The word civilization refers to a condition of relative advancement in human society and culture.
While there is no essential threshold at which point a society becomes "civilized" (civilization is probably best thought of as a complex continuum rather than a binary of "haves" and "have nots"), a civilized society is usually "marked by progress in the arts and sciences, the extensive use of writing, and the appearance of complex political and social institutions" (American Heritage English Dictionary). Civilization and culture: Culture precedes civilization. A human society will have distinct meaning systems, including language and religious systems, before these systems become institutionalized politically and socially. However, the fact that a society becomes progressively more "civilized" does not diminish the role of culture; the institutions of civilization continue to play a major role in cultural meaning systems and in the process of cultural reproduction.