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To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities.


Societies are a manifestation of collective human behaviors. Since cities comprise of millions of people living and working together, the most important characteristics of societies are represented in these places. Three main features are characteristic of any society: its economic, social and religious landscapes. 

First, the economic model of a society is deeply rooted in the cities people live in. The five $0.99 stores, seven Starbucks, four Walgreen pharmacies and a superstore called Kroger that has everything from organic vegetables to toilet paper are all located in a two mile radius of Elmwood, Chicago. They are a representation of Capitalism and its free market ideology, where competition between companies is encouraged. In contrast, the rationing of food in downtown Havana, Cuba by government officials is a sharp contrast to Chicago. Here, the ideology of socialism that is embedded into the social psyche of the population has been Cuba one of the last remaining vestiges of socialism on the globe. Here, competition among companies is frowned upon. Such economic models define how cities are built and are a reflection of the societies that live in them. 

Moreover, the economic philosophies of societies closely mandate the social models of nations. Stockholm, Sweden has a world class healthcare policy that is mandated by the government to be free to all its citizens. Diagnostics in every hospital in the capital is free of charge and companies are required by law to provide women with paid leave during pregnancy. The huge safety net is in part a reflection of the strong familial ties in tradition within swedish families. This is in contrast to the small social safety net in Detroit, Michagan, where the ideas of American individualism is still flourishing. This shows how social structures that are ingrained in societies carry on to city policies.

Third, the spiritual models of cities are also a reflection of their societal structures. For example, the Ganapati Puja is a widely revered pagan festival in Mumbai, India where the elephant god is worshipped for protecting the soul from evil spirits. This translates to work life, where the God Ganapati is prayed upon before any business deal goes through. This is in sharp contrast to the practice of Shitoism in Japan, where people do not have a worship to a pagan god, but have a deep loyalty and respect to their ancestors. At work, senior management and the older generation areheld with deep respect. This again is a reflection of how societies manifest their features in cities.

In conclusion, many important features in society carry forward to cities since cities are where people live in and therefore, display their behaviors and lifestyles. 

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Keep in mind that the prompts for the issue essay differ and ask for you to either address a counterargument or the conditions/circumstances under which your position would vary. Your essay does not respond to this aspect of the prompt instructions. Moreover, your second body paragraph really does not present a very strong point in support of your thesis.


Your essay would demonstrate stronger critical thinking skills/insight if you were to qualify your thesis and acknowledge that what are considered "the most important characteristics" of a society is relative and varies. Major cities can't convey the traditions and folk customs of a society, or even necessarily the diversity of American society. For some individuals these might be the most important characteristics.

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