Social/societal ?

Kathe19

Senior Member
Polish
Hi !

Is there any difference between 'societal' and 'social' ? Here are some examples.

Societal collapse is the large scale breakdown or long term decline of the culture, civil institutions...

The main UK parties must unite around policies that will "avert social collapse" caused by rising violent crime and disorder, say two senior MPs.

Are they intersubstitutable in these contexts?

Thanks
 
  • Kathe19

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Does anybody know a context where these two don't mean the same ? I can't find one as I really have no idea what the difference is.

    Thanks
     

    Franzi

    Senior Member
    (San Francisco) English
    Does anybody know a context where these two don't mean the same ? I can't find one as I really have no idea what the difference is.
    Here is one explanation: http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/social.html

    Here is a blog discussion of the words: http://weblogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/?p=171


    I would say that they are often interchangeable, but the differences are that there are some set phrases that normally use one and not the other ("social issues", "the social order") and that one may sound more formal (or pretentious) than the other in a given context.
     
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