Sociological Theories Social Change Pdf

Sociological theories social change pdf

The five theories of social change are as follows: 1. Evolutionary Theory 2. Cyclical Theory 3. Economic Mandan Theory of Social Change 4. Conflict Theory 5.

Theories of Social Change: Meaning, Nature and Processes

Technological Theory. A variety of reasons have been offered throughout history to explain why social change occurs.

Sociological theories of Social Change Part 1 Sociology Optional UPSC CSE

The problem of explaining social change was central to nineteenth century sociology. Many earlier theories of society that claimed to be scientific were in fact theories of change. They sought to explain the present in terms of the past. Many different theories were propounded to define and explain social change.

Broadly, theories of nineteenth century may be divided into theories of social evolution Saint-Simon, Comte, Spencer, Durkheim etc. All these we have discussed in the previous section. Despite the wide variety in the possible directions change may take, various generalisations have been set forth. Because the lot of mankind generally has improved over the long term, by far the most numerous classes of theories of the direction of change comprise various cumulative or evolutionary trends.

The notion of evolution came into social sciences from the theories of biological evolution. With the advent of Darwinian Theory of biological evolution, society and culture began to be regarded as undergoing the same changes and demonstrating the same trends.

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It was conceived that society and culture were subject to the same general laws of biological and organism growth. Some thinkers even identified evolution with progress and proceeded to project into the future more and more perfect and better-adapted social and cultural forms.

Sociological theories social change pdf

Charles Darwin , the British biologist, who propounded the theory of biological evolution, showed that species of organisms have evolved from simpler organisms to the more complicated organisms through the processes of variations and natural selection. The basic assumption of this theory is that change is the characteristic feature of human society. The present observed condition of the society is presumed to be the result of change in the past.

It was assumed that the change is basically the result of operation of forces within the society or culture. Underlying all theories of evolution, there exists a belief of infinite improvement in the next stage over the preceding one.

6 Most Important Theories of “Social Change”

That all successive stages of change are higher over preceding stage, i. That the direction of change is from simple to complex, from homogeneity to heterogeneity, from undifferentiated to the differentiated in form and function.

All thinking of early sociologists was dominated by a conception of man and society as seen progressing up definite steps of evolution leading through every greater complexity to some final stage of perfection.

Sociological theories social change pdf

The notion of evolutionary principles was extremely popular with British anthropologists and sociologists of nineteenth century. Such as Morgan , Tyler , Spencer and Hobhouse Although evolutionary theory in sociology is attributed to Herbert Spencer, it is clear that it was taken for granted by writers as diverse as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and V.

Gordon Childe. The conception of evolution was applied not only to the development of societies but also to art, literature, music, philosophy, sciences, religion, economic and political life state and almost every other achievement of the mind of man. Both Spencer and Durkheim employed the concept of structural differentiation to indicate that as society develops more functions, it becomes structurally more complex.

Models of Social Change

This perspective has been elaborated more recently by Talcott Parsons. The general evolutionary model of society is represented by a large number of specific theories. Saint-Simon, one of the earliest founders of sociology, along with Auguste Comte, for example, put an evolutionary idea of social development, as a sequential progression of organic societies representing increasing levels of advancement.

Comte linked developments in human knowledge, culture and society and delineated the following three great stages through which all societies must go—those of conquest, defense and industry. Societies passed through three stages—the primitive, the intermediary and the scientific, which corresponded to the forms of human knowledge thought.

He conceived these stages as progressing from the theological through the metaphysical to arrive ultimately at the perfection of positive reasoning. He argued all mankind inevitably passed through these stages as it developed, suggesting both unilinear direction and progress.

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Spencer also displayed a linear concept of evolutionary stages. He argued that the trend of human societies was from simple, undifferentiated wholes to complex and heterogeneous ones, where the parts of the whole become more specialised but remained integrated.

Sociological theories social change pdf

The evolutionary approach to social development was also followed by radical thinkers, such as Marx and Engels, who were greatly influenced by the work of the anthropologist L. Morgan, who sought to prove that all societies went through fixed stages of development each succeeding the other, from savagery through barbarism to civilisation. Marx and Engels maintained that each stage of civilisation, such as feudalism, prepared the ground for the next.

On this basis they concluded that the next stage in social evolution after the stage of capitalism could be attained only by violent revolution. All these theories are referred to as unilinear theories of social evolution. He believed that there was a historical trend, or evolution, from a low to a high degree of specialisation. Durkheim distinguished two main types of society on the basis of this division of labour—the first based on mechanical solidarity and the second on organic solidarity.

Durkheim believed that this second type always evolved from and succeeded the first as the degree of specialisation, the division of labour, increased. Numerous other scholars put forth similar ideas.

Sociological theories social change pdf

He regards changes in adaptation as a major driving force of social evolution. It postulates the straight-line, ordered or progressive nature of social change. According to this theory, change always proceeds toward a predestined goal in a unilinear fashion. There is no place of repetition of the same stage in this theory.

The pace of this change may be swift or slow. In brief, linear hypothesis states that all aspects of society change continually in a certain direction, never faltering, never repeating themselves.

Theories of Saint-Simon, Comte, Morgan, Marx and Engels, and many other anthropologists and sociologists come under the category of unilinear theories of social evolution because they are based on the assumption that each society does, indeed must, pass through a fixed and limited numbers of stages in a given sequence. Such theories long dominated the sociological scene. It is a little bit variant form of unilinear evolution which states that every society does not necessarily go through the same fixed stages of development.

It argues, rather, that the culture of mankind, taken as a whole, has followed a definite line of evolution. The anthropologist Leslie White has been a leading exponent of this conception.

Similar ideas were greatly elaborated by William Ogbum, who stressed the role of invention in social change. This brand of evolutionism has more recently developed and is more realistic than the unilinear and universal brand of evolutionary change.

Major Sociological Theories

Multilinear evolution is a concept, which attempts to account for diversity. It essentially means identification of different sequential patterns for different culture or types of cultures.

This theory holds that change can occur in several ways and that it does not inevitably lead in the same direction. Theorists of this persuasion recognise that human culture has evolved along a number of lines. Those who share this perspective, such as Julian Steward , attempt to explain neither the straight-line evolution of each society, nor the progress of mankind as a whole, but rather concentrate on much more limited sequences of development.

Top 5 Theories of Social Change – Explained

It does identify some social trends as merely universal: the progression from smaller to larger, simpler to more complex, rural to urban, and low technology to higher technology but it recognises that these can come about in various ways and with distinct consequences. This theory is related to what is known as episodic approach, which stresses the importance of accidents and unique historical, social and environmental circumstances that help to explain a particular course of social change.

Later on, the views of Leslie White and Julian Steward were named as neo-evolutionism. Evolutionary scheme gradual and continuous development in stages of any kind fell under both theoretical and empirical attack in the last century. It was criticised heavily on many grounds but mainly for its sweeping or over-generalisation about historical sequences, uniform stages of development and evolutionary rate of change.

The biological evolution, from which the main ideas of social evolution were borrowed, provided somewhat clumsy and unsatisfactory answers. Such explanations came under attack for lack of evidence. Evolutionary scales were also questioned from a somewhat different, but more empirical source. The easy assumption that societies evolved from simple to complex forms, was mainly based on a scale of predominant productive technology turned out to be unwarranted. Most of the classical evolutionary schools tended to point out general causes of change economic, technological or spiritual etc.

Very often they confused such general tendencies with the causes of change or assumed that the general tendencies explain concrete instances of change.

Because of the above shortcomings, the evolutionary theory is less popular today. A leading modern theorist Anthony Giddens has consistently attacked on evolutionism and functionalism of any brand.

It is said that growth may create social problems rather than social progress. Modern sociology has tended to neglect or even to reject this theory, mainly because it was too uncritically applied by an earlier generation of sociologists. The recent tentative revival in an evolutionary perspective is closely related to growing interest in historical and comparative studies.

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Cyclical change is a variation on unilinear theory which was developed by Oswald Spengler Decline of the West, and Arnold J.

Toynbee A Study of History, They argued that societies and civilisations change according to cycles of rise, decline and fall just as individual persons are born, mature, grow old, and die.

According to German thinker Spengler, every society has a predetermined life cycle—birth, growth, maturity and decline. Society, after passing through all these stages of life cycle, returns to the original stage and thus the cycle begins again. On the basis of his analysis of Egyptian, Greek Roman and many other civilisations, he concluded that the Western civilisation is now on its decline. The world renowned British historian Toyanbee has also upheld this theory.

They have all come and gone, repeating a recurrent cycle of birth, growth, breakdown and decay. Thus, a society can grow and survive if it can constructively respond to the challenges.

A List of Sociological Theories, Concepts and Frameworks

A variant of cyclical process is the theory of a well-known American sociologist P. The pendulum of a clock swings with the passage of time, but ultimately it comes to its original position and re-proceeds to its previous journey.

Thus, it is just like a cyclical process but oscillating in character.

Sociological theories social change pdf

A sensate culture is one that appeals to the senses and sensual desires. On the other hand, the ideational culture is one in which expressions of art, literature, religion and ethics do not appeal to the senses but to the mind or the spirit.