Social structure is set of relationships and social distances between people, organizations, institutions and other parts of society. It is present on global level and in the micro-scale. Social structure is an ordered whole, referred to the relations between constituents: units, roles, positions, social categories and institutions.
It is dynamic set of relations, which constantly change. The optimum condition of social structures is dynamic balance. Social structure is "on the move", consist of constantly operating organization, social categories and units taking concrete action. These units are subject to modification, there are also replaced by other, but in a way that does not lead to violation of the stability of the entire system.
Social structures as seen from the perspective of class structure is the specified layout based on the primacy of relations and subordination. These relationships can both refer to wealth, privilege, power or prestige. In a given society rang system makes some big groups of people referred to as a class or social stratum they stand against each other higher or lower.
The social structure include, among others:
- the principles governing the organization of the state and administrative apparatus,
- the mechanisms of functioning of the companies,
- forms of family life,
- social relations,
- electoral behavior patterns,
- the forces engaged in the fight for power and political impact,
- social bonds,
- activities and orientations of the economic units,
- specific syndromes, attitudes and values.
There are four basic levels of the structure of the social world:
- people, because of their behaviours, interactions between them,
- small social groups, such as the family, peer groups, local communities,
- great social groups such as social classes, social layers, political parties, social organizations,
- great social systems-global society.
- Merton, R. K. (1968). Social theory and social structure. Simon and Schuster.