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Social Change

The term social change is used to indicate the changes that take place in human interactions and interrelations. Society is a web of social relationships and hence social change means change in the system of social relationships. These are understood in terms of social processes and social interactions and social organization.Auguste Comte the father of Sociology has posed two problems- the question of social statics and the question of social dynamics, what is and how it changes. The sociologists not only outline the structure of the society but also seek to know its causes also. According to Morris Ginsberg social change is a change in the social structure. Evolutionary Theories Evolutionary theories are based on the assumption that societies gradually change from simple beginnings into even more complex forms. Early sociologists beginning with Auguste Comte believed that human societies evolve in a unilinear way- that is in one line of development. According to them social change meant progress toward something better. They saw change as positive and beneficial. To them the evolutionary process implied that societies would necessarily reach new and higher levels of civilization. L.H Morgan believed that there were three basic stages in the process: savagery, barbarism and civilization.Auguste Comte's ideas relating to the three stages in the development of human thought and also of society namely-the theological, the metaphysical and the positive in a way represent the three basic stages of social change. This evolutionary view of social change was highly influenced by Charles Darwin's theory of Organic Evolution. Those who were fascinated by this theory applied it to the human society and argued that societies must have evolved from the simple and primitive to that of too complex and advanced such as the western society. Herbert Spencer a British sociologist carried this analogy to its extremity. He argued that society itself is an organism. He even applied Darwin's principle of the survival of the fittest to human societies. He said that society has been gradually progressing towards a better state. He argued that it has evolved from military society to the industrial society. He claimed that western races, classes or societies had survived and evolved because they were better adapted to face the conditions of life. This view known as social Darwinism got widespread popularity in the late 19th century. It survived even during the first phase of the 20th century. Emile Durkheim identified the cause of societal evolution as a society's increasing moral density.Durkheim viewed societies as changing in the direction of greater differentiation, interdependence and formal control under the pressure of increasing moral density. He advocated that societies have evolved from a relatively undifferentiated social structure with minimum of division of labor and with a kind of solidarity called mechanical solidarity to a more differentiated social structure with maximum division of labor giving rise to a kind of solidarity called

organ solidarity.Cyclical theories: Cyclical theories of social change focus on the rise and fall of civilizations attempting to discover and account for these patterns of growth and decay.Spengler, Toynbee and Sorokin can be regarded as the champions of this theory.Spengler pointed out that the fate of civilizations was a matter of destiny. Each civilization is like a biological organism and has a similar life-cycle, birth, maturity, old-age and death. After making a study of eight major civilizations including the west he said that the modern western society is in the last stage i.e. old age. He concluded that the western societies were entering a period of decay as evidenced by wars, conflicts and social breakdown that heralded their doom. Toynbee Arnold Toynbee's famous book 'A study of History' (1946) focus on the key concepts of challenge and response. Every society faces challenges at first, challenges posed by the environment and later challenges from internal and external enemies. The nature of responses determines the society's fate. The achievements of a civilization consist of its successful responses to the challenges; if cannot mount an effective response it dies. He does not believe that all civilizations will inevitably decay. He has pointed out that history is a series of cycles of decay and growth. But each new civilization is able to learn from the mistakes and to borrow from cultures of others. It is therefore possible for each new cycle to offer higher level of achievement. Sorokin Pitirin Sorokin in his book Social and Culture Dynamics - 1938 has offered another explanation of social change. Instead of viewing civilization into the terms of development and decline he proposed that they alternate of fluctuate between two cultural extremes: the sensate and the ideational. The sensate culture stresses those things which can be perceived directly by the senses. It is practical, hedonistic, sensual and materialistic. Ideational culture emphasizes those things which can be perceived only by the mind. It is abstract, religious concerned with faith and ultimate truth. It is the opposite of the sensate culture. Both represent pure types of culture. Hence no society ever fully conforms to either type. As the culture of a society develops towards one pure type, it is countered by the opposing cultural force. Cultural development is then reversed moving towards the opposite type of culture. Too much emphasis on one type of culture leads to a reaction towards the other. Societies contain both these impulses in varying degrees and the tension between them creates long-term instability. Between these types lies a third type 'idealistic' culture. This is a desirable blend of other two but no society ever seems to have achieved it as a stable condition.

Functionalist or Dynamic Theories In the middle decades of the 20th century a number of American sociologists shifted their attention from social dynamics to social static or from social change to social stability.Talcott Parsons stressed the importance of cultural patterns in controlling the stability of a society. According to him society has the ability to absorb disruptive forces while maintaining overall stability. Change is not as something that disturbs the social equilibrium but as something that alters the state of equilibrium so that a qualitatively new equilibrium results. He has stated that changes may arise from two sources. They may come from outside the society through contact with other societies. They may also come from inside the society through adjustment that must be made to resolve strains within the system. Parsons speaks of two processes that are at work in social change. In simple societies institutions are undifferentiated that is a single institution serves many functions. The family performs reproductive, educational, socializing, economic, recreational and other functions. A process of differentiation takes place when the society becomes more and more complex. Different institutions such as school, factory may take over some of the functions of a family. The new institutions must be linked together in a proper way by the process of integration. New norms must be established in order to govern the relationship between the school and the home. Further bridging institutions such as law courts must resolve conflicts between other components in the system. Conflict Theories Whereas the equilibrium theories emphasize the stabilizing processes at work in social systems the so-called conflict theories highlight the forces producing instability, struggle and social disorganization. According to Ralf Dahrendorf the conflict theories assume that - every society is subjected at every moment to change, hence social change is ubiquitous. Every society experiences at every moment social conflict, hence social conflict is ubiquitous. Every element in society contributes to change. Every society rests on constraint of some of its members by others. The most famous and influential of the conflict theories is the one put forward by Karl Marx who along with Engel wrote in Communist Manifesto 'all history is the history of class conflict.' Individuals and groups with opposing interests are bound to be at conflict. Since the two major social classes the rich and poor or capitalists and the proletariat have mutually hostile interests they are at conflict. History is the story of conflict between the exploiter and the exploited. This conflict repeats itself off and on until capitalism is overthrown by the workers and a socialist state is created. What is to be stressed here is that Marx and other conflict theorists deem society as basically dynamic and not static. They consider conflict as a normal process. They also believe that the existing conditions in any society contain the seeds of future social changes. Like Karl Marx George Simmel too stressed the importance of conflict in

social change. According to him conflict is a permanent feature of society and not just a temporary event. It is a process that binds people together in interaction. Further conflict encourages people of similar interests to unite together to achieve their objectives. Continuous conflict in this way keeps society dynamic and ever changing. Factors of Change Physical Environment: Major changes in the physical environment are very compelling when they happen. The desert wastes of North Africa were once green and well populated. Climates change, soil erodes and lakes gradually turn into swamps and finally plains. A culture is greatly affected by such changes although sometimes they come about so slowly that they are largely unnoticed. Human misuse can bring very rapid changes in physical environment which in turn change the social and cultural life of a people. Deforestation brings land erosion and reduces rainfall. Much of the wasteland and desert land of the world is a testament to human ignorance and misuse. Environmental destruction has been at least a contributing factor in the fall of most great civilization. Many human groups throughout history have changed their physical environment through migration. In the primitive societies whose members are very directly dependent upon their physical environment migration to a different environment brings major changes in the culture. Civilization makes it easy to transport a culture and practice it in a new and different environment. Population changes: A population change is itself a social change but also becomes a casual factor in further social and cultural changes. When a thinly settled frontier fills up with people the hospitality pattern fades away, secondary group relations multiply, institutional structures grow more elaborate and many other changes follow. A stable population may be able to resist change but a rapidly growing population must migrate, improve its productivity or starve. Great historic migrations and conquests of the Huns, Vikings and many others have arisen from the pressure of a growing population upon limited resources. Migration encourages further change for it brings a group into a new environment subjects it to new social contacts and confronts it with new problems. No major population change leaves the culture unchanged. Isolation and Contact: Societies located at world crossroads have always been centers of change. Since most new traits come through diffusion, those societies in closest contact with other societies are likely to change most rapidly. In ancient times of overland transport, the land bridge connecting Asia, Africa and Europe was the centre of civilizing change. Later sailing vessels shifted the centre to the fringes of the Mediterranean Sea and still later to the north- west coast of Europe. Areas of greatest intercultural contact are the

centers of change. War and trade have always brought intercultural contact and today tourism is adding to the contacts between cultures says Greenwood. Conversely isolated areas are centers of stability, conservatism and resistance to change. The most primitive tribes have been those who were the most isolated like the polar Eskimos or the Aranda of Central Australia. Rural - Urban Continuum Some sociologists have used the concept of rural-urban continuum to stress the idea that there are no sharp breaking points to be found in the degree or quantity of rural urban differences. Robert Redfield has given the concept of rural -urban continuum on the basis of his study of Mexican peasants of Tepoztlain.The rapid process of urbanization through the establishment of industries, urban traits and facilities have decreased the differences between villages and cities. There are some sociologists whose treat rural-urban as dichotomous categories have differentiated the two at various levels including occupational differences, environmental differences, differences in the sizes of communities, differences in the density of population, differences in social mobility and direction of migration, differences in social stratification and in the systems of social interaction. A third view regarding rural and urban communities has been given by Pocock who believe that both village and city are elements of the same civilization and hence neither rural urban dichotomy, nor continuum is meaningful. M.S.A. Rao points out in the Indian context that although both village and town formed part of the same civilization characterized by institution of kinship and caste system in pre-British India, there were certain specific institutional forms and organizational ways distinguishing social and cultural life in towns form that in village. Thus, according to Rao, Rural Urban continuum makes more sense. Ghurye believes that urbanization is migration of people from village to city and the impact it has on the migrants and their families. Maclver remarks that though the communities are normally divided into rural and urban the line of demarcation is not always clear between these two types of communities. There is no sharp demarcation to tell where the city ends and country begins. Every village possesses some elements of the city and every city carries some features of the village. R.K Mukherjee prefers the continuum model by talking of the degree of urbanization as a useful conceptual tool for understanding rural-urban relations. P.A Sorokin and Zimmerman in 'Principles of Rural-Urban sociology have stated that the factors distinguishing rural from urban communities include occupation, size and density of population as well as mobility, differentiation and stratification.

Urban Sociological Theories The classical theories of urban sociology are divided from the works of European sociologists like KarlMarx, Tonnies, George Simmel, Max Weber and those of American namely Park Burgess, Lowis Wirth and Redfield. The reflections of the earlier sociologists throw light on the anti-urban feelings. The great city, metropolis a paradigm of an inhuman, debasing social environment for Tonnies.Simmel felt that the money economy of the cities destroyed the social life. Weber and Wirth explained how mass urbanization nullified opportunities or political participation. Charles Booth and Rowntree wrote the sociography of life in the cities. Marx and Engels condemned the consequences of urbanization under capitalism. They viewed the concentration and misery of the mass of workers in the new urban agglomerations as a necessary stage in the creation of a revolutionary force. For them pauperization and material degradation was one aspect of urbanization but equally important was the destruction of the social nexus of the traditional community and its replacement by the utilitarian world of the city. Both for theory and practice communism depended on urbanism. Mumford in his book 'The city in history' sees cities as enlarging all dimensions of life as the scattered as the scattered activities of society are brought together so releasing the energies of mankind in a tremendous explosion of creativity. The city has augmented capabilities for participation and widened the basis of personal experience. In the writings of Neo-Marxists like Mills, Marcuse, Fromm there is a consensus that conditions of capitalist urbanization are mutilative of the personality, inhibitive of community formation, destructive of social engagement or involvement and conducive to apathy, alienation and anomie. Class consciousness is inhibited and diverted in mass movements, unreason and not reason typifies social response. Sociologists from Tonnies to Wirth developed counter-theory to Marxism for the explication of social change led to acceptance of a fundamental cleavage between rural and urban, tradition and modernism which was in sharp opposition to any variant on Marxist theories of developement.The urban is accepted as a frame of reference and the urban society as a specific mode of social organization becomes the object of scientific study. Tonnies in his book Community and Society explained the impact of the market economy on traditional forms of social association; the implications of urbanization and the development of the state for the conduct of social life and the mechanisms of social solidarity in an individualized society. The distinction he draws between the two forms of human association, gemeniscaft and gesellschaft has become the basis for a succession of typologies of which the best known are the pattern variables formulated by Parsons and folk-urban typology drawn by Redfield and Wirth. George Simmel presents social interaction in terms of abstract categories. The study of society could only proceed by means of logical analysis of the forms of association. The forms are cognitive categories.Simmel belonged to the neo-Kantian tradition which frankly denies the possibility of the study of the natural or the social world without selection and ordering by the observer.Simmel was trying to expound on three themes; first the consequences of a money economy for social relationships. Second the

significance of numbers for social life and lastly the scope for the maintenance of independence and individuality against the sovereign powers of society. Max Weber in his 'The City' has defined the city on the basis of political and administrative conception. To constitute a full urban community a settlement must display a relative predominance of trade- commercial relations with the settlement as a whole displaying the following features: - fortification - market - a court of its own and at least partially autonomous law - a related form of association - partial autonomy and voting rights. Weber rejects cities governed by religious groups or where the authority is enforced on personal rather than universalistic basis. He recounts a process in which the development of the rational-legal institutions that characterize the modern city enabled the individual to be free from the traditional groups and therefore develop his individuality. He emphasizes the closure, autonomy and separateness of the urban community and stressed that the historical peculiarities of the medieval city were due to the location of the city with in the total medieval political and social organization. Urban Growth and Urbanization Urbanization is the movement of population from rural to urban areas and the resulting increasing proportion of a population that resides in urban rather than rural places. It is derived from the Latin 'Urbs' a term used by the Romans to a city. Urban sociology is the sociology of urban living; of people in groups and social relationship in urban social circumstances and situation. Thompson Warren has defined it as the movement of people from communities concerned chiefly or solely with agriculture to other communities generally larger whose activities are primarily centered in government, trade, manufacture or allied interests. Urbanization is a two-way process because it involves not only movement from village to cities and change from agricultural occupation to business, trade, service and profession but it also involves change in the migrants attitudes, beliefs, values and behavior patterns. The process of urbanization is rapid all over the world. The facilities like education, healthcare system, employment avenues, civic facilities and social welfare are reasons attracting people to urban areas. The census of India defines some criteria for urbanization. These are: Population is more than 5000 The density is over 400 persons per 75% of the male population engages in non-agricultural occupations. Cities are urban areas with population more than one lakh. Metropolises are cities with population of more than one million.

Urbanism Urbanism is a way of life. It reflects an organization of society in terms of a complex division of labour, high levels of technology, high mobility, interdependence of its members in fulfilling economic functions and impersonality in social relations. Louis Wirth has given four characteristics of urbanism Transiency: An urban inhabitant's relation with others last only for a short time; he tends to forget his old acquaintances and develop relations with new people. Since he is not much attached to his neighbors members of the social groups, he does not mind leaving them. Superficiality: An urban person has the limited number of persons with whom he interacts and his relations with them are impersonal and formal. People meet each other in highly segmental roles. They are dependent on more people for the satisfaction of their life needs. Anonymity: Urbanities do not know each other intimately. Personal mutual acquaintance between the inhabitants which ordinarily is found in a neighborhood is lacking. Individualism: People give more importance to their own vested interests. Town The town is intermediate between rural and urban communities. It is too large for all inhabitants to be acquainted with one another, yet small enough for informal relationships to predominate. Social behavior more closely resembles the rural than the metropolitan city pattern. Towns are places with population of 5,000 and more. Three conditions of a place being classified as a town are: The population is more than 5,000. The density is not less than 400 Not less than 75% of the adult male population is engaged in non -agricultural activities. City Cities become possible when an agricultural surplus develops together with improved means of transportation and tend to be located at breaks in transportation. The most significant current developments in city structure are the metropolitan area including the suburb which accounts for current population growth. The city pulls people from various corners towards its nucleus. The rural people faced with various economic problems are attracted by the city and start moving towards the cities. The city provides ample opportunities for personal advancement. It is the centre of brisk economic, commercial, artistic, literary, political, educational, technological, scientific and other activities.

Cities are not only the controlling centers of their societies but also the source of innovation and change. They act as the source of new ideas for production, the pace -setters for consumption, guardians of culture and conservers of order in society. Consensus and continuity in a society are maintained from the city centres.Urban culture has become the legitimation for control. Walter Christaller explained the location of urban cities in terms of their functions as service centres.The basic assumption was that a given rural area supports an urban centre which in turn serves the surrounding countryside. There are smaller towns for smaller areas and bigger cities for larger regions. This concept permitted Christaller to build up an integrated system of cities according to their size. His views conceiving a city as a central place within a rural area was elaborated by Edward L.Ullman with considerable modifications. He admits the vulnerability of the scheme for larger places. In highly industrialized areas the central place schemes is generally distorted by industrial concentration in response to resources and transportation that it may be said to have little significance as an explanation for urban location and distribution. Hyot in his sector theory talked about the growth of cities taking place in sectors and these sectors extend from the centre to periphery. The concentric zone theory given by Park and Burgess suggested that modern cities consisted of a series of concentric zones. There are five such zones Central business district Zone in transition Zone of working population Residential zone Commuter's zone Gans and Lewis through compositional theory hold that the composition of a city's population differs from that of a small town in terms of factors such as class, education, ethnicity and marital status. Multiple Nuclie theory given by Harris and Ullman discuss that there is not one centre but several centers for the city. Each of the centers tend to specialize in a particular kind of activity-retailing, wholesaling, finance, recreation, education,government.Several centers may have existed from the beginning of the city or many have developed later in a division from one centre. According to Castells to understand cities and urbanism one has to understand the process by which spatial forms are created and transformed. The architecture of cities expresses the struggles and conflicts between different groups in society. City is not only a distinct location but also as an integral part of processes of collective consumption.

Features of Urban Society i. The urban society is heterogeneous known for its diversity and complexity. ii. It is dominated by secondary relations. iii. Formal means of social control such as law, legislation, police, and court are needed in addition to the informal means for regulating the behavior of the people. iv. The urban society is mobile and open. It provides more chances for social mobility. The status is achieved than ascribed. v. Occupations are more specialized. There is widespread division of labor and specialization opportunities for pursuing occupations are numerous. vi. Family is said to be unstable. More than the family individual is given importance. Joint families are comparatively less in number. vii. People are more class -conscious and progressive .They welcome changes. They are exposed to the modern developments in the fields of science and technology. viii. Urban community is a complex multigroup society. ix. The urban community replaced consensus by dissensus.The social organization is atomistic and illdefined.It is characterized by disorganization, mental illness and anomie. x. Mass education is widespread in the city increasing democratization of the organizations and institutions demand formal education. Features of Industrial City A large sprawling open city housing a large percent of the population of the society. Relatively low segregation; few outward symbols, segregation based on race. Good transportation and communication. A manufacturing, finance and coordinating centre of an industrial society. A fluid class structure with an elite of businessmen, professionals and scientists. A large middle class with technologically related jobs. Wealth by salaries, fees, investment.High status of business activity. Unionization at a national level. Specialization of production and marketing .Large service sector, fixed price.

Time important and regular work schedule. Standardization of process and quality. Formal public opinion with a bureaucracy based on technical criteria. A weak religious institution separate from other institutions dominated by the middle class. Standardization of religious experience marked by the disappearance of magic. Technical and secular education for the masses. Urban Ecological Processes It means whereby spatial distribution of people and activities change. They include: Centralization clustering of economic and service functions. Concentration tendency of people and activities to cluster together. Decentralization flight of people and activities from the centre of the city. Invasion entrance of new kind of people or activity into an area. Segregation concentration of a certain type of people or activities within a particular area. Succession completed replacement of one kind of people or activity by another. Impact of Automation on Society It speeds up the developmental processes of the society. It increases production. Brings further technological changes like information technology. Extreme industrialization Replacement of human labor with machines. Increase in profit margins Distance reduction through technological advancements in the field of communication network.

Makes life dependent on latest gizmos and equipments. Disadvantages Norms and values take backseat. Turns human beings into alienated beings. Social distance between the people within a society and diminishing impact on the primary relations. Increase in problem of unemployment. Increasing gap between rich and poor will lead to social inequalities. Will affect the relations of people within the society. Environment When physical, chemical and biological projects of the different components of environment: air, water, soil, noise change to the detriment of living of humans it may be said that environment has been affected. Many developing countries are placing more and more reliance on industrialization. It is not only a mechanical but also a social process. Therefore it affects the environment physically as well as socio-culturally. All aspects of pollution are directly or indirectly related to human health and well being. The excessive growth and rush of people from villages to urban areas resulting in over crowding of cities. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have led to an increase in environmental pollutant load that poses serious public health problem. It also affects the socio-cultural environment with the close ties of groups coming under pressure. Traditional ties are replaced with new work based ones. Religion becomes secular. Thus industrialization affects the social fabric making the society more materialistic. Terms First urban revolution: The historical emergence of cities and urbanism. Urbanism: The pattern of behaviour, relationships and modes of thought characteristic of urban life. Sociological city: A relatively large dense permanent settlement of socially heterogeneous persons. Geographic city: The continuously built-up area in and around the legal city.

Legal city: A municipal corporation occupying a defined geographical area subject to a legal control of the state. Second urban revolution: The historical transformation of a city accomplished by the industrial revolution which turned the city into an industrial centre. Metropolis: The legal city together with the built up area surrounding it. Third urban revolution: The urbanization of the entire world population but sometimes specifically used to include the special form of city emerging in the developing nations and the growth of megalopolitan forms of super cities. Suburbanization: The growth of a ring of relatively small communities around the central city and the movement of urban population to them. Contemporarily associated with urban sprawl and deterioration of the central city. Suburb: A community on the urban fringe. These are of two types- residential and satellite Ghetto: An urban ethnic or racial community often confused with slum. A ghetto may also be a slum. Slum: An urban residential area characterized by over crowding and sub-standard way of living. Urban concentration: It is the tendency of people and activities to cluster together. Urban decentralization: When people go away from the centre of the city. Metropolitan Fringe: It is on the outskirts of many industrial cities which are meant for commuter housing. Distinctive life-styles prevail between middle class commuters and old working class. Primate city: An urban form now emerging in developing nations where one city dominates the entire society. Gentrification: Renovation of decaying urban areas for occupancy by middle or upper class residents. Talcott Parsons universalistic -achievement pattern variable is central to the industrial society. Touraine described the Post Industrial Society as technocratic society. Maclver emphasized that urban life has fostered the individualization of women. Spengler has described cities as sinks of civilization.

E.E Muntz has classified cities on the basis of their principal activities. Ullman has defined the city as a relatively large, dense and permanent settlement of socially heterogeneous individuals. Redfield has remarked that urban groups have a reputation for namelessness. Christaller is associated with the central place theory. Burgess put forward the concentric zone hypothesis on a diagrammatic study of Chicago. The town encourages associative individualism. Commuter's zone is also called bedroom community. Hyat has emphasized the importance of transportation routes in the expansion of a city. The compositional theory is based on rural-urban differences. The culture of poverty refers to slums. Migrants from rural to urban areas adjust more smoothly to city life it they maintain kinship ties. Oscar Lewis has given the concept of culture of poverty. Wirth has remarked that urbanism is a way of life whereas urbanization is a process. Maclver says that cities grow wherever a society or a group within it gains control over resources greater than are necessary for the mere sustenance of life. Robert Redfield has given four characteristics of little community. These aredistinctiveness, smallness, homogeneity and self-sufficiency. Ravenstein has developed the theory of step-migration. Marx perceived the petty bourgeois to be a transitional class. Weber believed greater bureaucratization would lead to greater alienation. Singer and Marriot hold the social structure of civilization to operate at the levels of peasants and industrialists.