To understand the most important characteristics of a society, one must study its major cities
Major cities are often considered as the center of art, science, politics and civilization of a country. It is true that these major cities can reflect some of the characteristics of a society, thanks to its large population from different kinds of backgrounds, numerous landmarks, colourful activities and so on. For instance, if you want to learn about the hustle and bustle life of the new generation in IT industry, it will be a helpful idea to observe the major cities. Additionally, major cities are perfect for those who are interested in the development of services. Nevertheless, it is certainly not fair to simply assume that the most important characteristics of a society can be understood by only exploring these major cities.
It is of no doubt that there are countless giant differences between the poorest village and the most modern city in the same country or region. Take education as an example, the gap between rural area and cities can be huge because of lots of factors such as teachers' teaching experience, equipments of schools, even thoughts and ideas. It is highly possible to come to a false conclusion that the society has reached a well-developed education system if someone only study its major cities. The average level of education development in the country can be much lower than that in the major cities. Therefore, I strongly advocate that the imbalance between rural area and cities can never be neglected while studying the most important characteristics of a society.
Moreover, cities of different scale might have disparate situations beyond one's imagination. They might differ in history, culture and living habits, thus result in many different characteristics. Take Shanghai and Suzhou in China as an example. Shanghai is the economic center of China for many years and Suzhou is a rising star near it. Developments in Shanghai started much earlier than in Suzhou and thus makes Shanghai a much more international city. Meanwhile, the rapid development of Shanghai also causes this place overcrowed, a little dirty and noisy. Suzhou, on the other hand, learned from those modern cities and found its own way of development which is more environment friendly and high-tech. Now it is hard to tell which of the cities can better represent the newest trend of urban development in China. There're seven billion people in the world that you can not find a single person exactly the same as another, and you can never describe all of them by only studying an unrepresentative sample. So are the cities.
Studying important characteristics of a society can be a significantly hard and time-consuming job. Sometimes a man can spend his entire life on it but still doesn't think of his work as accurate. Even understanding only one single city can take years of work and involving because only though becoming one part of the city and building a life there can someone truly get to know the real appearance of the city.
Important characteristics of a society should be concluded with careful observation and an open mind. Otherwise, the conclusion will be not convincing and efforts devoted to this study will be meaningless. It is of great importance to bear in mind the diversity of a society while studying a country, and neither rural area nor some cities can represent the whole society.