social system


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social system

  1. any, especially a relatively persistent, ‘patterning of social relations across “time-space", understood as reproduced practices’ (GIDDENS, 1984). Thus in this general sense, a SOCIETY, or any ORGANIZATION or GROUP constitutes a social system. For Giddens, however, social systems are highly variable in the degree to which they manifest a 'systematic pattern’. They ‘rarely have the sort of internal unity’ true of biological systems, or of the kind usually assumed by FUNCTIONALISM (see also SYSTEM, SYSTEMS THEORY). Compare also SOCIAL STRUCTURE, STRUCTURE.
  2. (more specifically, as in FUNCTIONALISM) any persistent system of interaction between two or more social actors up to and including a unitary SOCIETY, especially where this is associated with a tendency of the system to boundary maintenance, i.e. to preserve its position vis-a-vis its external environment, whether this be other social systems or the physical world. In PARSONS’ thinking (1951), and in most modern forms of functionalist and STRUCTURAL-FUNCTIONALIST sociology, such a conception of social system has been particularly associated with conceptions of FUNCTIONAL PREREQUISITES of societies and of societies as self-maintaining systems, etc. (see also SYSTEMS THEORY, SUBSYSTEMS MODEL).
References in periodicals archive ?
Techniques for modeling social systems: Techniques for building models of social systems that mathematically describe human psychology and behavior.
Therefore, we here will extract a social system to an undirected and network.
Social systems produce themselves by means of communication, whereas consciousness is left in their environment.
Species with less complex social systems can be models for early primates, so we can learn about our own evolution.
It views a social system as constructed by individuals and attempts to understand and interpret the viewpoints of those in the system rather than studying the system as if observed from an outsiders' perspective.
The four main elements in the diffusion of new ideas are: (1) the innovation; (2) communication channels; (3) time; and (4) the social system or context.
An alternative approach--planning scenarios--has an advantage of covering a large range of possible outcomes in the social system of interest, and thus has a high chance of offering analysis of the actual outcome that results.
Thus, survivors believed it was too risky to seek help from any formal social system.
Let us now show that reflexive decision-making is endogenous to the social system of expectations (Dubois, 1998b).
The family social system now includes the relatives of both current and ex-spouses as well as parents, in-laws, children's spouses and children, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
The school, as an organization, is viewed as an open social system having an endless cyclical input-output relationship to the larger environment.
Rather, it is a victory for our social system and for our democracy.

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