Abstraction (sociology)

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Abstraction is generally defined as a conceptual process of complexity reduction that highlights the essential properties or first principles of a given object or idea. [1]

Benjamin Bratton of the Center for Design and Geopolitics referred to abstraction as a function of intelligence for an organism to “map its own surroundings,” particularly with respect to food, friend, or foe. The formalizing of modes of reasoning is but a projection of this “primordial abstraction.” As we evolve more complex forms of intelligence, ‘abstraction as mapping’ is the general principle of that complexification.[2]


Society is an abstract concept. Abstraction is also a social and material process. Society is also becoming increasingly abstract. These are a few fundamental ways in which abstraction is a vital concept in sociology.[3]