The Theories Of Social Change

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The theories of social change The theories of social change attempt to explain or account for social change , they are a product of their time and are characterised by the prevailing views and ideologies of their era. They provide a generalisation to help us understand the world around us and the relationship between things Theory Main ideas Strengths Weaknesses Early Evolutionary • Based on the assumption that all societies develop from simple, small scale to complex, industrial and post industrial societies. • Development process thought to be unilinear, based around Darwin’s evolution of the species idea • All development was progress • Around the time when Britain was colonising ‘primitive’ societies and bringing them there ‘superior’ culture. • Fitted nicely at the time of colonialism • Simple and works with established scientific theory • Simple and liner so able to describe industrialisation as ‘progress’ • A reflection of prevailing ideology & political/economic ambitions of colonial era • Ethnocentric towards ‘primitive’ societies • Thought all change was progress • Described social change rather than explained it Modern Evolutionary • Sees sociocultural evolution as the tendency for social structures to become more complex over time • Process is multiliner and change occurs in different ways and over different rates • Argues main source of change is a shift in subsistence/production resulting in greater productivity, turning to economic surplus which goes to greater distributable wealth • Does attempt to explain change as the shift in production • Identifies change in multiliner • Notes change is not necessary progress • Argues that change will lead to increased productivity, resulting and more wealth • Only concerned with economic change • Generalises and over simplifies change Functionalist
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