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Encyclopedia > Social

Social refers to human society or its organization. Although the term is a crucial category in social science and often used in public discourse, its meaning is at times vague, suggesting that it is a fuzzy concept. An added difficulty is that social attributes or relationships may not be directly observable and visible, and must be inferred by abstract thought. Ex: Ara is very social, she hangs out with her friends everyday. Someone who lacks social skills and therefore does not see friends or participate in social situations may become very shy, anxious or self-consious within themselves. Thus the sociologist C. Wright Mills used the expression "the sociological imagination", which referred to the need to think imaginatively beyond what an individual can empirically observe in order to grasp the social domain in all its dimensions — connecting, for example, "private troubles" and "public issues". Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Organization (disambiguation). ... The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... Discourse is a term used in semantics as in discourse analysis, but it also refers to a social conception of discourse, often linked with the work of French philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984) and Jürgen Habermas The Theory of Communicative Action (1985). ... A fuzzy concept is a concept of which the content or boundaries of application vary according to context or conditions. ... Charles Wright Mills (August 28, 1916, Waco, Texas – March 20, 1962, West Nyack, New York) was an American sociologist. ... Sociological imagination is a sociological term coined by American sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1959 describing the ability to connect seemingly impersonal and remote historical forces to the incidents of an individual’s life. ...


A similar point is made in the context of architecture by Ole Bouman and Roemer van Toorn in The Invisible in Architecture. General problems concerning the nature of social reality and what (or how) we can know about it are the object of social theory. Social theory refers to the use of abstract and often complex theoretical frameworks to explain and analyze social patterns and large-scale social structures. ...



Definition: Jane is very social around her friends.


In the absence of agreement about its meaning, the term "social" is used in many different senses, referring among other things to:

  • attitudes, orientations or behaviours which take the interests, intentions or needs of other people into account (in contrast to anti-social behaviour);
  • common characteristics of people or descriptions of collectivities (social facts);
  • relations between people (social relations) generally, or particular associations among people;
  • interactions between people (social action);
  • membership of a group of people or inclusion or belonging to a community of people;
  • co-operation or co-operative characteristics between people;
  • relations of (mutual) dependence;
  • the public sector ("social sector") or the need for governance for the good of all, contrasted with the private sector;
  • in existentialist and postmodernist thought, relationships between the Self and the Other;
  • interactive systems in communities of animal or insect populations, or any living organisms.

In one broad meaning, "social" refers only to society as "a system of common life", but in another sense it contrasts specifically with "individual" and individualist theories of society. This is reflected for instance in the different perspectives of liberalism and socialism on society and public affairs. Attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individuals like or dislike for an item. ... Anti-social behaviour is that lacking in judgement and consideration for others, ranging from careless negligence to deliberately damaging activity, vandalism and graffiti for example. ... In positivist sociology, social facts are the social structures and cultural norms and values that are external to, and coercive of, actors (Ritzer 2000:73). ... Although Harvard University has featured a Department of Social Relations (in which Talcott Parsons played a prominent role), and although the term social relations is frequently used in social sciences, there is no commonly agreed meaning for this concept (see also the entry social). ... In sociology, social action refer to any action that takes into account actions and reactions of another individuals (real or imagined) and is modified based on those events. ... For other uses, see Community (disambiguation). ... Co-operation refers to the practice of people or greater entities working in common with commonly agreed-upon goals and possibly methods, instead of working separately in competition. ... < [[[[math>Insert formula here</math>The public sector is that part of economic and administrative life that deals with the delivery of goods and services by and for the [[government </math></math></math></math> Direct administration funded through taxation; the delivering organisation generally has no specific requirement to meet commercial... The private sector of a nations economy consists of all that is outside the state. ... Existentialism is a philosophical movement emphasizing individualism, individual freedom, and subjectivity. ... Postmodernism (sometimes abbreviated pomo) is a term applied to a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture, which are generally characterized as either emerging from, in reaction to, or superseding, modernism. ... In philosophy, the self is the idea of a unified being which is the source of an idiosyncratic conciousness. ... The Other or constitutive other (also referred to as othering) is a key concept in continental philosophy, opposed to the Same. ... For other uses, see Animal (disambiguation). ... Orders Subclass Apterygota Archaeognatha (bristletails) Thysanura (silverfish) Subclass Pterygota Infraclass Paleoptera (Probably paraphyletic) Ephemeroptera (mayflies) Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) Infraclass Neoptera Superorder Exopterygota Grylloblattodea (ice-crawlers) Mantophasmatodea (gladiators) Plecoptera (stoneflies) Embioptera (webspinners) Zoraptera (angel insects) Dermaptera (earwigs) Orthoptera (grasshoppers, etc) Phasmatodea (stick insects) Blattodea (cockroaches) Isoptera (termites) Mantodea (mantids) Psocoptera... For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... As commonly used, individual refers to a person or to any specific object in a collection. ... For judgements of value about collectivism and individualism, see individualism and collectivism. ... Liberalism is an ideology, philosophical view, and political tradition which holds that liberty is the primary political value. ... Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... Public Administration can be broadly described as the development, implementation and study of government policy. ...


The adjective "social" implies that the verb or noun to which it is applied is somehow more communicative, cooperative, and moderated by contact with human beings, than if it were omitted. That is, it implies that larger society has played some role in defining the idea or the principle. For instance terms like social realism, social justice, social constructivism, social psychology and social capital imply that there is some social process involved or considered, a process that is not there in regular, "non-social", realism, justice, constructivism, psychology, or capital. Constructivism is a new criticism in philosophy directed against medieval realism, classical rationalism and empiricism. ...


The adjective "social" is also used often in political discourse, although its meaning in such a context depends heavily on who is using it. In left-wing circles it is often used to imply a positive characteristic, while in right-wing circles it is generally used to imply a negative characteristic. It should also be noted that, overall, this adjective is used much more often by those on the political left than by those on the political right.


For these reasons, those seeking to avoid association with the left-right political debates often seek to label their work with phrases that do not include the word "social". An example is quasi-empiricism in mathematics which is sometimes labelled social constructivism by those who see it as an unwarranted intrusion of social considerations in mathematical practice, which is supposed to be "objective" and "above" social concerns. Quasi-empiricism in mathematics is the movement in the philosophy of mathematics to direct philosophers attention to mathematical practice, in particular, relations with physics and social sciences, rather than the foundations problem in mathematics. ...

Contents

Social theorists

In the view of Karl Marx, 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". Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a 19th century philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... A family posing for a group photo socializes together. ... Relations of production (German: Produktionsverhaltnisse) is a concept frequently used by Karl Marx in his theory of historical materialism and in Das Kapital. ...


By contrast, the sociologist 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 this case, the "social" domain really exists only in the intersubjective relations between individuals, but by implication the life of these individuals also exists in part outside the social domain. "Social" is thus implicitly also contrasted with "private". For the politician, see Max Weber (politician). ... The term Intersubjectivity is used in three ways. ... Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. ...


In the positivist sociology of Emile Durkheim, a social fact is an abstraction external to the individual which constrains that individual's actions. In his 1895 work Rules of Sociological Method, Durkheim writes: "A social fact is every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an influence, or an external constraint; or again, every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual manifestations." In Durkheim's view, sociology is 'the science of social facts'. This is a disambiguation page &#8212; a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... David Émile Durkheim (April 15, 1858 - November 15, 1917) is known as the founder of modern sociology. ...


Socialism and social democracy

The term "socialism", used from the 1830s onwards in France and England, was directly related to what was called the social question, in essence the problem that the emergence of competitive 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", "mutualist", "associationist" and "collectivist". Socialism is a broad array of ideologies and political movements with the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community for the purposes of increasing social and economic equality and cooperation. ... Look up Market in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Politics (disambiguation). ... Reform movement is a kind of social movement that aims to make a change in certain aspects of the society rather than fundamental changes. ... Rousseau redirects here. ... Social contract is a phrase used in philosophy, political science, and sociology to denote a real or hypothetical agreement within a state regarding the rights and responsibilities of the state and its citizens, or more generally a similar concord between a group and its members. ... A cooperative (also co-operative or co-op) comprises a legal entity owned and democratically controlled by its members, with no passive shareholders. ... Mutualism is an economic theory based on a labor theory of value that advocates that equal amounts of labor should receive equal pay. ... In the philosophy of mind, associationism began as a theory about how ideas combine in the mind. ... Collectivism, in general, is a term used to describe a theoretical or practical emphasis on the group, as opposed to (and seen by many of its opponents to be at the expense of) the individual. ...


The term social democracy originally referred to the political project of extending democratic forms of association to the whole of society, substituting popular sovereignty, the universal franchise and social ownership for the rule of a propertied class which had exclusive voting rights. Social democracy is a political ideology emerging in the late 19th and early 20th centuries from supporters of Marxism who believed that the transition to a socialist society could be achieved through democratic evolutionary rather than revolutionary means. ... Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. ... Pooybuttpular sovereignty is the doctrine that the state is created by and therefore subject to the will of its people, who are the source of all political power. ... Elections Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Universal suffrage (also general suffrage or common suffrage) consists of the extension of the right to vote to all adults, without distinction as to race, sex, belief, intelligence, or economic or social status. ...


Modern uses

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 social cohesion. 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. Look up redistribution in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Public interest is a term used to denote political movements and organizations that are in the public interest&#8212;supporting general public and civic causes, in opposition of private and corporate ones (particularistic goals). ... Social security primarily refers to social welfare service concerned with social protection, or protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, unemployment and others. ... Social exclusion relates to the alienation or disenfranchisement of certain people within a society. ... Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to control the flow of information about themselves and thereby reveal themselves selectively. ...


The social domain is often also contrasted with that of physical nature, but in sociobiology analogies are drawn between humans and other living species in order to explain social behavior in terms of biological factors. The term "social" is also added in various other academic sub-disciplines such as social geography, social psychology, social anthropology, social philosophy, social ontology, social statistics and social choice theory in mathematics. This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Human beings are defined variously in biological, spiritual, and cultural terms, or in combinations thereof. ... Look up living in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In biology, psychology and sociology social behavior is behavior directed towards, or taking place between, members of the same species. ... For the song by Girls Aloud see Biology (song) Biology studies the variety of life (clockwise from top-left) E. coli, tree fern, gazelle, Goliath beetle Biology (from Greek: βίος, bio, life; and λόγος, logos, speech lit. ... Social geography is the study of how society affects geographical features and how environmental factors affect society. ... The scope of social psychological research. ... Social anthropology is the branch of anthropology that studies how currently living human beings behave in social groups. ... Social philosophy is the philosophical study of interesting questions about social behavior (typically, of humans). ... Social statistics is the use of statistical measurement systems to study human behavior in a social environment. ... Social choice theory studies how individual preferences are aggregated to form a collective preference. ...


Regional uses

There is a peculiar use of "social" in some parts of the world. In the Canadian province of Manitoba, a "social" is a fund raising party (for a wedding, non-profit organisation, charity, or some other worthy cause). It is also known as a Manitoba Social. Typically, they will include music (current popular music for the youth and "oldies" music for older adults), dancing, food, raffles (and other fund raising games). When held in support of a wedding, often they are used as a way to shake down some details of the wedding (e.g., letting the bride try a hair style, practicing dancing, etc.). Motto: Gloriosus et Liber (Latin: Glorious and free) Capital Winnipeg Largest city Winnipeg Official languages English French (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard Premier Gary Doer (NDP) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 14 Senate seats 6 Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th) Area  Ranked 8th Total 647,797...


Another common meaning of a "social" in English-speaking countries such as Britain, New Zealand and Australia is that of a leisure-time gathering with food and drink, organised by an institution, association, or company. A distinguishing feature is that it is deliberately organised at a venue at a predetermined time. Thus one might say, "are you going to the social?", meaning a social event by some organisation.


  Results from FactBites:
 
Socialism - MSN Encarta (1477 words)
Socialism refers to the goal of a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to control by the community.
Socialism was originally based in the working class and has generally been opposed to capitalism, which is based on private ownership and a free-market economy.
Socialism at this early stage could be seen as a reaction against the alleged emphasis of 18th- and 19th-century liberalism on individual achievements and private rights at the expense of the welfare of society as a whole.
socialism. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07 (1500 words)
Because of the collective nature of socialism, it is to be contrasted to the doctrine of the sanctity of private property that characterizes capitalism.
In a broader sense, the term socialism is often used loosely to describe economic theories ranging from those that hold that only certain public utilities and natural resources should be owned by the state to those holding that the state should assume responsibility for all economic planning and direction.
For this reason socialism as a doctrine is ill defined, although its main purpose, the establishment of cooperation in place of competition remains fixed.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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