Socken is the name used for a part of a county in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. A socken is an area that was previously like a civil parish or a administrative parish. A socken was formerly linked to a parish but is now a traditional area with other borders than the original parishes. In some parts of Sweden the use of "socken" as a way to describe an area is more prominent than in others. A socken may also have the same name as a locality or parish.
Socken, in old Swedish sokn, Danish or bokmål sogn, nynorsk sokn, is an archaic name for the original country church parishes, kyrksocken. It also describes a secular area, a sockenkommun ("rural area locality") or a taxation area, a jordbokssocken. In the Nordic countries a socken was an administrative area consisting of several villages or localities in much the same way as the civil parishes in England, but the concept is not used in reference to towns. A socken had a socken church, it was governed by a socken council and it was the predecessor to modern municipalities
In 1862, the kyrksockens ("church socken") and the sockenkommuns ("rural area locality") in Sweden were abolished as administrative areas during municipality reforms. The jordbrukssocken ("taxation area") remained in use until the Fastighetsdatareformen ("Reform for registration of real property") 1976–1995 was complete. No further alterations to the sockens was made after this.
On 1 January 2016, a new administrative division and area for statistics, registration districts or simply districts, was introduced in Sweden. Geographically, the districts correspond with the parishes of the Church of Sweden as of 31 December 1999. About 85% of the old sockens corresponds with the new districts.
Even though the term socken is no longer used administratively in Sweden, it is still used for cataloging and registering historical archives (Swedish National Heritage Board), botany, dialect research, toponymy and by local historical societies. Socken is a convenient parameter for these purposes since it does not change with time.