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A civilization, or civilisation (see spelling differences), is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification, symbolic communication forms (typically, writing systems), and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment by a cultural elite. Civilizations are intimately associated with and often further defined by other socio-politico-economic characteristics, including centralization, the domestication of both humans and other organisms, specialization of labour, culturally ingrained ideologies of progress and supremacism, monumental architecture, taxation, societal dependence upon farming as an agricultural practice, and expansionism.
Historically, a civilization was a so-called "advanced" culture in contrast to more supposedly primitive cultures. In this broad sense, a civilization contrasts with non-centralized tribal societies, including the cultures of nomadic pastoralists, egalitarian horticultural subsistence neolithic societies or hunter-gatherers. As an uncountable noun, civilization also refers to the process of a society developing into a centralized, urbanized, stratified structure.
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