Socialists believe that society plays a crucial role in shaping human behavior and characteristics. They argue that individuals are heavily influenced by their societal environment, especially the economic systems and distribution of resources within it. Unlike liberals who focus on enhancing human freedom to improve society, socialists advocate for restructuring society to achieve greater fairness. Socialists place significant importance on social class in determining an individual's opportunities and life prospects. Disparities in life expectancy between affluent and impoverished regions, according to socialists, are not solely due to luck or personal choices but are a result of societal structures and inequality. Radical socialists view society as designed to benefit a select few at the expense of the majority. To rectify this, society, particularly in terms of economic power and resource allocation, must be reorganized to promote fairness. In essence, socialists view inequality as a significant issue that must be addressed. They argue for the provision of equal opportunities and a more equitable distribution of outcomes. Socialists advocate for reducing the wealth gap between the wealthiest and the poorest members of society. Nevertheless, there are differing opinions among socialists regarding the extent and methods of societal transformation required. 

Contrary to conservative beliefs that view society as an 'organic whole,' socialists typically adopt a conflict theory of society, where social class is considered the most profound and politically significant social division. Socialist class politics manifest in two ways. Initially, social class serves as an analytical tool, with socialists asserting that individuals tend to act in unison with those who share similar economic positions or interests. In this view, social classes, not individuals, are the primary agents of historical change, as exemplified by the Marxist concept of historical transformation resulting from class conflict. The second aspect of socialist class politics is centered on the working class, emphasizing political struggle and liberation. Socialism is often seen as advocating for the interests of the working class, positioning them as the driving force behind socialist ideals. However, socialists do not consider social class as a permanent societal fixture; envisioning socialist societies as either devoid of classes or marked by significantly reduced class disparities. By freeing themselves from capitalist exploitation, the working class simultaneously sheds its class identity, evolving into fully realized individuals. Despite this, socialists remain divided on the nature and significance of social class. In the Marxist framework, class is intertwined with economic power based on one's relationship to the means of production. This perspective delineates class divisions as conflicts between 'capital' and 'labour' – the bourgeoisie, who own productive wealth, and the proletariat, who sustain themselves through labor sales. The Marxist model illustrates an inherent conflict between the bourgeoisie and proletariat, culminating in the proletariat's overthrow of capitalism through revolution. Conversely, social democrats define social class in terms of income and status distinctions between 'white-collar' or non-manual workers (middle class) and 'blue-collar' or manual laborers (working class). Social democrats advocate for the advancement of socialism through bridging gaps between the middle and working classes via economic and social measures, aiming for social improvement and class unity over social division and conflict.