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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. It is usually ent ...
'' states, historical allies of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the , run through of the . Beginning with the of the (traditionally dated to 509 BC) and ending in 27 BC with the establishment of the , Rome's control rapidly expanded durin ...
(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. The term ''philosopher'' comes from the grc, φιλόσοφος, , translit=philosophos, meaning 'lover of wis ...

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, socialization is the process of Internalisation (sociology), internalizing the Norm (social), norms and Ideology, ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus "the means by which social an ...
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 spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the and from the to the and the ; overseas territories include in , in the N ...

France
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
, was directly related to what was called the social question. In essence, early socialists contended that the emergence of competitive
market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Sweden Art, entertainment, and media Films *Market (1965 film), ''Market'' (1965 ...
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 psychology, decision-making (also spelled decision making and decisionmaking) is regarded as the Cognition, cognitive process resulting in the selection ...

politics
and
social reform A reform movement is a type of social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting popul ...
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 Republic of Geneva, Genevan philosopher, writer, and composer. His political philosophy influenced the progress of the Age of Enlightenment, Enlightenment throughout Europe, as w ...

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
discourses at length in his classic work ''
The Social Contract ''The Social Contract'', originally published as ''On the Social Contract; or, Principles of Political Right'' (french: Du contrat social; ou Principes du droit politique) by Jean-Jacques Rousseau Jean-Jacques Rousseau (, , ; 28 June 1712 ...
''). 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 The federal subject in Russia">Federal subjects of Russia">federal subject in Russia, close to borders of Finland. Picture of Petrozavodsk, the capital of the ...
", " mutualist", "
associationist Associationism is the idea that mental processes operate by the association of one mental state with its successor states. It holds that all mental processes are made up of discrete psychological elements and their combinations, which are believed ...
" and "
collectivist Collectivism is a value that is characterized by emphasis on cohesiveness among individuals and prioritization of the group over the self. Individuals or groups that subscribe to a collectivist worldview tend to find common values and goals as pa ...
" in reference to the organization of economic enterprise socialists advocated, in contrast to the
private enterprise A privately held company or private company is a company which does not offer or trade its company stock In finance, stock (also capital stock) consists of all of the shares In financial markets A financial market is a market in which ...
and
corporate A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a legal entity In law, a legal person is any person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capa ...

corporate
organizational structures inherent to
capitalism Capitalism is an economic system An economic system, or economic order, is a system of Production (economics), production, allocation of resources, resource allocation and Distribution (economics), distribution of goods and services within ...

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 behavior Human behavior is the potential and expressed capacity (Energy (psychological), mentally, Physical activity, physically, and Social actions, socially) of human individuals or groups to respond to internal and external Stimulation, stimuli throu ...

human behavior
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 A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has cer ...
, that modes of social organization were not
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such beings, including , , , , and . Th ...

supernatural
or
metaphysical Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and ...
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
materialist conception of history Historical materialism, also known as the materialist conception of history, is a Historical method, methodology used by Scientific socialism, scientific socialist and Marxist historiography, Marxist historiographers that focuses on human socie ...
.


Modern uses

In contemporary society, "social" often refers to the redistributive policies of the government which aim to apply resources in the
public interest The public interest is "the welfare or well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuable relative ''to'' someone. So the well-being of a person is what ...
, for example,
social security Welfare (or commonly, social welfare) is a type of government support intended to ensure that members of a society can meet Basic needs, basic human needs such as food and shelter. Social security may either be synonymous with welfare, or refe ...
. Policy concerns then include the problems of
social exclusion Social exclusion or social marginalisation is the social disadvantage and relegation to the fringe of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measur ...
and
social cohesion Group cohesiveness (also called group cohesion and social cohesion) arises when bonds link members of a social group In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar chara ...
. Here, "social" contrasts with "
private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly two decades from the charts. Both "In Pri ...

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 Sociobiology is a field of biology that aims to examine and explain social behavior in terms of evolution. It draws from disciplines including psychology, ethology, anthropology, evolution, zoology, archaeology, and population genetics. Within th ...
analogies are drawn between
humans Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species ...
and other
living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms ** extant taxon, Living species, one that is not extinct *Personal life, the course of an individual human ...
species in order to explain
social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the Action (philosophy), actions and mannerisms made by individ ...
in terms of
biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Taxonomy (general), organizes knowl ...

biological
factors.


See also

*
Social media Social media are interactive technologies that facilitate the creation Creation may refer to: Religion * Creation ''ex nihilo'', the concept that matter was created by God out of nothing * Creation myth A creation myth (or cosmogonic myth) i ...

Social media
*
Sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly ...
*
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 relation In social science, a social relation or social interaction is any relationship ...
*
Social network A social network is a social structure In the social sciences, social structure is the patterned social arrangements in society that are both emergence, emergent from and determinant of the Structure and agency, actions of individuals. Likew ...

Social network
*
Social neuroscience Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary field devoted to understanding the relationship between social experiences and biological system A biological system is a complex network which connects several biologically relevant entities. Biological ...
*
Social psychology Social psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions about the universe."... modern scienc ...

Social psychology
*
Social skills A social skill is any social competence, competence facilitating Interpersonal relationship, interaction and Social Communication, communication with others where social rules and Interpersonal relationship, relations are created, Human communicati ...
*
Social support Social support is the perception and actuality that one is cared for, has assistance available from other people, and most popularly, that one is part of a supportive social network. These supportive resources can be emotional (e.g., nurturance), i ...
*
Social studies In the United States education system (and other countries), social studies is the integrated study of multiple fields of social science Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies an ...
*
Social undermining Social undermining is the expression of negative emotions directed towards a particular person or negative evaluations of the person as a way to prevent the person from achieving their goal A goal is an idea of the future or desired result th ...
*
Social work Social work is an academic discipline and practice-based professional learning, practice-based profession that concerns itself with individuals, Family, families, social group, groups, communities, and society as a whole in an effort to meet basi ...

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 This category relates to sociological Sociology is the study of society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the same spatial or s ...