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In practice, historians who don't mind seeing their work unpublished by the Imperian Inquisition (unpublication used to be much more of a threat than it is now) divide star systems and individual worlds into 5 categories, based on how integrated with the greater galactic culture they are. Note that "world", in sociology, may refer to either a planet or the star system whose cultural center is that planet. Since most systems only harbor one planet that is habitable without life support, the distinction is only made in the rare cases when there is more than one. "World" can also mean the primary population center in a system that does not have a habitable planet but, for example, houses large construction complexes in asteroid belts.

High-integration worlds comprise a narrow plurality of the worlds of the old Empire, and the primary worlds of the various breakaway states, simply due to the volume of commerce and business travel that ends to happen between them. For example, it's not uncommon for a Trenzalorian to know more about the news from Neotrantor a full twenty kly away than on the happenings of the worlds that provide the industrial world with its daily bread.

Medium-integration worlds are present in the Empire's periphery and constitute the majority of worlds in the breakaway states; there culture can diverge significantly from the average (for example, one religion may be dominant, or religions may be prohibited altogether) while remaining aware of what the greater galactic society is. Interstellar travel isn't common, and finding spare parts for high-end starships would be difficult or require local fabrication, but some MI worlds are hotbeds of innovation. Local politics tend to be robust and rowdy, and there are often plenty of opportunities for freelance police and the like.

Low-integration worlds are uncommon but present in the Empire, usually being worlds that have suffered catastrophes (Hame is the textbook example) or aren't considered strategically important beyond requiring a token of allegiance and a small levy; low-integration worlds outside the Empire tend to be agricultural or mining backwaters, but may also be places that have developed a complex and variant culture but have no interest in exporting it past their home planet or solar system (The Kerbol system is, again, a textbook example of this). In general, interstellar travel isn't so much unavailable as considered not very worth it, with some worlds only seeing a large liner a dozen times per standard years.

Sporadic-integration worlds see fewer than two dozen starships per standard year; some have even reverted to pre-spacefaring cultural mores (At the extreme end, the Kanstuckians have determined that space travelers who use GGG drives are in fact demons due to their violation of canonized Newtonian physics: caution is advised if intending to visit).

Unintegrated worlds are either uninhabited or sparsely habited, unknown to the Imperial cartographers, or scourged during the Damnatio Memoriae. A dedicated space explorer may yet find an unknown but inhabited world, with uncontacted tribes living there, over the course of their lifetimes.

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