Social change is the change in society and society is a web of social relationships. Hence, social change is a change in social relationships. Social relationships are social processes, social patterns and social interactions. These include the mutual activities and relations of the various parts of the society. Thus, this term is used to describe variations of any aspect of social processes, social patterns, social interaction or social organization.
Characteristics of social change
The following listed points are the characteristics of social change:
it is social
it is universal
it serves as the law of nature
it is continuous
it does not attach to any value judgment
it is neither moral or immoral
it is bound by time factors
the rate, tempo speed and extent of change is not uniform
definite predictions of social change are impossible
it shows chain reaction sequences
it takes place due to multi-number of factors
it may be considered as modifications or replacements
it may be small -scale or large scale
it may be peaceful or violent
In the explanation of this concept, sociologists from time to time used words and expressions like evolution, growth, progress, development, revolution etc. discarding one in preference to the other.
Evolutionary changes: These are changes that takes place slowly over a long period of time
Revolutionary changes:These are changes that takes place rapidly over a short period of time
Progress: These are development towards an improved or more advanced condition
Growth: This serves as the process of increasing in sizes.
Development: This is an event constituting a new stage in changing situation.
Classification of Social Change
Classification: it can be classified based on its nature and this comprises of evolutionary social change and revolutionary social change.
Classification based on the sources and causes: it can be classified based on the source and causes through the environment, technology, economy, politics and culture.
Factors affecting Social Change
The following factors are the main features affecting it:
Natural factors – Under natural factors, we can have the following factors like flood, earthquakes, droughts and famines
Geographical factors – The physical environment, natural resources, climate, and temperature likewise affect it under geographical factors.
Biological factors – The structure, selection and hereditary qualities of generations.
Demographics factors – We can have the demographic factors such as population, birth rate, death rate, poverty, unemployment, diseases, sex ratio, dowry system.
Political factors – These are countries that are struggling for independence. Eg India struggling for independence.
Socioeconomic factors -These are factors like agriculture, industries, feudalism, capitalism, urbanization
Cultural factors -These are beliefs, ideas, values, customs, conventions, institutions
Science & technology
Social change has to be contrasted with social order. It has a tendency to resist and regulate change. It refers to active maintenance and reproduction of a particular pattern of social relations and of values and norms. Social order can be achieved in two ways
when people are willing to abide by the rules and norms
when people are compelled to follow the rules and norms. Every society uses a happy combination of these two methods to maintain social order.
Domination, Authority, and Law
Domination – this can be defined as a process of having influence someone
Authority – this serves as the power or right to give orders, make decisions and enforce obedience.
Law – the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties
Social Order, Social Changes in villages, towns, cities
Social order has the following influence in villages through the following characteristics
villages emerged as part of the major changes in social structure
change from nomadic to settled life
investment in land and technological innovations in agriculture created the possibility of producing surplus
advanced divisions of labor created the need for occupation specialization
The effects of social order in the village
There will be a significant proportion of its population involved in agricultural production.
low density of population as compared to cities and towns
The effects of social order in cities
This makes majority of the people to engage in non- agricultural pursuits.
population density. That is the number of persons per unit over such as square km is higher than villages
Social order & Social changes in rural areas
When there is social order, there is going to be a social change in the rural areas with the following features:
villages are in small size
more personalized relationship
village follows a traditional pattern of life
it slows social change
Modern means of communication have reduced distance between villages
cultural lag between villages and towns has come down
social and land reforms make changes
change in lower class people status, roles and right