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Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary.


Etymology

The word "Social" derives from the Latin word socii ("allies"). It is particularly derived from the Italian ''
Socii The ''socii'' ( in English) or ''foederati ''Foederati'' (, singular: ''foederatus'' ) were peoples and cities bound by a treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law Internationa ...
'' states, historical allies of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
(although they rebelled against Rome in the Social War of 91-87 BC).


Social theorists

In the view of
Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, M ...

Karl Marx
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 In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phyto ...
processes; and, according to Marx, in producing and reproducing their material life, people must necessarily enter into
relations of production Relations of production (german: Produktionsverhältnisse, links=no) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their theory of historical materialism and in '' Das Kapital''. It is first explicitly used in Marx's publi ...
which are "independent of their will". By contrast, the sociologist
Max Weber Maximilian Karl Emil Weber (; ; 21 April 186414 June 1920) was a German Sociology, sociologist, historian, jurist, and political economy, political economist regarded as among the most important theorists of the development of Modernity, modern ...

Max Weber
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".


In socialism

The term "
socialism Socialism is a political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, or other forms of Power (social and political), power relations between individuals, ...
", used from the 1830s onwards in
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and the United Kingdom, was directly related to what was called the social question. In essence, Utopian socialism, early socialists contended that the emergence of competitive Market (economics), market societies did not create "liberty, equality and fraternity" for all citizens, requiring the intervention of politics and social reform to tackle social problems, injustices and grievances (a topic on which Jean-Jacques Rousseau discourses at length in his classic work ''The Social Contract''). Originally the term "socialist" was often used interchangeably with "co-operative", "Mutualism (economic theory), mutualist", "associationist" and "collectivist" in reference to the organization of economic enterprise socialists advocated, in contrast to the private enterprise and Corporation, corporate organizational structures inherent to capitalism. 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 nature, human behavior is largely determined by a person's immediate social environment, that modes of social organization were not supernatural 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 Relations of production (german: Produktionsverhältnisse, links=no) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their theory of historical materialism and in '' Das Kapital''. It is first explicitly used in Marx's publi ...
). This perspective formed the bulk of the foundation for Karl Marx's Historical materialism, materialist conception of history.


Modern uses

In contemporary society, "social" often refers to the Redistribution (economics), 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 social cohesion. Here, "social" contrasts with "Privacy, 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 and other extant taxon, living species in order to explain social behavior in terms of biology, biological factors.


See also

*Social media *Sociology *Social networking service *Social network *Social neuroscience *Social psychology *Social skills *Social support *Social studies *Social undermining *Social work *Social cue


References


External links


Dolwick, JS. 2009. The 'Social' and Beyond: Introducing Actor Network Theory
article examining different meanings of the concept 'social' {{Authority control Sociological terminology