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Q. 1. What is meant by Social change? Give some of its definitions.
Ans. Word ‘Change’ is value free word. It never tells us about good or bad or about any rule. In general sense change is the difference which is there in the present state and earlier state of any thing. Like any one has money today but was poor yesterday. His position has been changed due to money. Comparison is necessary in change because if we want to clarify any change, it can be clarified only by comparison.
In this way, social change is related with society. When change comes in society or social relationships then it is known as social change.
Every type of change in human society cannot be called as social change. Social change is related with the changes which come in social relationships. We can include mutual actions and relations in social relationships. Meaning of change is the difference in existing condition and earlier condition of any thing. That's why when we compare, existing condition and earlier condition of anything then we will see some difference. This difference is social change. In this way we can say that social change is related with the difference in social structure, actions, relations, organizations etc. Man is dynamic by nature and no society can live without change.
Many sociologists have given the definitions of social change which are given below:
1. According to Gillin and Gillin, ‘‘ Social change as variations from the modes of life, whether due to alteration in geographical conditions in cultural equipment, composition of the population or ideologies, and whether brought by diffusion or invention within the group.’’
2. According to Kingsley Davis, ‘‘By social change, I meant only such alterations as occur in social organization that is structure and function of society.’’
3. According to Jones, ‘‘Social change is a term used to describe variations or modifications of any aspect of social process, social patterns, social interactions or social organization.’’
4. According to Eldridge and Marril, ‘‘In its concrete sense, social change in activities that differ from those which they (or their immediate forefathers) engaged in some time before, society is compared of vast and complex network of patterned human relationships in which all men participate. When human behaviour is in the process of modification, this is only another way of indicating that social change is occurring.’’ On the basis of given definitions, we can conclude that when any change or difference comes in any aspect of social interactions, social organization, social relationships, social process etc. then it is called a social change. In this way, we can say that every change is not a social change. Social change exists in the social relationships of society or organizations or actions.
Q. 2. What are the different characteristics of social change?
Ans. 1. Social change is universal: Social change is the change which comes in every society. No society is completely static because change is law of nature. It doesn't matter which society it is, whether it is ancient or modern, it exists in every culture and society. Demographic change in society, change because of inventions, change in values and ideals etc. always exists in society. It is right that the speed of social change is different in different society but change is always universal. Social change is a universal phenomenon which occurs in all societies and in all ages. The time from which human society has started, changes have come in it and will remain forever. Every stage of human society has been gone through changes, yet the speed of change in them is different. Change is law of nature and no one can be prevented from this.
2. Definite predition is not possible in social change: Any type of definite prediction is impossible in social change. It is so because social relationships are not definite. They keep on changing. That's why if we predict definitely then it can be proved wrong. We cannot imagine definitely about behaviour of a person. That's why prediction is impossible in social change. Social change is a community change.
It doesn’t mean that there is no rule of social change or we cannot imagine about it.
It’s meaning is only that sometimes because of any reason change comes at once about which we have never thought of.
3. Speed of social change is not uniform: Yet social change is universal but it's speed is different in different societies. It comes very quickly in some societies and in some societies its speed is very slow. For example, if we compare ancient and modern societies then we can see that speed of change is very fast in modern societies as compared to ancient societies. Even this speed is very fast in big cities and very slow in smaller cities. The reason of difference of speed is that the factors, which bring social change, are different in different societies. We can imagine about change by comparing two societies.
4. Social change is community change: If any change comes in the life of one person or some persons then it cannot be called as social change. It is so because social change is not personal. It is the change which comes in the life style of majority of persons living in a large community. So if change affects only few persons, then it can be called as individual change. But when majority of the people of a group are affected by the change then it can be called as social change. In this way, the nature of social change is social. It is not related with the change in any specific group, institution or caste but it is related with the changes which come in whole community.
5. Social change is the result of interaction of number of factors: Social change is not the result of only one factor. Our society is complex in nature. Change comes in every sector of society because of many factors. Generally we can see that change comes because of economic progress, development in technology, change in atmosphere or change in demography. Yet it is right that change comes because of any factor but other factors are also reasons of change. Actually mutual dependence exists in social phenomenon. One part of society cannot be differentiated from the other because every part is related with other part in one way or the another. That’s why whenever modification is done in any part then other parts are also affected by this. For example structure and functions of family are affected after the disintegration of joint family. In this way we can see that social change never comes due to one reason but is the results of many reasons.
Q. 3. What are the factors of Social Change? Explain them in detail.
Ans. There is definitely one or another reason behind every phenomenon. In the same way social change comes due to one or another reason. Alone one reason is not responsible for social change but a number of factors are responsible for it and they are given below:
1. Physical Factors. Changes in Physical environment come through those processes which are out of control of humans. New directions occurs for humans due to these changes and they indirectly affects the human culture. All those non-living phenomenon comes in physical material which affects the Social life in one way or the other. Changes in season and environment like rain, winter, summer, changes in season, thunder, changes related to topography like Minerals available in soil, availability of rivers etc. affect the social life. Physical changes affect the ability of body to do work. Human behaviour is different in winter and summer. Change in season leads to change in working of body. People work very quickly in winter and become very angry in summer.
People like to live at that geographical place where living conditions are easy.
People never like to live at that place which suffers from flood or volcanic eruption every year. Except this people like to live at that place where good living facilites are available. Balance of population also disturbs with the change in geographical conditions. It leads to a number of problems. Geographical environment also affects the culture.
In this way we can say that geographical environment our Social life. We cannot deny about the fact that earthquakes, floods etc. affects and changes of our Social life.
2. Biological Factors. Some Sociologists are of the view that biological factors are one of the important reasons of social change. Meaning of biological factors is that qualitative aspect of population which occurs due to heredity. For example sex of the child is determined at the time of the birth and different physical differences exist between male and female on this base. Their social behaviour is also different due to this difference. Females, used to take care of the house and upbringing the children but male works to earn money. If the proportion of male and female population is not the same in any society then it can lead to many types of social problems.
Physical features are determined by heredity and these features create the similarities and differences like anyone is white or black. Difference of white and black in U.S.A. is due to jealousy. White colour female is considered as beautiful and black colour female hardly gets that respect which is being given to white colour female. Human nature is also related with features of heredity. Nature of child is according to nature of parents. People have more or less anger in them. Heredity and intelligence are related with each other. Human nature and brain are very important in social life. In short we can say that hereditary features of person determines his personal traits. These traits affect the interactions of humans.
Relations occur among humans due to these interactions and these relations determine the Social System and structure. What ever change comes in them is Social change.
In this way we can say that biological factors become a reason of Social change.
Due to qualitative aspect of population, great and powerful persons help in bringing Social change.
3. Demographic Factors. Change in size, distribution, structure etc. of population affects the social organization. Countries with more population have many types of social problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment , lower standard of living. Countries with less population have less number of problems and have higher standard of living. Countries with more population have a number of measures to keep control on birth rate like in India where family planning is propogated. It leads to occurrence of small families and small families lead to change in social relations.
Countries with less population have different types of relations. Those countries have higher status of females there is no place of concept of family planning. In short, size of population leads to definite change in norms of interactions among people.
In this way structure of population brings change in Society. Change in structure of population comes due to age distribution, geographical distribution of population, sex ratio, racial structure, urban-rural proportion, proportion of population on technical basis, immigration, emigration etc. These features of population affect the social structure and no problem could be resolved without keeping these facts in mind.
4. Cultural Factors. Change in material and non-material aspect of culture also affects social relations. Concept of family planning has put deep impact on the institution of family. Higher education and development of better personality come due to less number of children. Direction of social change is also determined due to cultural factors. It not only determines the direction of social change but it gives momentum to social change as well.
5. Technological factors. Yet technological factors are a part of material culture but they also have their own importance. Technical factors are more important in social change. Technique generally changes our society. Yet this change comes in material environment but it brings customs, traditions, institutions of our society. Means of communication, hundred of machines of daily life have completely changed our life and society. Production on large scale was started due to invention of machines, Division of labour and specialization were increased, business was developed, urban areas were developed very quickly, standard of life became higher, industries were increased but with this quarrels, diseases, accidents were increased. Villages were changed either into cities or towns. Impact of religion was decreased. These are some of the aspects of our life which are much affected by technology. Technological factor is one of the most important factor of social change in modern age.
Q. 4. What is Social Evolution? Explain its characteristics.
Ans. Social Evolution is one of the types of social change. Evolution is an English word which evolved from the Latin word ‘Evolvere’. Evolutionary change is not only development but structural knowledge also increases with this change. In this way evolution is a change which happens in continuous and definite direction. MacIver and Page are of the view that, ‘‘When there is not only the continuity of change but direction of change, we mean Evolution.’’ At another place MacIver has written that, ‘‘As the purpose of men grew, the social structure within which they are realized, changes is accord with these and that is the meaning of Evolution.’’ According to Harbert Spencer, ‘‘Evolution is the integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion during which matter passed from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity.’’ So from these definitions it is clear that social evolution is not the change due to external pressure but is the change due to internal forces. According to Auguste Comte social evolution passes through three stages and these are:
1. Theological stage
2. Metaphysical stage
3. Scientific stage.
Morgan was of the view that, ‘‘Development of civilization and society has happened in same sequence. To understand social evolution we should know about the different stages of development of social institutions, organizations etc.’’ Spencer gave four rules of evolution:—
1. Social evolution is the physical and cultural form of the rule of development of universe.
2. Social evolution comes in same way as the other development of the world.
3. Process of Social evolution is very slow.
4. Social evolution means development from earlier situation.
MacIver was of the view that, ‘‘Wherever in the history of society, we can see increasing specialization in different parts of society, we call it social evolution.’’
In short, we can say that the change which comes due to internal hidden forces is called evolution. In this development is there from earlier situation. On the basis of given explanation of evolution, we can give certain features of evolution and these are given below:
Characteristics or Features
1. Evolution is related with the change among living beings or with humans.
Spencer gave it the name of biological evolution. This development comes in same way in all the societies. For example Amoeba is an organism whose all the bodily functions are being done only by cell. Human body is the more developed form of organism whose different functions are being done by different parts. The way in which biological development of organism increases, in that same way its nature also becomes complex.
2. Social evolution is a continuous process which always goes on.
3. With continuity, definite direction is also there in the evolutionary change because it not only comes in size but it also comes in structure. This development signals towards definite direction.
4. There is not any type of external pressure on social evolution but it’s internal traits come out. Many elements exist in changing thing. That’s why change in it comes due to these elements.
5. Change in internally existed elements comes with a very slow speed. It is so because we cannot come to know easily about the internally hidden elements. Every changing element has some internal traits.
6. Evolutionary change comes from simplicity to complexity. In earlier times human society was very simple. With the passage of time, division of labour and specialization were developed in society with which human society became complex in nature.
In this way we can say that social evolution is the change from unclarity towards clarity. The way in which after some time of birth, the body parts of child become clear and bigger, in that same way in evolution society becomes complex and clear.
This type of change has definite direction and it is so because of internal elements of any thing.
Q. 5. What is the difference between social change and social evolution?
Ans. Social change and Social evolution. Meaning of social evolution is the development in social customs and rituals. Structure of society changes in social evolution and the size of society also changes with this. Social change is a value free word which never tells us about any good or bad direction but it is the change in old system. There are many differences in social change and social evolution which are given below:
1. Social change can come due to both internal and external factors but social evolution comes only due to internal forces of the society.
2. Social change is a very wide concept in which many small concepts are included but evolution is a part of social change.
3. Social change can come in any one aspect of society structural or functional but in evolution, change can come in both aspects.
4. There is no definite direction in social change. It can come in any direction but social evolution has one definite direction from simplicity to complexity.
5. It is not necessary that specialization and division of labour would be increased in social change but these both will definitely increase in the process of evolution.
6. Social change can come quickly, slowly and continuously but the evolution comes slowly, slowly and continuously.
7. Social change can come back in same situation after going in any direction but the stages of evolution never come back.
8. Social evolution moves from simplicity to complexity but it is not necessary in social change.