What is Social Process? Definition, Meaning, and Types

What is Social Process? (Social Interaction)

Society is defined as a web of social relationships. These social relationships may be understood by the kind of interactions they exhibit. The ways in which individuals and groups interact and establish social relationships is called the ‘social process’. Social processes also refer to forms of social interaction that occur repeatedly.

Various social processes (i.e. social interactions) occur in society. These social processes are part of social life. Social processes have a role in shaping society, helping to adjust the parts and maintain the social system as a whole in one way or the other.

For e.g. socialization, cooperation, conflict, competition, accommodation, adaptation, acculturation, assimilation, globalization, isolation, differentiation, integration, disintegration, etc. are some of the significant social processes.


Some definitions of social processes are:

  • Ginsberg says, “Social processes mean the various modes of interaction between individuals or groups including cooperation and conflict, social differentiation and integration, development, arrest, and decay”.
  • According to Horton and Hunt, “The term social process refers to the repetitive form of behavior which is commonly found in social life.”

Types of Social Process

Although there are hundreds of social processes, only some social processes are found to appear repeatedly in society. These social processes can broadly be divided into two main categories:

Associative or Conjunctive

A social process that leads to positive results is called an associative or conjunctive social process. These social processes work for the solidarity and benefit of society. These are also known as conjunctive social processes. Socialization, cooperation, adaptation, accommodation, assimilation, acculturation, etc. are examples of associative social processes.

Dissociative or Disjunctive

A social process that leads to negative results is called dissociative processes. These social processes result in the disintegration of society. These are also known as disjunctive social processes. Competition, conflict, contravention, isolation, etc. are examples of dissociative social processes.

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