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.

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    In social anthropology, a sodality is a non-kin group organized for a specific purpose (economic, cultural, or other), and frequently spanning villages or towns. – DJohnson Jun 18 '18 at 12:00
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    What is wrong somehow qualifying these networks? Also, is this social anthropology? Or business? Or what? – Lambie Aug 17 '18 at 17:19

As in:

Our affiliates are groups/societies etc ...

Our affiliation is composed of etc ...

affiliation TFD affiliate
v. affiliated, affiliating, affiliates

person, organization, or establishment associated with another as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member: network affiliates.


I am not sure that it's possible to come up with a single word that means what you're looking for. Whatever word I've looked at hasn't seemed appropriate.

I think the single word network, which you already use in your question, is the best at expressing a loose connection between groups (and individuals). But it would need to be qualified.

As such, a three-word phrase could be global social network.

Something else I pondered briefly was social ecosystem, but it has the kind of scientific ring to it that you are trying to avoid and also doesn't encompass the world.

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