According to the common point of view among sociologists, society is a complex dynamic system. What does this definition mean? What characterizes society as a dynamic system?
We can study this issue in the following aspects:
- research on the term "dynamic system";
- study of practical examples reflecting the legitimacy of the considered definition of society.
Let us study them in more detail.
What does the term "dynamic system" mean?
A dynamic or dynamical system is originally a mathematical term. In accordance with the widespread theory within the framework of this exact science, it is customary to understand it as a set of elements, the position of which in the phase space changes over time.
Translated into the language of sociology, this can mean that society as a dynamic system is a set of subjects (people, communities, institutions) whose status (type of activity) in the social environment changes over time. How legitimate is this statement?
On the whole, it fully reflects social reality. Each person acquires new statuses over time - in the course of education, socialization, due to the achievement of legal personality, personal success in business, etc.
Communities and institutions also change, adapting to the social environment in which they develop. Thus, state power can be characterized by a greater or lesser level of political competition, depending on the specific conditions of the country's development.
The term in question contains the word “system”. First of all, it assumes that the corresponding elements, characterized by dynamic features, play a stable role. So, a person in society has civil rights and obligations, and the state is responsible for solving problems "at the macro level" - such as protecting borders, managing the economy, developing and enforcing laws, etc.
There are other important signs consistency. In particular, it is self-sufficiency, a kind of sovereignty. Regarding society, it is able to express itself in the presence of all the institutions necessary for its functioning: law, state power, religion, family, production.
The system, as a rule, is characterized by such a property as self-control. If we talk about society, these can be mechanisms that ensure effective regulation of certain social processes. Their development is carried out at the level of the noted institutions - in fact, this is their main role.
The next indicator of consistency is the interaction of some of its constituent elements with others. Thus, a person communicates with society, institutions, individuals. If this does not happen, then the society is simply not formed.
It can be concluded that society as a dynamic system is characterized by the following basic properties:
- there is a change in the status of its constituent elements over time;
- there is sovereignty, realized due to the presence of formed key social institutions;
- self-control is realized, thanks to the activities of social institutions;
- there is a constant interaction of the elements that make up society.
Let us now consider how the dynamism of society can be traced through practical examples.
Dynamism of society: practical examples
Above, we noted that a person is able to change, mastering new knowledge and skills, or, for example, achieving success in business. So, we have identified one of the practical examples of dynamism in society. In this case, a person as an element of society is characterized by the corresponding property. He becomes a dynamic subject. Similarly, we cited as an example the changes that characterize the activity of state power. The subjects of political control are also dynamic.
Social institutions can also change. One of the most revealing spheres, which is characterized by very intense dynamism, is law. Laws are constantly being corrected, supplemented, canceled, returned. It would seem that such a conservative institution as the family should not change much - but this also happens. Polygamy, which has existed for centuries in the East, can be significantly influenced by Western monogamous traditions and become an exception to the rule in those countries where it is traditionally perceived as part of the cultural code.
The sovereignty of society, as we noted above, is formed as the formation of key social institutions. In addition, as soon as they appear, dynamism begins to acquire a systemic character.
A person gets the opportunity to change, acting independently of people belonging to other societies. The state can adjust the mechanisms of organizing political governance, without consulting, relatively speaking, with the metropolis and other entities that can potentially influence the adoption of certain decisions by the authorities. The country's legal system can begin to regulate certain social relations based on their local specifics, and not under the influence of foreign trends.
It's one thing to have sovereignty. It is another matter to use it effectively. State, legal, public institutions must function correctly - only in this way will sovereignty be real, not formal. And only under this condition, society as a dynamic system will acquire a fully systemic character.
The criteria for the quality of work of the relevant elements of society can be very different.
So, as for the institution of law, it should be characterized by: relevance (laws should not lag behind current social processes), universality (equality of citizens before legislative provisions), transparency (people need to understand how certain norms, and if possible - to participate in the process of lawmaking).
The institution of the family should function in the interests of at least the majority of people who make up society, and ideally all citizens. Moreover, if the dissimilarity of certain landmarks is assumed - for example, monogamy and polygamy, then other social institutions (law, state) should contribute to the peaceful coexistence of people who consider themselves adherents of the corresponding principles.
And this traces the mutual influence of the elements that shape society. Many of the subjects cannot play their role in society without interacting with others. Key social institutions are always linked. State and law are elements that constantly carry out communications.
Man also acts as a social subject. If only because he communicates with other people. Even if it seems to him that he does not do this, some derivatives from personal communications will be used. For example, living on a desert island and reading a book, a person, perhaps without knowing it, "communicates" with its author, accepting his thoughts and ideas - literally or through artistic images..