0 Rajat_Kumar Asked: June 25, 2019In: Sociology Define social structure and distinguish between social structure and social organisations. 0 BA SociologyConcept of Social StructureESO-11Social Structure and Social OrganisationsThe Study of SocietyWhat is Social Structure 1 Answer Voted Oldest Recent Best Answer admin Added an answer on June 25, 2019 at 10:16 am The Concept of Social Structure: The term Social Structure points to the fact that society is structured – i.e. organised or arranged–in particular ways. The social environments in which we exist do not just consist of random assortments of events or actions. There are underlying regularities, or patterns, in how people behave and in the relationships they have with one another. It is to these regularities that the concept of social structure refers. Upto a point, it is helpful to think of the structural characteristics of societies as resembling the structure of a building. A building has walls, a floor and a roof, which together give it a particular ‘shape’ or form. But the metaphor can be a very misleading one if applied too strictly. Social structures are made up of human actions and relationships. What gives these their patterning is their repetition a cross periods of time and distances of space. Thus, the ideas of social reproduction and social structure are very closely related to one another in sociological analysis. For example, consider a school and a family structure. In a school certain ways of behaving are repeated over the years and become institutions. For instance admission procedures, codes of conduct, annual functions, daily assemblies and in some cases even school anthems. Likewise in families certain ways of behaving, marriage practices, notions of relationships, duties and expectations are set. Even as old members of the family or school may pass away and new members enter, the institution goes on. Yet we also know that changes do take place within the family and in schools. Although it is generally agreed that the term social structure refers to regularities in social life, its application is inconsistent. For example, the term is sometimes wrongly applied when other concepts such as custom, tradition, role, or norm would be more accurate. Studies of social structure attempt to explain such matters as integration and trends in inequality. In the study of these phenomena, sociologists analyze organizations, social categories (such as age groups), or rates (such as of crime or birth). This approach, sometimes called formal sociology, does not refer directly to individual behaviour or interpersonal interaction. Therefore, the study of social structure is not considered a behavioural science; at this level, the analysis is too abstract. It is a step removed from the consideration of concrete human behaviour, even though the phenomena studied in social structure result from humans responding to each other and to their environments. Those who study social structure do, however, follow an empirical (observational) approach to research, methodology, and epistemology. Social structure is sometimes defined simply as patterned social relations–those regular and repetitive aspects of the interactions between the members of a given social entity. Even on this descriptive level, the concept is highly abstract: it selects only certain elements from ongoing social activities. The larger the social entity considered, the more abstract the concept tends to be. For this reason, the social structure of a small group is generally more closely related to the daily activities of its individual members than is the social structure of a larger society. In the study of larger social groups, the problem of selection is acute: much depends on what is included as components of the social structure. Various theories offer different solutions to this problem of determining the primary characteristics of a social group. Before these different theoretical views can be discussed, however, some remarks must be made on the general aspects of the social structure of any society. Social life is structured along the dimensions of time and space. Specific social activities take place at specific times, and time is divided into periods that are connected with the rhythms of social life-the routines of the day, the month, and the year. Specific social activities are also organized at specific places; particular places, for instance, are designated for such activities as working, worshiping, eating, and sleeping. Territorial boundaries delineate these places and are defined by rules of property that determine the use and possession of scarce goods. Additionally, in any society there is a more or less regular division of labour. Yet another universal structural characteristic of human societies is the regulation of violence. All violence is a potentially disruptive force; at the same time, it is a means of coercion and coordination of activities. Human beings have formed political units, such as nations, within which the use of violence is strictly regulated and which, at the same time, are organized for the use of violence against outside groups. Furthermore, in any society there are arrangements within the structure for sexual reproduction and the care and education of the young. These arrangements take the form partly of kinship and marriage relations. Finally, systems of symbolic communication, particularly language, structure the interactions between the members of any society. Social Structure and Social Organization : Raymond Firth distinguished between social structure and social organisation. While social organisation is concerned with the choices in the social relations, social structure deals with the more fundamental social relations. Social structure is concerned with “the ordered relation of parts to the whole, with the arrangement in which the elements of social life are linked together”. The abstract social relationship which are displayed in the social reality as a patterned manner and in a regular fashion are concerned about institutional arrangements and relation between social groups. Thus the term social structure means a more permanent and continuous pattern of social reality. Firth has proposed the concept of ‘social organisation’ in this context which as opposed to social structure, is concerned about temporary and changing nature of social reality. Social organisation as he explains refers to “the systematic ordering of social relations by acts of choice and decision.” It allows individual choices and decisions in response to a situational condition. Individuals choose between alternative modes of behaviour and take decisions as they evaluate them according to their perceptions to the fulfilment of a goal which are set by the group they belong. Radcliffe Brown has distinguished between social structure and social organisation. According to him ‘social structure’ refers to the arrangement of persons. Social organisation refers to arrangement of activities of two or more persons. For instance, religion is an aspect of social structure as it binds people in a group thus an arrangement of persons. Examples of social organisation are social groups, industrial group, political group etc. All the participants of an organisation carry out activities assigned to them. This arrangement of activities of persons is the characteristic of the organisation. Thus an organisation is the arrangement of relationship that operates within the activities of an institution. So, in an organisation, a system of roles are important to its members. -4 Reply Share Share Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on WhatsApp Leave an answerLeave an answerCancel reply Featured image Select file Browse Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.