I'm looking for a word that means a strongly or weakly connected network of groups/societies. These societies can choose to be in communication or may not. The point is that a society or group is generally understood to be a somewhat cohesive and communicative whole whereas groups in this broader network have to be somewhat intentional about beginning communication with one another.
Kind of like "the world," but I'm looking for something that references the social fabric itself a little bit more than "the world."
I'm a native English speaker but I'm having trouble coming up with a word for this. Hopefully something that will be obvious to me when I think of it, and not something that sounds scientific.