A social structure is a group of people that interact together on a consistent basis. The family unit is the universal social structure. Think about your family. The parent or parents head the social structure, and the children are cared for and directed via that structure. Now throw the net out to your larger world. How about your classroom, your school, the clubs, and sports groups? These are social structures.
Social structures help us define who we are in a society and how we function in that society. Such things as our race, our economic status, and gender play a role in social structure.
We hear politicians discuss the social structure when they talk about marriage, divorce, welfare, and all the laws that govern our society. Some people see us changing our social structure too rapidly, others feel we are not moving quickly enough. Just look at how we have changed as a society by the Supreme Courts ruling allowing same sex marriage. Institutions and society are slow to change, but social structures do morph as the peoples' understanding of an issue changes.
Social structures exist in all societies and have an effect on how humans operate within society. These structures make up our society in which we live and are very organized. Most people do not even know that these social structures even exist and I did not either, until my studies in college. Social structures consist of social relationships, as well as any social institutions within a society. One example of a social structure is social class (upper-class, middle-class, and poor). The different social classes vary in the fact that they do not have access to the same resources that society has to offer. In addition, these social classes view one another differently. The interactions between one social class might be completely different from the interaction within another social class. Another example of a social structure is the different levels of government. For example: the federal, state, and municipal levels of government.