What Is Social Climate?

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The term “social climate” is a sociological term that refers to the general feelings, attitudes, beliefs and opinions on a subject within society. Social climate is closely related to ideas such as the political climate, which refers to the general feelings of the public about modern political issues, and the Zeitgeist school of thought, which refers to the dominant intellectual beliefs of society during a particular time frame.

One can consider social climate to be how a population feels about particular issues affecting a given time. These beliefs and opinions often arise from prominent individuals in society who share their beliefs and accomplishments on a mass scale, leading others to adopt those beliefs. Some main subsets of the social climate in America are the racial, political, and economic climates.

Some important shifts in social climate can be observed throughout history, such as the enlightenment of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, when Individualism began to dominate sociopolitical schools of thought, and the 1960s in America, when the culture began emphasizing changes regarding sexual freedom, women’s rights and pacifism. The Western world is in what has been dubbed “the information age,” and issues such as technological advancement and social media are at the forefront of the modern social climate.