Social life arises, reproduces and develops precisely because of the existence of dependencies between people. What are the invisible threads of people connected with each other, society, how does social interaction (interaction) arise?
A person must interact with other individuals to satisfy his needs. The formation of social interrelations takes place gradually - from social contacts to social action and, finally, to social interaction.
Social contacts precede any social action. The type of short-term, easily interrupted social ties caused by the contact with people in the physical and social space is called social contact. In the process of contacting, mutual evaluation of individuals with each other, selection and transition to more complex and stable relationships is carried out.
Sociologists distinguish spatial contacts, contacts of interest and contacts of exchange.
Spatial contact is the initial and necessary link in the formation of social interrelations. Knowing where people are and how many of them, and even more so when observing them visually, a person can choose an object for further development of interrelations, based on their needs and interests.
Contacts of interest. Why do you distinguish from the people of that person or another? This person can be interesting to you because he has certain values or features that correspond to your needs (he, for example, has an interesting appearance, has the information you need). Contact of interest may be interrupted or continued depending on many factors, but primarily on:
1) the degree of reciprocity of interests;
2) the forces of interest of the individual;
3) the environment. For example, a beautiful girl can attract the attention of a young man, but an entrepreneur who is mainly interested in developing his own business, or a professor who is looking for scientific talents may be completely indifferent to her.
Contacts of exchange. Y. Shchepanskiy notes that they represent a specific kind of social interrelations, in which individuals exchange values without having the desire to change the behavior of other individuals. In this case the individual is only interested in the subject of exchange. J. Schepanski gives the following example, characterizing the contacts of exchange. This example is connected with the purchase of a newspaper. Initially, an individual has a spatial vision of a newspaper kiosk based on a well-defined need, then there is a very specific interest related to the sale of the newspaper and the seller, after which the exchange of the newspaper takes place for money. Further, repeated contacts can lead to the development of more complex relationships that are directed not at the exchange, but at the individual. For example, you can have a friendly relationship with the seller.
Social contacts are the first step in the formation of social groups, their study allows sociologists to determine the place of the individual in the system of social ties, his group status.
The next necessary link in the formation of social interrelations is social action. It is the simplest element of any kind of social activity of people. What is the essence of social action?
For the first time in sociology this concept was introduced by M. Weber. In his understanding, social action (including non-interference or patient acceptance) can be oriented toward the past, present or expected future behavior of others. It can be revenge for past grievances, protection from dangers in the future. "Others" may be individuals, familiar or indefinite by a multitude of strangers. " Social action should be oriented towards other people, otherwise it is not social. Not every human action, therefore, is social. In this case the following example is appropriate. The clash of bicyclists can be nothing more than an incident, like the phenomenon of nature, but an attempt to avoid a collision, scolding, following a clash, a brawl or a peaceful settlement of a conflict is already a social action.
So, not every clash of people is a social action. It acquires the character of social activity if it involves direct or indirect interaction with other people: a group of friends, strangers (behavior in public transport), etc. We are dealing with social action in the case when the individual, focusing on the situation, takes into consideration the reaction of other people, their needs and goals, develops a plan of their actions, focusing on others, building a forecast, takes into account, when other social actors will facilitate or discourage his actions; who and how is likely to lead, which option should be selected.
No individual does social activities without taking into consideration the situation, the totality of material, social and cultural conditions. Orientation to others, fulfillment of expectations-obligations are a kind of payment that an actor must pay for quiet, reliable, civilized conditions for satisfying his needs.
In sociology, it is customary to distinguish the following types of social actions: purposeful, value-rational, effective and traditional.
In the basis of the classification of social actions M. Weber puts purposeful action, which is characterized by a clear understanding of the agent of what he wants to achieve, which ways and means are most effective. He relates the purpose and means, calculates the positive or negative consequences of his actions and finds a reasonable measure of a combination of personal goals and social circumstances.
However, do social actions always have a conscious and rational character in real life? Numerous studies show that a person has never acted fully consciously. A high degree of awareness and expediency, for example, in the actions of a politician struggling with his rivals, or the head of an enterprise controlling the behavior of subordinates, is largely based on intuition, feelings, natural human reactions. In this regard, fully conscious actions can be considered an ideal model. In practice, obviously, social actions will be partially realized actions pursuing more or less clear goals.
In real life, all listed types of social activities occur. Some of them, in particular, traditionally-moral, in general, can be typical for certain segments of society. As for an individual person, there is a place in her life for both affect and strict calculation, accustomed to orienting herself towards her friends, parents, and the Fatherland.
Understanding of social action is impossible without studying the mechanism of its fulfillment. It is based on the motive - the inner motivation, pushing the individual to action. The motivation of the subject to act is related to his needs. These can be, for example, physical needs (in food, drink, sleep, sex, housing, etc.), the need for safety and quality of life, communication, attainment of a certain position, self-affirmation etc. The need is correlated with the individual with the objects of the external environment, actualizing strictly defined motives.
Motives are different for each individual and this gives an individual color to social action. Social object in conjunction with the actual motive causes interest Prior to the emergence of interest, the mechanism of social action is carried out within the framework of spatial contacts and contacts of interest. However, then the gradual development of interest leads to the appearance of an individual's goal in relation to specific social objects. The moment of the appearance of the goal means an awareness of the situation by an individual and indicates a potential readiness for the performance of social action.
Thus, the mechanism of social action contains the need, interest and motivation.
The model of social action makes it possible to identify qualitative criteria for the effectiveness of the organization of social ties. If social ties can meet needs, realize their goals, then such ties can be recognized as reasonable. If this goal of interconnections does not allow this to be achieved, dissatisfaction, which encourages the restructuring of this system of ties is formed. For example, the transformation of recent years in our country. We tried to achieve an increase in the standard of living, greater freedom, first without achieving fundamental changes. But when they found out that, apparently, that solving these problems within the framework of socialist principles will not yield the desired result, the public began to grow in favor of more radical changes in the system of social relations.