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More on Social Change Two Theorists with some interesting ideas Daniel Chirot – professor at University of Washington – How Societies Change Alvin Toffler – “futurist” the Great Wave; Future Shock. Chirot Culture “The store of knowledge any society possesses” Cultural “memories” .
Two Theorists with some interesting ideas
Daniel Chirot – professor at University of Washington – How Societies Change
Alvin Toffler – “futurist” the Great Wave; Future Shock
Culture “The store of knowledge any society possesses”
Invention of deep plow
Efficient use of moist heavy soil
Contributed to 400-year expansion of Europe
Machinery (Industrial Revolution)
Petrochemicals – airplanes, etc.
Environmental influences brought about the invention of the STATE – about 3000 years ago
State = 1. stable government
2. Social diversification
Elaborate bonds of kinship and mutual dependence
Many of our deepest beliefs and cultural attributes still come from these venerable civilizations, even though most of the world no longer really according to such arrangements
(fight/flight mechanisms, for ex.)
First specialists were SHAMANS – natural healers, understood supernatural forces (chiropractors?!?)
Before state, were impermanent
After state, became permanent
1st rulers of states were priest-warrior kings
Prestige - knowledge
Class position based on birth
(Who is today’s elite = technological knowledge)
Problems of administration – how do elite control the masses? How to get things done?
“Technology of Administration” needed to be developed – social, not mechanical skill
King in capital needed to control people in outlying areas – how to get people to give up their revenue to the king
Why some changes resisted, some welcomed?
“ethic of survival” – people were “close to the margin” – could not afford to try something new (crop rotation)
Peasants or elite?
Diffusion of innovation
From “early adopters” to “resistors”
Transition to agricultural states took place in unusually crowded places from which it was difficult to escape problems – needed to adapt, more exchange of ideas
General rule of social change – the longer there has been social stability, the more difficult to carry out reform
Established groups – economic social status, political – consolidate positions, learn to defend
Establishment more set in its ways
Only catastrophe weakens established interest groups to reduce resistance
Competition and trade led to many more social and political mutations
People on coasts vs. those in interior
Cultural change as “slow drift toward inefficiency”
Before this were hunter-gatherers, living in small, often migratory groups, feeding by foraging, hunting, fishing, herding – “primitive” peoples
No societal structure; no “kinship” recognized; lived “hand to mouth”
Life not substantially different in 1500 AD than it was in 1000 AD
Agricultural revolution almost exhausted by end of 17th century
When industrial revolution began in England (1650-1750)
Touched every aspect of human life
Tractors, typewriters, refrigerators
Wristtwatch, ballot box
Note conflict between 1st wave and 2nd wave in settlement of US: first settlements agricultural, then farms pushed further west….
Civil War – “would the rich new continent be ruled by farmers or industrializers”?
Today only remnants of 1st wave are in Africa and S. America ?
Industrial Revolution “ violently” split lives – ripped apart underlying unity of society, creating
“economic tension, social conflict, and psychological malaise”
Split production and consumption (from family to large impersonal company)
Sector A (production for self ) huge in Wave 1; Sector B (production for others) small
Industrialism broke the union of production and consumption, and split the producer from the consumer
First – marketplace as center of life;
Then, economy becomes “marketized”
Today, concern with money, gods, things, not a reflection of capitalism, but uf industrialism
Dual personality of producer and consumer – producer: defer gratification, be disciplined, work hard, be a team player, be obedient
Consumer: seek instant gratification, pursue individual pleasure
Don’t make anything –sell things and provide services
Also highly dependent on computers - hardware and software
Examples of major companies in US
But its effect on economy is diminishing
# jobs in industrial sector diminishing –
# jobs in service sector increasing
Quad Cities – mid 1980s – lost ag industry – what replaced it?
1st – “living batteries” men and animals
2nd – irreplaceable fossil fuels
3rd- “intellectual capital”
1st – “necessary inventions” – winch, wedge, catapult, lever, hoise
2nd – electromechanical
3rd – computers
1st – handcraft methods of production
2nd – “mass production”
3rd – production for “niches”
1st – by human/animal
2nd – by train, highways, complex mass distribution methods
3rd – by email, fax
1st – large, multi-generational, immobile
2nd – nuclear, smaller, more mobile, more fragmented
3rd – more diverse demographically …
1st – home school, one room school, less needed or sought (needed on farm)
School year is vestige of 1st wave
2nd – mass, overt curriculum to create workers; children started in school younger and stayed longer
3rd – individualized, distributed, online, for special training needs
1st – individuals, no real business format
2nd – huge companies, conglomerates, “immortal beings”
3rd – fast-changing; more flexible; still trend toward consolidation
1st – face to face, writing, limited, reserved for rich and powerful
2nd – massive amounts of information to masses; post office; internal and external; telephone and telegraph; identical messages to masses “facts”
3rd – “paperless society”??? More personal, individual, email
The first wave is dying (death of the family farm) except in 3rd world countries
The second wave has passed its prime and is on the decline (decline of unions and of steel and auto companies and of conglomerates)
The third wave is in its prime (service economy booming; computers ubiquitous; personalization key)
What will be effect on work, family, communications, education, production, distribution….?
1st wave 8000 BC to 1650 AD (almost 10000 years)
2nd wave 1650 to 1950 (300 yrs)
3rd wave 1950 to present 2000 (50 years)
4th wave ??? Starting now?