and differentiation.
Societies across the globe vary in type, as determined mainly by the complexity of their social structures, their division of labor, and their technologies. From least to most complex, they are foraging, pastoral, horticultural, agricultural, industrial, and postindustrial societies.
All forms of social interaction in society are shaped by the structure of its social institutions. A group is a collection of individuals who interact and communicate with each other, share goals and norms, and have a subjective awareness of themselves as a distinct social unit. Status is a hierarchical position in a structure; a role is the expected behavior associated with a particular status. A role is the behavior others expect from a person associated with a particular status. Patterns of social interaction influence nonverbal interaction as well as patterns of attraction and affiliation.
Social interaction takes place in society within the context of social structure and social institutions. Social interaction is analyzed in several ways, including the social construction of reality where we impose meaning and reality on our interactions with others; ethnomethodology which is deliberate interruption of interaction to observe how a return to normal interaction is accomplished; impression management of a person "gives off" a particular impression to "con" the other and achieve certain goals, as in cyberspace interaction; and social exchange and game theory where one engages in game like reward and punishment interactions to achieve one's goals.
Increasingly, people engage with each other through cyberspace interaction. Social norms develop in cyberspace as they do in face-to-face interaction, but a person in cyberspace can also manipulate the impression that he or she gives off, thus creating a new virtual self.