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Individual and society

There is no such thing as society.

There are individual men and

women, and there are families.

Margaret Thatcher

It’s just impossible nowadays to imagine a person living totally isolated. Since early times people have realized that it’s much safer and easier to give and act in groups or communities sharing common interests, traditions, ways of life. Both an individual and society can’t but influence each other. And the more democratic a society is the more guaranteed the rights and freedoms of a person are.

The origins of democratic theory lie in ancient Greek political thought around the fifth century BC. Imagining a continuum running from rule by one person, through rule by a few, to rule by many, at one end is autocracy. At the other end is democracy, which means authority in, or rule by the people. But the ancient Greeks were afraid of democracy – rule of people personifying it with the mob rule, which along side with other reasons had led to the collapse of the first democratic state.

Having worked on the material of this unit you’ll be able to speculate on the problems of relationships within a society, on the symbols and main principles of a democratic government, on the reasons of some isolation of people living in certain communities.

Basic vocabulary terms

bias (n) a tendency to consider one person, group, idea etc. more favourably than others;

community (n) a group of people who share the same nationality or religion or who are similar in another way;

engagement (n) an arrangement to do smth or meet someone;

group (n) a) several people or things that are all together in the same place;

b) several people or things that are connected with each other in some way;

household (n) all the people who live together in one house;

individual (n) one person, considered separately from the rest of the group or society that they live in;

lobby (n) a group of people who try to persuade a government that

a particular law or situation should be changed;

society (n) people in general considered in relation to the structure of laws, organizations etc, that makes it possible for them to live together;

civic (adj) connected with the people who live in a town or city;

voluntary (adj) done willingly and without being forced.

Vocabulary development

Task 1. a) Complete the following word-form chart with the missed information. The first line is an example.

















b) Complete the sentences with the most suitable word.


At the first people live and work … .

individual, individually


Within its historical development the mankind has undergone the stages from an individual through a group, … , to society.

community, communicative


A permanent … is a person who constantly lives in a certain country.

resident, residential


In the representative democracy people … their representatives to the government.

election, elect


The science which deals with the persons relationships within a society is … .

social, sociology


The notions of freedom and … are often used interchangeably.

democratic, democracy


Most of the charity programs are organized on a … basis.

volunteer, voluntary

Task 2. Give synonyms to the following.

freedom delinquency

election resident

government set-up

intermediary association

parenting engagement

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;

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

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

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

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

more likely to behave or react in a certain way;

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

their own;

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

and political beliefs can live together peacefully in

the same society;

      1. care g) control of a country;

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

start a business or to produce more wealth;

      1. lone-parent i) problems and difficulties;

      2. 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.

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