Social criticism – What it is, definition and concept | 2023

Social criticism seeks to reform or improve those aspects of society that seem wrong or unfair. Even more so when it comes to relations between power and citizens.

Social criticism is nourished by social problems, it is its fuel. In a completely just and perfect society, such criticism would have no place.

This seeks to attack these problems and injustices and revoke them, making a more equitable society. Although social criticism is a very broad term due to everything it encompasses, it is worth noting its intensity with respect to elite-citizen power relations.

Origin and history of social criticism

Social criticism is as old as the history of man in society. Since the human being, a social being by nature, built the first societies, dissonant and critical voices have always emerged against the order and functioning of relationships between humans.

Do you find Economipedia useful?

If you often use our simple definitions we have good news for you.

Now you can learn through our online courses economy, investment and finance. The section we have created to help you advance professionally, in an effective and entertaining way.

We have the first texts of this social criticism in the West in ancient Greece. Philosophers like Plato or Aristotle have works that criticized the society in which they lived and proposed new social orders. These, according to their criteria, would be the fairest and most suitable.

Over the centuries, in each era, philosophers and dissenting voices have emerged suggesting a change in the status quo. Although there is a paradigm shift in the 19th century with the outbreak of revolutionary Marxist ideas, which would forever change social distribution.

See also  Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) | 2022

Types of social criticism

We can make a brief distinction around social criticism according to its object. Thus having, on the one hand, the criticism of power; and on the other, criticism of the rest of society:

  • Criticism of power: This focuses, as we mentioned before, on the relations between, on the one hand, the government, elites, and the powers that be. On the other hand, the rest of the citizens. Traditionally, these elites have always been seen as outside the daily problems of the rest of the world, and also dictate and force the rest of the world how they have to live and think. For this reason, subversive voices have always opted for the reduction of power on the part of these groups. This criticism, traditionally, has come from left-wing and liberal ideas.
  • Criticism of society: On the other hand, this is carried out to refer to the uses and customs of the people themselves. The religion in which they believe or practice, their idea about work, about leisure, about culture, traditions, vices, tendencies, morality, etc.


Contemporary social criticism has a series of pillars on which it focuses. Although something very important must be highlighted. Not all critical groups emphasize the same thing, nor are all cultures the same. A Westerner does not demand the same thing as a Muslim or an Oriental, they are different cultures and so can their demands.

Even so, we can see some criticisms and demands that may become common:

  • Equality between men and women.
  • Respect for the rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • Decent labor rights.
  • Freedoms for all citizens.
  • Economic conditions to develop a dignified life.
  • Respect for the safety and integrity of people.
  • Respect for all religious or spiritual beliefs.
See also  How to become attractive again for banks after being in Infocorp?

Leave a Comment