Social Science and Society Vocabulary
(Intermediate — Upper-Intermediate)


= the ability of people to progress in terms of salary, lifestyle and social status

The greatest aid to social mobility is good education and training.

 = the changes in society in terms of age, income, numbers, origins and location in a country

Demographic changes in Scandinavia have been dramatic, with substantial immigration and an
ageing indigenous population.

= countries considered to have advanced economies, industries and social infrastructure

Developed countries contribute aid to those nations affected by famine.

 = countries not generally considered to be fully developed yet

Illiteracy is a huge challenge for developing countries to overcome.

belief based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities.

He holds egalitarian views and believes that everybody should be treated equally.

the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities

The new management has taken steps to ensure equality in the office; from now on, everyone will receive the same money regardless of their sex or age.

Social Science and Society Vocabulary


Social Science and Society Vocabulary

a person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions.

a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

the roles or behaviour learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms.

распределение ролей

to be similar to an older person in your family

Peter’s very tall – he takes after his father.

the main part

The vast majority of residents co-operated fully with the authorities; they want their community pacified and free of drug dealers.

a sociological group that does not constitute a politically dominant voting majority of the total population of a given society.

a group that has different national or cultural traditions from the majority of the population

a large part of the population



= people who have children living in their existing family for a fixed period, with the original parents’ agreement.


Being a foster parent is a difficult and tiring role, I can imagine.

= people who are legally appointed to protect a child’s interests in the absence of parents.


In some countries, the government appoints a guardian if the parents die or experience severe difficulties.

to look after a child until he or she becomes an adult

She brought up three sons on her own.

He was brought up by his grandmother.

the treatment and instruction received by a child from its parents throughout its childhood.

Is it right to say all the crimes he committed were simply the result of his upbringing?

to break the marriage contract between oneself and the spouse

She divorced her husband.

Authoritarian parents have very high expectations of their children, yet provide very little in the way of feedback and nurturance. Mistakes tend to be punished harshly.

Lenient parents tend to be very loving, yet provide few guidelines and rules. These parents do not expect mature behavior from their children and often seem more like a friend than a parental figure.

Overprotective parents want to protect their children from harm, hurt and pain, unhappiness, bad experiences and rejection, hurt feelings, failure and disappointments. Parents in this category are fearful of everything when it comes to their children and expect bad things to happen.

to make children suffer because they have done something wrong

parents demanding that rules, especially rules about behaviour, should be obeyed

An abusive relationship is one where one thing mistreats or misuses another


a family which extends beyond the nuclear family to include grandparents and other relatives.

Devoted to her family and extended family, her greatest joy was spending quality time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

a couple and their dependent children, regarded as a basic social unit.

a family where there’s only one parent has a child or children but no husband, wife, or partner who lives with them

a person’s parents, brothers and sisters, husband or wife, and children.

strong bonds or connections between two or more family members; an obligation to one’s family.

a family structure which is common and popular in a particular country, society

also: cohabiting couples

the act of living and having a sexual relationship with someone you are not married to

a brother or sister
I have four siblings: three brothers and a sister.


mentally and emotionally stable child


Ребенок совсем от рук отбился

the period of time in a person’s life when they are developing into an adult

She had a troubled adolescence.

care for children provided by either the government, an organization, or a person, while parents are at work or are absent for another reason

What childcare facilities does your company offer?

Without the adequate provision of childcare, many women who wish to work are unable to do so.

Formative is a word that describes something that made you who you are.

You might call your adolescence your formative years because that time period had such a strong influence on the rest of your life

a measure of how many children are born during a period of time in a particular place

Officials expressed concern over Quebec’s declining birthrate.

Social Science and Society Vocabulary

Continue the sentences:

1 Firstly, I am going to talk about the role of the parent. Secondly and lastly, …..
2 Parenting is a difficult job because …….
3 Families are important because they form the basis for socialisation. Additionally, ….
4 The family structure has varied greatly over time. That is, ….
5 Many argue that less traditional structures are not as effective. However, ….
6 Many people are having families later in life. Consequently, ….
7 Families in other parts of the world differ from the western norm. For instance, …
8 Although there are many arguments for trying to keep the traditional family structure
strong, I feel the key issue is ….



said about people who have similar characters or interests, especially ones of which you disapprove, and who often spend time with each other

used to explain the phenomenon of dissimilar people taking a strong or romantic interest in each other.

you feel more affection for those you love when parted from them.


If two or more people get together, they meet each other, having arranged it before

Shall we get together on Friday and go for a drink or something?

I plan to get in touch with my friends when I return home.

Your parents are married for 15 years, they must have been through thick and thin together.

We’re friends for almost 30 years! Surely we’ve had our ups and downs.

They are well-matched.

It is hard to believe that Jacob and Sarah broke up. They were dating since high school.

As years went by, school friends drifted apart.

First, they were childhood friends, and in adulthood he fell for her!

He left the party after falling out with his girlfriend.

People get on like a house on fire when they like each other’s company and become friends very quickly.

I’m an outgoing person and I easily get on well with new people.

I thought Jenna was selfish until I got to know her and understood her real character.

I could not imagine that Laura will hit it off with Dylan! They are so different.

I keep in touch with my friends from high school, although we graduated five years ago.

I lost touch with Mary since she moved to Canada.


a person whose friendship cannot be relied on in times of difficulty

A lot of John’s friends turned out to be fair-weather friends. They were with him when he was rich and left him when he went bankrupt.

He has always been my close friend, he’s like a second family to me

I’m so glad my boyfriend is so kind and sympathetic, it’s good to always have a shoulder to cry on.

people ideally suited to each other

I think we should all be more careful in the use of the word ‘friend’. It does not, and should not, be applied to a casual acquaintance.

There are colleagues, allies and partners – all of them pretending to be friends because it suits their purpose.

There are colleagues, allies and partners – all of them pretending to be friends because it suits their purpose.


Russia and America were allies in the Second World War.

Joe owes his fast career growth to his friends in high places.


= people who have children living in their existing family for a fixed period, with the original parents’ agreement.


Being a foster parent is a difficult and tiring role, I can imagine.

love on first seeing or meeting someone.

a relationship that is purely spiritual and not physical. If a guy and a girl hang out all the time but aren’t boyfriend and girlfriend, they’d describe their friendship as platonic.

people, usually romantic or sexual partners, who have a special relationship, and who know and love each other very much

a companion for the whole life

a couple people in which are suitable for each other because they are similar


a person, team, or business that competes with another

We were business partners but now we’re bitter rivals.

a serious disagreement that separates two people who have been friends and stops their friendship

The marriage caused a rift between the brothers and they didn’t speak to each other for ten years.

the state of not agreeing or sharing opinions

A note of discord has crept into relations between the two countries.

There’s been a lot of discord in the office lately.


an argument that has existed for a long time between family members, causing a lot of anger or violence:

a ten-year-old feud between the two countries
a bitter feud over land

traditions, customs and laws

Social Science and Society Vocabulary

= people that children look to and respect as good examples

In some countries, the royal family are good role models for youngsters, although in other cases this is not the case.

= basic rules governing the way people can behave in a situation


During the school holidays, my parents had strict ground rules for what we could do outside.

= traditions or social norms that most people follow


It’s a convention for grandparents to live with their children in many countries.

 = voluntary rules which people accept in a situation


The Boy Scouts have a firm code of conduct, which seems to be a positive influence.

= ways of acting and doing things (either positive or negative)


Unfortunately, some children absorb dangerous patterns of behaviour when watching movies or playing computer games.

an unfair and unreasonable opinion or feeling, especially when formed without enough thought or knowledge

Laws against racial prejudice must be strictly enforced.

the basic rights that all people in a society should have, for example the right to be treated fairly by the law, the right to express their ideas, and the right to practise their religion

the civil rights movement of the 1960s

a civil rights leader/group/activist

the rights that everyone should have in a society, including the right to express opinions about the government or to have protection from harm

We must continue to stand up for human rights.

the traditions, features or qualities of a country that have continued over many generations

Social Actions

to force someone to leave a school, organization, or country

The new government has expelled all foreign diplomats.
My brother was expelled from school for bad behaviour.

Tenants who fall behind in their rent risk being evicted.
He was evicted from the bar for drunken and disorderly behaviour.

an occasion when a large number of people behave in a noisy, violent, and uncontrolled way in public, often as a protest

Inner-city riots erupted when a local man was shot by police.

In Afganistan, wasting food is frowned upon

an occasion when someone is unfriendly or shows that they do not like something

They showed open (= obvious) hostility to/towards their new neighbours.

violent action organized by a group of people who are trying to change the political system in their country
The government has brutally crushed the rebellion.

Anyone who deviates in any perceived way from the norm of a population may become subject to coarse or subtle forms of social exclusion.

to cause someone or a group of people to stop supporting and agreeing with you

All these changes to the newspaper have alienated its traditional readers.

to look for the protection given by a government to foreign people who have left their own country because they disagree with their own government

The number of people seeking political asylum in Britain has risen dramatically.


a place where women can go with their children in order to escape from a violent husband or partner

one of the services provided by a government or local council for people with social problems

services and support that people need in order to live decent lives, especially support with the tasks of daily living that is provided to people in their own homes

How we fund our social care system at a time of rapidly growing demand is a major challenge for the 21st century.

a group of houses or flats for people who cannot live in a completely independent way, for example because they are disabled. They can get help from trained staff when they need it.

a service that brings cooked meals to the homes of people who are too old or ill to cook for themselves


domestic violence

= the tendency for intelligent or successful workers to migrate out of a country 

Southern Europe is experiencing a high ‘brain drain’ these days, because of the lack of economic prospects.

 = war between people inside a country

It will take many years for our nation to recover from the civil war of the 1990s.

behaviour that annoys or upsets someone

Sexual harassment in the workplace is not a trivial matter.

the unfair situation at work when some people have more opportunities, privilege, etc. than other people

the unfair situation in society when people of one gender have more opportunities, money, etc. than people of another gender

the unfair situation in society when people of one race have more opportunities, money, etc. than people of other races

a district of a city marked by poverty

Authorities in Rio launched a fresh attack on organised crime by taking over the Mangueira slum close to the city’s famous Maracana Stadium.

oppose, as in hostility or a competition


The police had pre-announced the raid, a strategy that gives criminals the chance to leave the area rather than being confronted in densely populated areas.


not able to use part of your body or your mind because it has been damaged or does not work normally. This word is now considered offensive by many people, who prefer to say someone is disabled or has a disability

What’s the best way of improving theatre access for people who are physically handicapped?

the condition and social category of people who lack housing, because they cannot afford, or are otherwise unable to maintain, regular, safe, and adequate shelter.

the deprivation of common necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, all of which determine our quality of life.

occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, or spousal abuse but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners.

a set idea that people have about what someone or something is like, especially an idea that is wrong

He doesn’t conform to/fit/fill the national stereotype of a Frenchman.

I think I fit the popular stereotype of a mad scientist.

the policy of keeping one group of people apart from another and treating them differently, especially because of race, sex, or religion

Britain is becoming a segregated society with the gap between rich and poor reaching its highest level for more than 40 years, a report  showed today.

= riots, protests or fighting by the public against each other or the government

Social unrest is spreading from the countryside to the cities, and the police are not responding.

 = the long-term trend for people to migrate from the countryside to cities, leaving the rural areas with few people

Rural depopulation can cause huge problems with local infrastructure, as there aren’t enough people to run the services and transport.

a person who strong views not held by most members of society (e.g. a terrorist)

the activity of using the internet to harm or frighten another person, especially by sending them unpleasant messages

Schools are required to come up with ways to address cyberbullying.
In the past ten years, cyberbullying has become increasingly common among students.

pregnancy in teenage girls under the age of 20

the spread of a city into the area surrounding it, often without planning

Huge tourist attractions have produced choking urban sprawl.

the intentional ending of a pregnancy

She decided to have/get an abortion.
Abortion is restricted in some American states

the activity of fighting a war, often including the weapons and methods that are used

guerrilla/naval/nuclear/trench warfare

marriage between two people of the same sex

She’s against same-sex marriage.

the condition of being legally owned by someone else, or the system in which some people are owned by others

The American Civil War was fought between the North and the South partly over the issue of slavery.
France abolished slavery on April 27, 1848.

the crime of giving someone money or something else of value (bribes), often illegally, to persuade that person to do something you want

The organization was rife with bribery and corruption.
He was indicted in a bribery scandal over subway supply contracts.