Social organisms, including human(s), live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary or not.
The word "social" derives from the Latin word ''socii'' ("allies"). It is particularly derived from the Italian ''
The ''socii'' ( in English) or ''foederati'' ( in English) were confederates of Rome and formed one of the three legal denominations in Roman Italy (''Italia'') along with the Roman citizens (''Cives'') and the ''Latini''. The ''Latini'', who w ...
'' states, historical allies of the
The Roman Republic ( la, Res publica Romana ) was a form of government of Rome and the era of the classical Roman civilization when it was run through public representation of the Roman people. Beginning with the overthrow of the Roman K ...
(although they rebelled against Rome in the Social War of 91–87 BC
In the view of
Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His best-known titles are the 1848 ... [Morrison, Ken. ''Marx, Durkheim, Weber. Formations of modern social thought'']
, human beings are intrinsically, necessarily and by definition social beings who, beyond being "gregarious creatures", cannot survive and meet their needs other than through social co-operation and association. Their social characteristics are therefore to a large extent an objectively given fact, stamped on them from birth and affirmed by socialization
processes; and, according to Marx, in producing and reproducing their material life, people must necessarily enter into relations of production
which are "independent of their will".
By contrast, the sociologist
Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German sociologist, historian, jurist and political economist, who is regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of modern Western society. His ideas p ... [ for example defines human action as "social" if, by virtue of the subjective meanings attached to the action by individuals, it "takes account of the behavior of others, and is thereby oriented in its course".
The term "
Socialism is a left-wing economic philosophy and movement encompassing a range of economic systems characterized by the dominance of social ownership of the means of production as opposed to private ownership. As a term, it describes the e ...", used from the 1830s onwards in France
France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ... and the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and No ..., was directly related to what was called the social question. In essence, early socialists contended that the emergence of competitive market societies did not create "liberty, equality and fraternity" for all citizens, requiring the intervention of politics
Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status. The branch of social science that studie ... and social reform to tackle social problems, injustices and grievances (a topic on which Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, ; 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) was a Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment throughout Europe, as well as aspects of the French Rev ... discourses at length in his classic work '' The Social Contract''). Originally the term "socialist" was often used interchangeably with " co-operative
A cooperative (also known as co-operative, co-op, or coop) is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-control ...", " mutualist", " associationist" and " collectivist" in reference to the organization of economic enterprise socialists advocated, in contrast to the private enterprise and corporate organizational structures inherent to capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, price system, private pr ....
The modern concept of socialism evolved in response to the development of industrial capitalism. The "social" in modern "socialism" came to refer to the specific perspective and understanding socialists had of the development of material, economic forces and determinants of human behavior in society. Specifically, it denoted the perspective that human behavior
Human behavior is the potential and expressed capacity ( mentally, physically, and socially) of human individuals or groups to respond to internal and external stimuli throughout their life. Kagan, Jerome, Marc H. Bornstein, and Richard ... is largely determined by a person's immediate social environment
The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture that the individual was educate ..., that modes of social organization were not supernatural
Supernatural refers to phenomena or entities that are beyond the laws of nature. The term is derived from Medieval Latin , from Latin (above, beyond, or outside of) + (nature) Though the corollary term "nature", has had multiple meanings si ... or metaphysical constructs but products of the social system and social environment, which were in turn products of the level of technology/mode of production (the material world), and were therefore constantly changing. Social and economic systems were thus not the product of innate human nature, but of the underlying form of economic organization and level of technology in a given society, implying that human social relations and incentive-structures would also change as social relations and social organization changes in response to improvements in technology and evolving material forces ( relations of production). This perspective formed the bulk of the foundation for Karl Marx's materialist conception of history.
In contemporary society, "social" often refers to the redistributive policies of the government which aim to apply resources in the public interest, for example, social security. Policy concerns then include the problems of social exclusion and
Group cohesiveness (also called group cohesion and social cohesion) arises when bonds link members of a social group to one another and to the group as a whole. Although cohesion is a multi-faceted process, it can be broken down into four main c .... Here, "social" contrasts with " private" and to the distinction between the public and the private (or privatised) spheres, where ownership relations define access to resources and attention.
The social domain is often also contrasted with that of physical nature, but in sociobiology analogies are drawn between humans
Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex brain. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, culture, ... and other living species in order to explain social behavior
Social behavior is behavior among two or more organisms within the same species, and encompasses any behavior in which one member affects the other. This is due to an interaction among those members. Social behavior can be seen as similar to a ... in terms of biological
Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary i ... factors.
Social media are interactive media technologies that facilitate the creation and sharing of information, ideas, interests, and other forms of expression through virtual communities and networks. While challenges to the definition of ''social me ...
Sociology is a social science that focuses on society, human social behavior, patterns of social relationships, social interaction, and aspects of culture associated with everyday life. It uses various methods of empirical investigation and ...
* Social networking service
A social networking service or SNS (sometimes called a social networking site) is an online platform which people use to build social networks or social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career content, interests, act ...
* Social network
A social network is a social structure made up of a set of social actors (such as individuals or organizations), sets of dyadic ties, and other social interactions between actors. The social network perspective provides a set of methods for ...
* Social neuroscience
* Social psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people or by social norms. Social psychologists typically explain human behavior as a result of the ...
* Social skills
* Social support
* Social studies
* Social undermining
* Social work
* Social cue
Social cues are verbal or non-verbal signals expressed through the face, body, voice, motion (and more) and guide conversations as well as other social interactions by influencing our impressions of and responses to others. These percepts are impo ...
Dolwick, JS. 2009. The 'Social' and Beyond: Introducing Actor Network Theory
article examining different meanings of the concept 'social'
Social sciences terminology