Nature of Social Change




Nature of Social Change:

Change is an integral part of human society. Changes occur in the natural world as well as, in all human societies. Communities - whether tribal, rural or urban, backward or modern, simple or complex, also experience change. Indeed, the nature of change and the direction of change will vary from one society to another, but change is inevitable. Changes may be slow or rapid; the consequences of change may be positive/constructive or negative/destructive. Social change is a continuous, ongoing process.

For example, Auguste Comte has given us a Theory of Three Stages of human thought. This is an example of linear change. Of course, change does not always proceed multilinear, that is, changes can take place in several different directions at the same time. Then again, change may be cyclical; for example, this is common in the world of fashion. Styles of dressing or hairstyling which were popular a few generations ago have become popular today. The speed of change is also different. Obviously, one cannot measure the speed of change in terms of precise scales of measurement like in natural sciences, when dealing with societal changes.
However, it is possible to perceive that changes are taking place slowly or at a quicker pace. Terms such as ‘slow’ or ‘fast’ are relative. The term ‘social change’ refers to changes that take place in the structure and functioning of social institutions for example government, education, economy, marriage, family, religion.

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