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  • Explain how technology, social institutions, population, and the environment can bring about social change
  • Discuss the importance of modernization in relation to social change

Collective behavior and social movements are just two of the forces driving social change    , which is the change in society created through social movements as well as external factors like environmental shifts or technological innovations. Essentially, any disruptive shift in the status quo, be it intentional or random, human-caused or natural, can lead to social change. Below are some of the likely causes.

Causes of social change

Changes to technology, social institutions, population, and the environment, alone or in some combination, create change. Below, we will discuss how these act as agents of social change, and we’ll examine real-world examples. We will focus on four agents of change that social scientists recognize: technology, social institutions, population, and the environment.

Technology

Some would say that improving technology has made our lives easier. Imagine what your day would be like without the Internet, the automobile, or electricity. In The World Is Flat , Thomas Friedman (2005) argues that technology is a driving force behind globalization, while the other forces of social change (social institutions, population, environment) play comparatively minor roles. He suggests that we can view globalization as occurring in three distinct periods. First, globalization was driven by military expansion, powered by horsepower and wind power. The countries best able to take advantage of these power sources expanded the most, and exert control over the politics of the globe from the late fifteenth century to around the year 1800. The second shorter period from approximately 1800 C.E. to 2000 C.E. consisted of a globalizing economy. Steam and rail power were the guiding forces of social change and globalization in this period. Finally, Friedman brings us to the post-millennial era. In this period of globalization, change is driven by technology, particularly the Internet (Friedman 2005).

But also consider that technology can create change in the other three forces social scientists link to social change. Advances in medical technology allow otherwise infertile women to bear children, which indirectly leads to an increase in population. Advances in agricultural technology have allowed us to genetically alter and patent food products, which changes our environment in innumerable ways. From the way we educate children in the classroom to the way we grow the food we eat, technology has impacted all aspects of modern life.

Of course there are drawbacks. The increasing gap between the technological haves and have-nots––sometimes called the digital divide––occurs both locally and globally. Further, there are added security risks: the loss of privacy, the risk of total system failure (like the Y2K panic at the turn of the millennium), and the added vulnerability created by technological dependence. Think about the technology that goes into keeping nuclear power plants running safely and securely. What happens if an earthquake or other disaster, like in the case of Japan’s Fukushima plant, causes the technology to malfunction, not to mention the possibility of a systematic attack to our nation’s relatively vulnerable technological infrastructure?

Questions & Answers

general laws and particular laws
Faheem Reply
genral law which opoint or relate the national society particular laws which base on some or one society
Muhmmad
what is culture?
NYAPSON Reply
Culture is that complex whole which include knowledge, beliefs, arts moral, custom, religion, law aquared by mam as a member of society
Md
what are the branches of sociology and their differences
Bashir Reply
is sociology a science?
Bashir
What is politic
sani Reply
the act of being sensible and judicious in circumstances
Packra
branhes k of sociology
Jafari
think why Nietzsche was so concerned about the loss of religion for society and weather God exists. what social function does religion perform which are so vital for society
tarawallie Reply
response of human illnesse in nigeria
Hassan Reply
Analyse the social responses to mental illness in Nigeria
Hassan
Deviance what couses
Khadija Reply
low or high regulation
Dar
deviance is an illegal activities are murder, theft etc
Muhmmad
Please can we answer this question Is the family in the state of crisis?
Nora
yeah
Muhmmad
Are the vertical/horizontal classication of family
isah
different classical theories and neoclassical theories
Waziri Reply
what is socialogy
Andrew Reply
It is the scientific study of society
Muhmmad
Thank you
Andrew
Sociology is the science of social institution
Beauty
sociology have alot of difinition one of them is d study of society is sociology
pakhtoon
thanks
Muhmmad
who is called the father of sociology ?
Ajaz
Auguste Comte
Md
park and burgers:sociology is a science of collective behaviour
Sofi
ibn khaldun
sani
Auguse Cumte
saleh
What is collective behaviour?
Khalid
interpretative understanding of social action
Dar
sociology has the tendency to break into all aspect of social human discipline.
Bashir
and is a scientific study of human society
Bashir
saleh# it is Auguste comte
Tagar
discuss and explain the word sociology
aaron Reply
Search and find out biblical passage(s) which encourage Christian to engage in business enterprise.
Emmanuel Reply
why should a teacher study sociology
Owen Reply
The process of social change in the Caribbean society can not be analyzed using the major macro European paradigm as they ignore the carribean’s reality, to what extent is this statement true?
Alivia Reply
Search and find out biblical passage(s) which encourage Christian to engage in business enterprise.
Emmanuel
yes
Muhmmad
What is the Caribbean society like?
Joseph
And what is this Caribbean reality being ignored?
Joseph
Where can a person with sociology certificates work
Enum Reply
What are the General Conception of Sociology
Maryam
study of society
Dar
What are the importance of medical sociology on health
Ha-ati Reply
I don't know
Matheus

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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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