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Social Sciences and Change

Anthropology, Psychology and Sociology all are

interested in explaining factors the allow society to progress or change as well as those that cause society to remain stagnant. Not only do we look to the past to see what change has occurred but can use this to predict future growth and future trends.

Tools used
Participant observation careful watching of a group,

sometimes living with them ie) Yanomamo tribe Qualitative data subjective information expressed in words or actions ie) interviews and open ended survey questions Quantitative data information that is measured numerically ie) multiple choice surveys and statistics

Anthropology and Social Change

Look at change by studying past and present cultures
By comparing cultures similarities and differences we

can understand human cultures more greatly. Can provide understanding of evolution of social institutions ie) family, religion Believe all cultures change due to some common factors ie) industrialization * internal ie) invention - car * external ie) outside invasion or contact

External Factors Diffusion spread of cultural trait due to contact such as trade, war, travel, migration ie) music, food or fashion trends.

Anthropology and Social Change 2

Acculturation process of contact, exposure and

exchange between two cultures thus changing both ie) American Natives and European settlers

Psychology and Social Change

In psychology the study of change focuses on changing an

individuals thoughts and behaviours. Example Behaviour modification 6 Steps

Precontemplation I dont have a problem

Contemplation- Maybe I have a problem and should do

something Preparation How is the problem effecting me and others? Action I have to work at my changes Maintenance I have to continue to avoid bad habits Termination I dont have to work at this anymore automatic (only 20% reach this)

12 step programs

Sociology and Social Change

Study interactions and conflicts within groups.
Study previous conditions to see what brought about

change. A new system usually replaces an old ones demise ie) Studying statistical data allows sociologists to see trends and predict future change. Ie) census data

Looking at the smaller picture Study of social encounters, experiences, roles, and interactions


of small groups. Emphasises how individual lives change as a result of the society and environment that surround them. Can look at how individuals change to get along or belong to a group or resolve conflict
thoughts and beliefs so one doesnt have to change Cognitive dissonance the discomfort when ones values, beliefs do not coincide with the dominant group

Cognitive consistency seeking groups etc that go along with our

Groups, social systems and social institutions are studied

on a large scale. Looking at wide sweeping changes that influence entire society. When a new set of ideals, values, beliefs is strong enough to change the way individuals perceive reality it is a social paradigm shift ie) view of poor after Great Depression or Blue box Recycling. Sometimes change is met with resistance by the dominant group causing paradigm paralysis an inability to see beyond the current systems of thought. Also known as confirmation bias favouring information that confirms their beliefs ie) traditional religious beliefs

Physical Environment climate, weather, vegetation,

External Factors Influencing Change

human and animal populations changes can have a ripple effect on society. Ie) drought, natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina) Population Changes due to immigration and emigration can create diversity or other changes if population growth or retraction is significant ie) public services, jobs, culture Proximity to other cultural groups. Exchange between cultures are intercultural contact. This is common today due to trade, globalization and tourism

External Factors pt.2

Social Environment, Culture and Social Values 2

predominant types of social structures

Collectivist common values of conformity, uniformity

and cooperation. Structured societies with duties to group and state. Change is usually slow and resisted. ie) North Korea, peak of communist China
Individualist - values of personal rights and freedoms.

Distinction between personal and group goals. More tolerant of cultural variety and change ie) Canada

External Factors pt 3
Technology development and use of technology

impacts social institutions, customs and values. Can effect the way we work, communicate, play, heal etc. Seen by some to be the #1 driver of change

5 Theories of Social Change

Evolutionary Theory of Change all societies evolve

from simple to complex ie) hunter-gatherer to industrial

Societies strive to become more sophisticated and

progress is measured by its ability to move toward better living conditions and innovate. Sees change as positive and beneficial

Cyclical Theory of Change change in society is like

changing seasons. Reaches a pinnacle and gives way to next season but returns
Trends, traditions, beliefs, values in society are cyclical.

Going in and our of fashion. Stresses natural growth and demise of cultural expressions. Sees the birth, maturity, aging and death of a society as a way to explain cultural change

Challenge and Response Theory societies face

challenges of a wide variety of types and their response to these challenges both changes it and determines its ultimate success or failure.

The Functionalism Theory

studies how society maintains stability and social order in face of so many competing forces that drive change. Many factors such as cultural patterns and traditions keep social order and minimize disruptive forces.

Conflict Theory of Change groups with opposing

interests are always in conflict within a society. Ie) Rich and poor, those with authority and those without
Every society is subjected to constant change which

brings disorganization and conflict. The strain between different groups within society can drive this as well.