Models of Social Change

Models of Social Change - founders of functionalism saw...

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Models of Social Change In their search to explain social change, sociologists sometimes examine historical data to better  understand current changes and movements. They also rely on three basic theories of social  change:  evolutionary, functionalist,  and  conflict  theories.  Evolutionary theory Sociologists in the 19th century applied Charles Darwin's (1809–1882) work in biological evolution to  theories of social change. According to  evolutionary theory , society moves in specific directions.  Therefore, early social evolutionists saw society as progressing to higher and higher levels. As a  result, they concluded that their own cultural attitudes and behaviors were more advanced than  those of earlier societies.  Identified as the “father of sociology,” Auguste Comte subscribed to social evolution. He saw human  societies as progressing into using scientific methods. Likewise, Emile Durkheim, one of the 
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Unformatted text preview: founders of functionalism, saw societies as moving from simple to complex social structures. Herbert Spencer compared society to a living organism with interrelated parts moving toward a common end. In short, Comte, Durkheim, and Spencer proposed unilinear evolutionary theories , which maintain that all societies pass through the same sequence of stages of evolution to reach the same destiny. Contemporary social evolutionists like Gerhard Lenski, Jr., however, view social change as multilinear rather than unilinear. Multilinear evolutionary theory holds that change can occur in several ways and does not inevitably lead in the same direction. Multilinear theorists observe that human societies have evolved along differing lines....
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This note was uploaded on 11/21/2011 for the course SOCI 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.

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