Concept, aspects and changes in/of culture and society

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Social and Cultural Changes

Social change is the transformation of social institutions over time. Cultural change, on the other hand, is the transformation of culture or the way people live. Communication is a vital human process. Through communication, people exchange information and thoughts. Nowadays, communication is made easier. Nowadays, people can share information in just a click. New media−social networking, text messaging, e-mail, and the like−have defied time and distance.

While it makes the world seem borderless, this form of communication may produce individuals who lack the basic understanding of direct and personal connections.

Political Changes

Political change happens when the rulers of a country lose power or when the type of governance in the country changes. Governance is the kind of system or ideology used to express authority in a country. It may be a democracy, monarchy, oligarchy, and others.

Difference between Social and Cultural Change!

There is a great confusion about social and cultural change. Some early textbook writers have made distinction between social change and cultural change, while others have considered these two terms as one and the same thing. Such writers have used these two terms synonymously. For the writers like Gillin and Gillin (1954) and Dawson and Gettys (1948) there is no difference between social and cultural change.

According to Dawson and Gettys, “cultural change is social change, since all culture is social in its origin, meaning and usage”. Similarly, Gillin and Gillin wrote: “Social changes as varia­tions from the accepted modes of life, whether due to alterations in geographic conditions, in cultural equipment, composition of population, or ideologies.” For these writers, social change is a part of cultural change.

Cultural change is broader than social change which envelops social change also in its fold. For them, society is the product of culture. “Culture tends to give direction and momentum to social change and to set limits beyond which social change may not go” (Dawson and Gettys, 1048).

Really speaking, both types of changes have as much difference as it exists between society and culture. Sociologists use these terms (society and culture) to convey different meaning and sense. Clarifying the difference MacIver and Page (1959) writes: “Social change is a distinct thing from cultural or civilization change…. cultural change includes change in ideology, administrative system, technology etc.”

Cultural change indicates changes in the accepted mode of life, habit patterns, and the life-style.

These changes may include such things as the invention of the automobile, TV, changing concepts of property and morality, new forms of music, art, or dance or the trends of sex equality. For Davis (1949), “social change is only a part of a broader category of change called ‘cultural change’ cultural change refers to all changes occurring in any branch of culture including art, science, technology, philosophy etc., as well as changes in the forms and rules of social organisations”.

In a nutshell, it may be said that social change refers specifically to alter-ations in social relationships among people in groups, whereas cultural change refers to change in material and non-material cultural elements both.

Mechanisms of Change

There are different mechanisms or tools involved in social and cultural changes.

  1. Diffusion - is the process through which the cultural traits of one society are borrowed, transmitted, and adopted by another and considered as its own. Examples: • Migration •Globalization
  2. Invention - is the process where new cultural elements are created to solve social and cultural problems. Example: Internet
  3. Discovery - is the process where people recognize or gain a better understanding of already existing elements present in the environment. Example: Scientific research