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Before you can begin to create a living, breathing society of your own, you must first understand the various ways societies can function, and how they can vary dramatically from each other. This section will provide a quick crash-course in societies; later in the book, more specific examples of societies on Earth will be provided to compare and contrast.

Societies are classified in a variety of different ways. Anthropologists, for example, classify societies by subsistence strategy. Sociologists take a broader approach, placing them into one of three categories: pre-industrial, industrial, or post-industrial.

Generally, societies start as hunter-gatherers and later evolve to be more complex.