The social nature of being human
The social nature of being human

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The social nature of being human

3 Meaning as social

Described image
Figure 4 A social act

In this section, you will be exploring the topic of charitable giving, in particular examining the factors that can influence it. In so doing, a further aspect of the ‘social nature of being human’ will be focused on.

While in the previous two sections the social aspect of human existence was quite conspicuous and we had groups containing a sizeable quantity of people, this section will start with the image of a seemingly very intimate encounter: giving money to someone who is homeless. What is more, it may be thought that our motivation to give (or not to) is simply a function of our individual psyche: our individual attitudes, as standard social psychology textbooks would phrase it. So where is the ‘social’ in all this? As you will see in this section, these seemingly individual actions, experiences and attitudes actually occur in a context of perceptions and meanings that are always and inevitably socially shared and constructed. That is to say, although the act of giving involves a supposedly private thought in an individual’s head and a supposedly intimate act between two individuals, it is also a very social act and a function of a web of the political, cultural or moral meanings that are always socially constructed.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus