The term that now concerns us we can determine that it has its etymological origin in Latin as evidenced by the fact that the two words that comprise it come from the mentioned language. So, first, action is the result of the sum of the word actus, which translates as “done” and the suffix – tion, which is equivalent to “action and effect.”
Secondly, the word social comes from the Latin concept socius, which acts as a synonym for “companion”.
According to Digopaul, the concept of social action belongs to the universe of sociology, which is the science that is dedicated to the study of social groups. In its broadest meaning, a social action is one that affects the behavior of others. The sociologist Max Weber considered four types of social action: the traditional one (related to customs), the affective one (related to emotions), the rational one according to values (guided by a moral norm) and the one destined to obtain a rational end.
Beyond this definition, programs and aid are usually referred to as social action, which are generally complementary to the welfare benefits provided by the State, although there is also state social action.
In this sense, the main objective of social action is to satisfy basic needs that, for different reasons, a group of the population cannot satisfy. In this way, social action can be aimed at promoting education or distributing food, for example.
Thus, for example, in the case of Colombia, there is an organization for social action called the Department for Social Prosperity, whose clear mission is to achieve a series of specific objectives that revolve around this principle. Aims these to achieve such as the development of social inclusion plans, the coordination and creation of opportunities for the poor population, the implementation of actions for the protection of children and families in situations of vulnerability or neglect…
In Spain, for its part, it is worth highlighting the NGO Platform for Social Action, which is characterized by being state, non-profit, private and non-denominational. With its implementation and its work, what it intends is to carry out all kinds of plans and projects with which the set of rights of citizens belonging to the most vulnerable groups is promoted and developed. Specifically, this body is made up of more than twenty NGOs.
On the other hand, social action also appears at specific times, in the face of natural catastrophes or emergency situations. A province that suffers from drought can be the recipient of social action from the rest of the country. The same with a nation that is at war and can receive assistance from its neighboring countries to help the civilian population that is affected by the conflict.
In other words, this type of action aims to transform the state of things to achieve another state with a higher quality of life. Social action pursues the common good and does not seek to satisfy personal interests.