Agrarian society

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The agrarian society is a pre-modern society with a high proportion of workers in farming as the primary sector .


The agricultural society replaced the hunter-gatherer communities and first came into being around 9,500 BC. With the invention of systematic plant cultivation. The domestication of useful plants and around 8,500 to 8,000 BC The animals were so advanced that the people mostly organized their work as farmers or ranchers. Since the members of the agricultural society, with the exception of the pastoral peoples , are mostly sedentary because of the cultivation of the soil, larger stocks of material goods can be gathered and established. In early agrarian society, the idea of land ownership, which would change society, probably developed gradually .

Carel van Schaik and Kai Michel write for example:

“Agriculture required that certain things no longer belong to everyone. How can you harvest something if everyone has something to eat beforehand? […] Establishing the new property concept […] required an enormous intellectual effort, the idea that there should now be things that belonged to individuals in a community. […] With settling down one of the fundamental laws of human coexistence was undermined, one that had been an everyday commandment for half an eternity: Food must be shared! [...] Here an everyday, vital act - collecting fruit - is not only prohibited; it is criminalized. [...] "

- Carel van Schaik and Kai Michel

Despite the obvious conclusions, this property theory cannot be proven either. It remains open when and in what context property actually achieved the high esteem it enjoys today.

All European societies between the Neolithic Revolution and the Industrial Revolution were agrarian societies; H. the small and few cities were each embedded in a larger agrarian environment that supplied them with food . The transformation of these agricultural societies into industrial societies took place, among other things, through the industrialization of agriculture.

With the use of machines and chemical fertilizers, every agricultural operation was able to produce many times more products than was necessary for the supply of the people working in this operation, mostly family members. This, with the frequent accompaniment of massive misery , freed workers for industry .

In the European Middle Ages , a feudal system developed within agricultural societies.


All modern societies were agrarian societies, later transformed into industrial societies only to become service societies in the course of time . This historical process is called the three-sector hypothesis . He states that "the main share of employment and economic value creation takes place in the eponymous sector."

The agrarian society stands out from the industrial and service society by a low division of labor , strong self-sufficiency and low commuting of the employees. The people here often live in large families . Leisure and working hours often merge. The majority of the population is engaged in the production of agricultural products. The birth and death rates are both high. Coexistence is often shaped by a common religion, old manners, customs, traditions and habits.

The agricultural products manufactured with little or no mechanical use are primarily used for self-sufficiency. There is little trade in agricultural products, so that the majority of the population is employed in agricultural production.


The industrialized cities and centers in the Third World are still mostly surrounded by agriculturally dominated areas. This resulted in numerous societal and social problems. For example, socialization in the country is fundamentally different from socialization in an industrialized city. This often leads to the social and political division of societies in rural and urban populations.


  1. ^ Karl-Heinz Hillmann : Dictionary of Sociology (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 410). 5th, completely revised and enlarged edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-520-41005-4 , p. 12f. (Chapter: Agricultural Society).
  2. Carel van Schaik, Kai Michel: The diary of humanity. What the Bible says about our evolution. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2016, pp. 64 ff, ISBN 978-3-498-06216-3 .
  3. ^ Ditmar Brock : Industrial revolution and modern industrial society. Wiesbaden 2011, p. 280.
  4. ^ Karl-Heinz Hillmann: Dictionary of Sociology (= Kröner's pocket edition. Volume 410). 5th, completely revised and enlarged edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-520-41005-4 , p. 12 (Chapter: Agricultural Society).