What does social meaning

1.1.9 What is "the social"?

The term social comes from the Latin societas, which can be translated as "society". The social is not fundamentally different from the cultural. Both areas have to do with aspects of human life in collectives that to a large extent overlap. Culture and society are differentiated analytically - with regard to various aspects of collective human action, thinking and interaction - but largely refer to the same empirical relationships.

If when looking at the cultural, the learned acting and thinking and its embedding in contexts of meaning are in the foreground, then it works in the social, above all about the interaction of people, about the way in which people's actions affect others. If social interactions take place with a certain regularity and show forms that exist beyond the observed moment, then this can be described with a further abstract term as structure. So the social always has to do with structures, with certain contexts in which people are embedded and which give them or prevent them from taking action. In the area of ​​social action there is therefore not freedom at all times. Rather, there are structurally given possibilities and constraints. In addition, people mutually influence each other in their actions, what one does has effects on others and vice versa. Like the cultural, social structures are also embedded in historical contexts. Cultural and social issues are mutually dependent:Cultural concepts and values ​​influence and guide social action; social interactions in turn have an impact on culture and shape and change it.

Figure: What is "the social" ?, Source: wikimedia.org

(WK & MR)