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The social

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2.4. The social

The category of "the social" (sociality), which expresses the subject of sociology, is o­ne of sociology's most general and most complex categories. The social is not reducible o­nly to society's social sphere or to any part of the social world. The social coincides with the social world and society in general. It separates social phenomena (henceforth - the neologism "co-phenomena") from non-social, and the social world from the natural o­ne: it is the borderline between them. What does turn things natural into things social? -The answer is people's reproductive employment. The social, realised in the social world, stretches over to the same borders as people's vital, reproductive employment and their limbs (see the cover painting). A product of the totality of people's past and current employment, the social is identical with it. (Here and below we speak about people's vital, reproductive employment as embracing their total lifetime, and not about their work employment, which is o­nly a small part of it.) Thus, the social, SST, SST coordinates, and all the other SST parameters are the products of people's employment. The social coincides with the human, because the human coincides with employment, and employment, with people's lifetime. People's lifetime is social time and vice versa. It is the social. The human constitutes the social's first and major component, although not the o­nly o­ne, since the social is multidimensional. We will call the human component of the social "humanitarian." Through the humanitarian component of the social get expressed all the other components of the social.

The specific quality of the social's humanitarian component consists in its identity with people's lifetime and the vital ENERGY of their reproductive employment. Everything in society bears the stamp of people's current or past employment. All things social are artefacts/facts of people's employment. Without the stamp of the people's employment, any object remains pristine. All the social are humanity, and all humanity are the social. There is no social without humanity, and no humanity without the social. These are two indissociable and equal sides of o­ne medal. So, the extremes of sociocentrism (Durkheim, Marx, etc.) and anthropocentrism (Weber, etc.) are equally o­ne-sided. They are constructive o­nly in synthesis and in their equal necessity o­ne for another, which rules any "centralism" out.

Time is a measure for employment and people's life energy. Time, meanwhile, is measurable in hours, days, months, years, decades, centuries, etc. So all the social are measurable by the time of people's life/employment. This time is invested into the social and expended o­n it. Thus, human time is identical with the social and vice versa. Living people are carriers of live, real social time, while the time of past generations (past social time) has been realised in resources preserved and vanished. The volume of the social is identical with the number of social time as the sum of the years of all people past and present. The social as time can be without restriction summed up and divided by people's actions and interactions. However, the social is not reducible to a simple, mechanical interaction of people with objects or with o­ne another. Each action and interaction of people is an expenditure of their lifetime and an employment of a certain duration. The humanitarian component of the social, as employment time, sets a stamp o­n all people's interactions, rendering interactions and its objects social o­nes.

The social's humanitarian component is simultaneously social and individual time, as well as social and individual resource. Time is resource for all resources. Time is both the individual's and society's chief resource convertible in all resources without exception, including people, and producing all resources, including itself. Producing people, time reproduces individual and social time. Time as the number of years of people's life is both social and individual. It is social inasmuch as the individual's time as his lifetime absorbs many other people's time, in the form of a multitude of co-phenomena. It is individual inasmuch as for all its sociality, it is unique in every individual's case with regards to amount, quality (content, filling), beginning and end. An individual's time is ambivalent: it is revealed both in external behaviour and employment and in internal states, changes, employment. An individual's external and internal times are not o­nly parallel, but also conditioned by o­ne another and get realised in co-phenomena. Any co-phenomenon, wholesome or harmful, good or bad is an object and product of the individual's time and employment. This time is the common denominator and integrator for them. The social world and the social are o­ne not in a sole, exclusive aspect - ideality, materiality, existentiality, structurality, etc, but in human time - the time of people's life / employment, which is being spent and invested into world in its entirety.

The social's humanitarian component expresses the individual's activity, the time of his life and employment. It creates the social. All other components of the social are passive and exist o­nly through the individual's activity. Therefore, the humanitarian component has a priority over the social's other components. However, this component does not create the social alone, but o­nly with the help and by the use of other components, they being its necessary preconditions and instruments, indispensable for its existence.

The humanitarian component is impossible without the second necessary component of the social - the informational, which expresses the presence in each co-phenomenon of an aspect of social knowledge. (We do not differentiate here between social knowledge and social information - we consider them identical in the bulk of their content and differing o­nly in the emphasis made o­n each o­ne's particular aspects.) Through people's employment, a specific social knowledge reaches all the objects of the employment; this knowledge is reflected in the objects constituting the social's informational component. There is no social without information. Each co-phenomenon contains a dose of social information, injected into it by the individual. The informational component is a necessary component of the social.

The humanitarian component is impossible without the social's third component - organisational. The latter expresses the presence in any co-phenomenon of a specific mode of social relations, and conformity with specific sociocultural norms. Through people's employment, specific qualities of social and individual modes of being, of its norms get reflected in the object, constituting its organisational component. There is no social without organisation; all the social are organised in o­ne or another way. The organisational component is a necessary component of the social.

The humanitarian component is impossible without the social's fourth component - material. It expresses the presence in any co-phenomenon of a specific material carrier. There are no incorporeal co-phenomena devoid of substance and energy. It is not from itself but from nature that the individual draws the substance for matter and energy. This substance, however, having passed through people's employment and received a stamp of its energy, information and organisation, absorbing them, turns from a natural material into a social thing. There is no social without material things. The material component is a necessary component of the social.

The four outlined components of the social, abbreviated as HIOM, are necessary and sufficient for the social's existence. They are equally necessary insofar that lacking at least o­ne of them the social cannot exist. This rules out the relation of primordiality (primogeniture, supremacy) between them. In other respects, meanwhile, they are differently prioritised: having a specific role, each o­ne is irreducible to another and has a variable significance and weight in different co-phenomena and at different times.

So, the principal difference of social resources, processes, structures and states from the natural o­nes consists in a presence of the social - HIOM components. The social permeates all the SST coordinates and integrates them into one indivisible continuum.

The multidimensionality of the social, the impossibility of expressing it adequately in monistic sociologies created the postmodern myth about the "death" of both the social and sociology[1]. However, postmodernism's inability to express the social, as well as disappearance of monistic sociology are not at all identical with the "death" of the social in reality or in theory.

[1] Baudrillard J. Simulations. N.Y.: Semiotexte, 1983, p.3.

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