Socialism is popularly and normally defined in terms of its three different brands— Utopian Socialism, Scientific Socialism and Democratic Socialism.
These three broad brands however stand further divided into several others like Revolutionary Socialism Evolutionary Socialism, Fabian Socialism, State Socialism, Guild Socialism, Collectivism, Market Socialism and the like.
Before explaining any particular brand of Socialism, it becomes imperative for us to understand the basic features of the ideology of Socialism in general.
There is experienced a big difficulty in defining Socialism. The first difficulty is due to the fact that the word “Socialism” is used to denote both a set of principles and a political movement. Secondly, the set of principles called Socialism is not wholly or mainly political. It contains several economic and political principles which are so closely interwoven that it is not really possible to confine our description solely to the political aspects of Socialism.
The third difficulty originates from the fact that the socialists are a divided house. They are divided into a number of opposing schools which are separated by acute differences in respect of the aims and methods of socialism. Due to the presence of such disagreements, it becomes difficult to define it. Prof. Joad is right in saying “Socialism, in short, is like a hat that has lost its shape because everybody wears it.”
Socialism stands for securing social, economic and political justice and equality in society. Some of the socialists advocate the use of revolutionary means for achieving these goals while several others advocate the use of democratic, collective and peaceful means for securing these.