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Social Change. Social change:. What is social change? What causes it? Social movements Globalization. What is social change?. Transformations over time of the institutions and culture of society . What causes social change?. Does Giddens have a theory?

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social change1
Social change:
  • What is social change?
  • What causes it?
  • Social movements
  • Globalization
what is social change

What is social change?

Transformations over time of the institutions and culture of society

what causes social change
What causes social change?
  • Does Giddens have a theory?
    • A theory is a systematic explanation of cause and effect
    • No real theory presented
    • “Influences” (pp. 618-622)
      • Physical environment (economy)
      • Political organization
      • Culture
  • Says we need general theories, but abandons them (except globalization as a trend)
what causes social change theories giddens neglects
What causes social change: theories Giddens neglects
  • Parsons (functionalism): evolutionary—differentiation of institutions
  • Symbolic interactionists: social construction, new “scripts”
  • Marx: historical materialism


New thesis

New antithesis



Struggle of opposites

New struggle of opposites

dialectical materialism
Dialectical materialism
  • (material) social forces of production as base (basis) of social life
  • Ideas, institutions “erected” in support of relations of production
  • Class struggle in relations of production becomes political
  • Struggle (revolution) leads to new stage of history: historical materialism

Historical Materialism


Ideas, ideology, institutions

Social reproduction

New superstructure

Class struggle


Social forces of production

Relations of production

Means of production

New forces of production

postindustrial society
Postindustrial society
  • aka information society, service society, knowledge society because these sectors dominate the economy
    • Codified knowledge/information key resource
    • “Knowledge workers” become leading social group
  • But:
    • Service work includes a lot of manual labor
    • Close integration of service and manufacture
    • Giddens: this approach overemphasizes economic factors
  • Modernity
    • Refers to the industrial period
    • Based on notion of “progress” – i.e., history has a direction, things get better
  • Postmodernity means that idea has collapsed
    • Social reality is now pluralistic and diverse
    • Everything is in flux
    • Shafer and Divney: Postmodernists overemphasize cultural factors, wrong about “end of history”
globalization influences
Globalization: “influences”
  • Telecommunications
  • Fall of U.S.S.R, “capitalist road” in China brought virtually entire planet into market system
  • Transnational corporations dominate: biggest 500 TNC’s bigger than most countries’ economies
globalization debate
Globalization debate
  • Skeptics:
    • Globalization is not new
    • Regionalization more significant
    • National governments still play important role
    • Shafer: current events lend credence to the skeptics’ points
globalization debate1
Globalization debate
  • Transformationalists:
    • Globalization is changing societies, but governments hold onto some power
    • Globalization is “multidirectional”
    • New, “nonterritorial” social organizations:
      • TNC’s
      • NGO’s
      • Social movements
globalization debate2
Globalization debate
  • Hyperglobalizers:
    • New global order being born
    • Market forces more powerful than national governments (Ohmae)
    • National governments in decline
    • International organizations grow in power:
      • European Union
      • World Trade Organization
campaign for global justice
Campaign for global justice
  • Grassroots social movement concerned about global inequality
  • Battle of Seattle, 1999
  • Continues today (Miami anti-FTAA protest)
  • Has its own media using WWW:
epilogue social movements
Epilogue: social movements
  • Conscious, organized actions to influence social change
  • Piven and Cloward: most effective when mass-based, non-bureaucratic
  • Maoism and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution:
    • Revolution within a revolution
    • Among many other things, tried to invent new relations of production (non-wage labor)