We explain what social awareness is and some characteristics of this mental activity. Also, what is class consciousness.
The social consciousness is one stage or mental activity through which a person can become aware of the status of other individuals or herself within a community or group.
Social consciousness is a particular type of consciousness. Consciousness is a psychological concept, probably one of the most important within this discipline . However, it has not been exclusive of psychology; the philosophy has been one of the first branches of science that reflect on the role of consciousness in knowledge.
Consciousness can be understood as that ability to reason , in which we can interpret external and even internal stimuli and sensations (that is, mental states). Self-awareness, that is, recognizing oneself as a rational entity different from what surrounds it, is one of the main differences with the rest of living beings .
Now, if consciousness is that ability to reason, to relate through our intellect to ourselves and the world around us, what is social consciousness? Social consciousness is a particular type of consciousness, it is one that allows us to interact in society, establishing relationships of empathy with the people around us. This type of awareness is vital for the proper development of a community, since it forms individuals that are more respectful, virtuous and capable of developing all their potential.
The need and relevance of social awareness vary, depending on the historical moment and the form of government . With monarchical systems, social conscience was not necessarily a relevant factor in the way of governing , since no matter how much all social actors became aware of their situation, they did not have ways of coming to power, except for revolutions or wars civilians
On the other hand, with the French Revolution people finally become citizens . This entails a radical change in the way of life of individuals, since it is the cradle of human rights where social awareness is established with basic parameters that cannot be violated. The democracy is the form of government that leads the social consciousness at its best, one of the pillars of this system.
Many dictatorial phenomena, mainly those that occurred throughout the twentieth century, have a deep ideological bias that makes social consciousness a tool of control. This is mainly due to the fact that many great ideologues of the worst political and ideological movements have a great ” social conscience “.
At first glance, this may contradict the above, but it is necessary to make a clarification: as we said, social awareness is the ability to recognize the situation in which we find ourselves with respect to others , but this does not necessarily have to translate into a Good attitude towards the rest. Social awareness can be reduced to its instrumental nature, interpreting the social context to take measures that can guide the behavior of individuals.
For the Marxist current , social consciousness is a synonym or at least a necessary consequence of class consciousness . Class consciousness, on the other hand, is that action by which a class assumes itself (in this case, the proletariat) as an actor of a historical future, closely associated with the place they occupy within history itself.
For Marxism , history is the history of class struggle . Throughout the development of civilization, the two great classes, oppressors and oppressed, constantly face each other , but it will only be when the proletariat understands that it is he himself who produces the wealth that gives movement to the system. The worker or proletarian who fails to become socially aware (or in this case class consciousness) is totally alienated .
In this sense, social consciousness manifests itself under the crystallization of the class condition and is expressed in art , philosophy , religion and many other cultural expressions , all expressions of a greater condition: ideology.