doing a assignment for college and im not sure on the Definition, many thanks :D
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Best Answer: Social structure is a term frequently used in sociology and social theory — yet rarely defined or clearly conceptualised (Abercrombie, et al., 2000; Jary & Jary 1991). In a general sense, the term can refer to:
entities or groups in definite relation to each other,
relatively enduring patterns of behaviour and relationship within social systems, or
social institutions and norms becoming embedded into social systems in such a way that they shape the behaviour of actors within those social systems.
The notion of social structure as relationships between different entities or groups or as enduring and relatively stable patterns of relationship emphasises the idea that society is grouped into structurally related groups or sets of roles, with different functions, meanings or purposes. One example of social structure is the idea of "social stratification", which refers to the idea that society is separated into different strata, according to social distinctions such as a race, class and gender. Social treatment of persons within various social structures can be understood as related to their placement within the various social strata.
The notion of structure as embedded institutions or norms that shape the actions of social agents is important, as structural determination may occur as the actions of people and organisations are guided partially by the underlying structures in the social system. This approach has been important in the academic literature with the rise of various forms of structuralism, and is important in the contemporary organizational context as organisation structure may determine an organisation's flexibility, capacity to change and many other factors, and is therefore an important issue to management.
Social structure may be seen to underly important social systems including the economic system, legal system, political system, cultural system, and others. Family, religion, law, economy and class are all social structures. The social system is the parent system of those various systems that are embedded in the social system.
social structure, in sociology, the distinctive, stable arrangement of institutions whereby human beings in a society interact and live together. Social structure is often treated together with the concept of social change, which deals with the forces that change the social structure and the organization of society.
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 behavioral 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.