Lecture+17+-+Social+Progress - Social Progress Lecture 17...

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Lecture 17 Social Progress?
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Defining Social Change Social Change: The transformation of culture and social institutions over time. Social Change: The transformation of culture and social institutions over time.
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Characteristics of Social Change 1) Social change happens all the time. Some societies change faster than others. E.g., Hunter-gather societies change very slowly, while high- income societies like ours change very fast. In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. Benjamin Franklin
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Characteristics of Social Change 1) Social change happens all the time. Some aspects of societies change faster than others. Material culture (things) tends to change faster than nonmaterial culture (ideas and attitudes).
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Characteristics of Social Change 2) Social change is sometimes intentional, but often unplanned. It is impossible to anticipate the consequences of intentional changes once they are set in motion.
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Characteristics of Social Change 3) Social change is controversial. Any social change will confront people who resist or seek to reverse it.
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Characteristics of Social Change 4) Some social changes matter more than others.
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Causes of Social Change 1) Technology and Invention 2) Emergence of new ideas and information E.g., idea of nonviolent civil disobedience, Protestantism, information about pollution and climate change. 3) Inequality and Conflict 4) Changes in the population
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Causes of Social Change When civil disobedience was first introduced, it was considered a radical idea. The notion that unjust laws should be willfully disobeyed seemed to suggest that the country could descend into anarchy.
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Social Progress Social change is different from social progress . Social progress implies a value judgment that change is for the better.
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Joel Best calls the tendency in sociology to emphasize the negative aspects of social change the sociology of gloom .
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Social Progress Eitzen’s “The Atrophy of Social Life” is an example of the sociology of gloom. He argues that many of the advances in our society have led to a decline in social ties.
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Social Progress Americans today are far more socially isolated than they were two decades ago.
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