Historical Origins : The term 'serial killer' was coined in the mid 1970's by Robert K. Ressler(an FBI Behavioural Science Unit agent); before it was known as being a 'serial killer' it was referred to as a 'stranger killer' because the killers victims were usually unknown to him, but Ressler concluded that sometimes the killer did kill people he knew so the word 'serial'(by meaning series) applied to this sort of killer; the term serial killer was then adopted to and used. The first cases of serial killers probably go back into early times of history with no or few records; some of the oldest recorded serial killers are Gilles De Rais and Elisabeth Countess Bathory who go back into the 1500's(most of these old century killers were thought to be vampires or werewolves!). Jack the Ripper is widely seen as the first serial killer because the nature of the crimes(with the typical sexual motive) line up more with the more recent common ones, therefore serial killers are widely accepted to be only 125 years old.
Social Origins : What creates a serial killer in society, how do they transform into this murderous being. A serial killer is not born a serial killer, but is made into a serial killer. The one thing that is most common in serial killers is the childhoods and lifestyles, which are the same for all organized serial killers and the same for all disorganized serial killers. There is also the homicidal triad - one thing that a huge majority or serial killers have had in their childhood lives, be it one of the elements or all.
The Homicidal Triad -
To see more about the lifestyles, classifications and the childhood origins of the differently organized serial killers see : Organization. To go further into the question of how is a serial killer created in society is to take in factors such as why the killer did what he/she did. Serial killers have only been around since the late 19th century so what has the world done to produce these people? Is it the common differently organized childhood factors, but most people who have been brought up like this have not necessarily turned out to be serial killers. What has the world changed in our society the last 125 years to create these killers? Is it the stresses of families and problems that have plagued the community such as drugs and alcohol, or the ever lasting debates such as violence portrayed to the society, or pornography? One country that has lead the world in serial killers, the USA, has many of these problems just like many other countries do. But if the USA has about three quarters of all serial killers and only 6% of the world's population, the problem must be ahead there than anywhere else. If all serial killers of different organization all have common attributes in their lives then the problem must be there somewhere along the way. The real question still remains unknown as the serial killer rate still continues to rise.