What does social mean? a vague yet insightful definition

For most of us, the term social is defined as anything related to the society or its organization. The society itself is described as an aggregate of people living together in a social setting.

It’s strange but true that we have not a precise definition or conceptualization of the term. However, we use it as noun or adjective nearly everywhere in our books and conversations.

What do we mean when we use the term social? Social Sciences. Social Networks. Social Media. Social activities. etc.

What's the best definition of the term social

The affective turn edited by Patricia Ticineto Clough is one of the most insightful books I have read in this regard.

Besides all collected papers mostly belonging to The Future Project, I love the definition of the term social quoted from Brian Massumi as the opening of quotation of the first chapter:

Each self-reproducing system in this generalized production of order out of chaos combines modulations of what could be called, broadly, the “political” dimension… the “economic” dimension… and contributes in a way that could be called “cultural”…For lack of a better word, the chaotic cofunctioning of the political, economic and cultural dimensions could be dubbed by the “social” – Although all of these designations are fairly arbitrary at this point.

It seems that when there is a complex interrelation between politics, economics and cultures which none of them are recognizable as the most dominant factor, we prefer to use the term social.

Now it’s the time to rethink all the terms and phrases we have used with the word social

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