Social structures are constructions of groups of people in which common elements have created some sort of connectivity between individuals. According to Martin (2009), social structures “come from the crystallization of relationships” (p. 2). One can turn to Georg Simmel for his theories on social structures in which the relationships formed a web in which connections were made between individuals that were tied by a common thread. Society is then identified as a “set of permanent interactions” (p. 2). In looking at the combined theories of both Simmel and Durkheim, it can be said that while society seems like something that is outside of the individual, in truth, it is the “aggregate of our actions” (Martin 2009). Social constructions are the systems through which society is enacted. The social structures that are built within a society are strong and can hold a great deal of power over the individuals within those societies. The nature of a social structure is to be defined by the ways in which it creates rules for the individuals within the group to live. Those rules are defined by a set of different ideas, such as law, social conformity, social appropriateness, and religious constraints. The rules that are developed are dependent upon the purpose and the focus of the social structures. Conformity, even when non-conformist ideas are a part of the structure, is almost universally accepted as the way in which to get along with the group as a whole, rather than to set oneself outside of the social structure.
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