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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

arbritrery not verboly verboly communicate our massage
Ghar Reply
All right ↪
Sanusi
someone to tell me other cultural elements apart from values and beliefs
Stella Reply
The major elements of culture are symbols, language, norms, values, and artifacts. Language makes effective social interaction possible and influences how people conceive of concepts and objects. Major values that distinguish the United States include individualism, competition, and a commitment
Mark
to a major commitment to work ethic
Mark
is there any relationship between sociology and political science?
Kennedy Reply
yhyh..i think so
Halifax
yes
zeth
help me understand the relationship between the two disciplines
Kennedy
they both study human society
Rabi
however sociology study human societies in a wide range of institutions while pol sciences study could be limited to issues that concerns the government activities and processes
Rabi
what is social change
Maryann Reply
Social change in sociology is the alteration of mechanisms within the social structure, characterized by changes in cultural symbols, rules of behaviour, social organizations, or value systems.
derickamishae
a social change is the difference of material objects and the attitude of using such things along the time and space .
Aqeel
Also 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.
derickamishae
Derickamishae Thomas,you are corect about social change
Aqeel
I also think social change is when groups of individual at a certain period can no longer adapt with the current structure they find themselves in the society& decides to come together to bring about about a different social structure that would or could be of benefit to them.
Rabi
Can anyone tell me in urdu plzzz?
Shahid
about what thing
Ayaz
@Ayaz Allai. ..about social change?
Shahid
what is methodology?
Silent
Alteration in social structures or culture over time
Mark
depends on your research goal.  It depends on what subjects (and who) you want to study.  Let's say you are interested in studying what makes people happy, or why some students are more conscious about recycling on campus.  To answer these questions, you need to make a decision about how to collect
Mark
The methodology explains what you did and how you did it, allowing evaluation of the reliability and validity of the research. It should include: The type of research you did How you collected and/or selected your data How you analyzed your data Any tools or materials used
derickamishae
like quantitative or qualitative research methods.
derickamishae
great answer
Mark
What is sex can anyone tell me?
Shahid
shahid nawaz....... the properties that distinguish organisms on the basis of their reproductive rules...
Ayaz
hiii
Halifax
please can anyone give me 5 ways of the connection between the self and the family?
Halifax
social change is a movement from point to other. this movement it concerns part or parts in the whole of society. it too difficult to talk about change of the whole society...
hicham
why are you talking about social change
Sanusi
can someone assist me with modernization theory
Raakie
please my friends I am learning from you people's if you see a mistake correct me before I left the place where I make it thanks
Sanusi
modernization theories are constructs used to explain the process of progressive transition from one point of civilisation to another. precisely the transition from the traditional society to modern society.
Rabi
Advantage of Extended family over Nuclear family
Patricia Reply
Children are likely to get Financial Support, when his/her Parents are poor
ALPHA
nuclear family means a maried cuple live with unmaried childrens
Aqeel Reply
what are nuclear and non nuclear families?
Syed Reply
nuclear family mean , a maried cuple live with there unmaried children
Aqeel
 extended family group consists of non-nuclear(or "non-immediate") family members considered together with nuclear (or "immediate") familymembers.
Aqeel
sir, a joint family would be considered non nuclear?
Syed
yes offcourse,
Aqeel
Basic features of evolutionary theory
Krishna Reply
previous limits of engineering not yet almost surpassed
Matthew
what is collective behavior
Owais Reply
what is slavery?
naveed Reply
what is stratification
naveed
what are the common characteristics in the early studies carried by anthropologist
justus Reply
how about focus in sociology
Johanes
How can we define symbolic interaction in family?
hafsa Reply
how does technology impact the soceity?
Lizzy Reply
technology impulse the society to change its manners . bcz society cannot b live without. it has to adopt technology with it's new trend.
Sajjad
who can tell me benefits of sociological imaginations?
Mohamed Reply
who cn tell me benefits of sociological imaginations?
Mohamed
helps in being analytical and prevents too much bias in our observations
Rabi
please someone should elaborate on gerontology..
onoja Reply
study of ageing proccess is called gerontology...
Ayaz

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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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