Socialism is the theory and practice directed toward shared ownership and collective property holding of social goods and services. Socialism has been enormously influential in sociology and social theory, because it shares the root concern with the social. Socialism is often identified with Marxism, but this is misleading. Socialism precedes Marxism by 50 years. The word socialism came into use in the 1820s. It is also larger and more varied than Marxism, for its usages refer to a wider range of places than Western Europe, where classical Marxism emanates from Germany, and to a broader set of claims and practices than the idea of scientific socialism.

In its earliest usages, the term socialism was reactive, but less against the idea of capitalism than against the ...

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