What are social processes?

We explain what social processes are and how sociology studies them. In addition, what types exist and the characteristics of each.

  1. What are social processes?

Social processes are a concept of sociology , which denotes the dynamics of interaction of individuals and the different groups that make up a society , as they establish and readjust their behavior patterns , responding to each other’s influence in a manner reciprocal.

This sounds very complicated like this, but in reality it means that we call social processes to the dynamics within a society that determine the behavior of the different groups within it. These groups can compete and generate conflict (then called “negative”) or collaborate, exchange and solidarity (then called “positive”).

Social interaction is a process complex, vast and diverse that occurs within societies and that is key to shaping them. Social interaction is always mutual, either in peaceful or conflicting terms, and is the key to the circulation of concepts such as identity , belonging, etc. The life human is not possible without social interaction .

Thus, sociology is interested in the patterns that appear in this social interaction . They can be recognizable on a large scale, since they specifically order human groups and circulate certain types of speeches.

Precisely, these systems are the social processes. They are usually studied from a historical and / or political perspective , since they have an important impact on the way in which societies govern themselves and on the destiny that awaits them.

  1. Types of social processes

There is no single and universal way to classify social processes, since they tend to be very specific and to understand them you must always pay attention to their context. But from a generalization and an abstraction, that is, from thinking in isolation, we could differentiate them into:

  • Processes of cooperation . Those that are synergistic in nature, that is, of sum of energies, and that occur between human groups whose interaction tends to mutual benefit. Cooperation occurs much more easily when there are common goals , and it usually produces lasting links of solidarity .
  • Accommodation processes . They are those in which there is a social adjustment, that is, a rearrangement of social forces, real or imaginary, around a new configuration of power or resources. It is what happens, for example, before the arrival of migrants, and usually implies a social exchange, a loss and a gain, which does not necessarily imply that it occurs in harmonic terms.
  • Assimilation processes . Typical of situations of colonization, long-term domination or absorption of human groups within others, it is about the fusion – not necessarily in terms of equality or equivalence – of different human groups. In other disciplines it is known as transculturation or acculturation, and usually also involves a certain exercise of violence.
  • Processes competition . As the name suggests, these are social processes of a conflicting nature, in which two or more human groups compete for the domination of society or a sector of it, whether in economic, political, social or even military terms . Seen this way, wars are social processes of enormous competition and conflict. It is, if you like, the opposite of cooperation.

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