Jacobin Magazine and Verso Books are producing a series of weekly podcasts over the course of March that address chapters from one of our required texts, The ABCs of Socialism. Nivedita Majumdar’s remarks are significant for a number of reasons, though in a US context one insight here might be that capitalist identity politics is a core element of the defense of socioeconomic inequality (see also Touré F. Reed’s Why Liberals Separate Race from Class or Nancy Fraser’s article “The End of Progressive Neoliberalism” on the course information page).
I really do think you could argue that students use the word “societal” rather than “social” because of capitalist ideology.
“The realist novel represents one of the great revolutionary cultural forms of human history. In the domain of culture, it has something like the importance of steam power or electricity in the material realm, or of democracy in in the political sphere. For art to depict the world in its everyday, unregenerate state is now so familiar that it is impossible to recapture its shattering originality when it first emerged. I doing so, art finally returned the world to the common people who had created it through their labour, and who could now contemplate their own faces in it for the first time.”
— Terry Eagleton
This “apology” for Brutalism by Darren Bradley is useful: http://modernistarchitecture.blogspot.com/2013/07/an-apology-for-brutalism.html
For example: “Architects saw themselves as social engineers, shaping the way people lived.”
Who does this remind you of?