Sociology proposed theories have been beneficial in

Sociology of Development By Akintunde Osa, Ojutiku(Matrikeinummer 82253)  In Essay 1 Why and How Does Society Change and How Can We Analyze It       Supervised by: Prof .Dr. RudigerKorff                                                                                                                                       08.

05.2017  WHY AND HOW DOES SOCIETY CHANGE ANDHOW CAN WE ANALYZE IT Changeis an inevitable phenomenon. Change affects all aspects of human lives; it isactually essential for continuity of life processes. It is not restricted tobiological or sociological aspects, it relates to the political, economic,cultural, geographical, technological and virtually everything that pertains tothe human environment or society. It is therefore not an easy task to answerthe questions: “how and why a society changes?” Hence, we might find it moredifficult to analyze these changes that occur.

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 Thesetasks can only be handled through the sociological imagination of theresearcher in order to expand his or the horizon and view beyond theordinary human experiences. It enables the individual to look at the mostsimple or ordinary things of life from a per ulnar lens and reflect upon thesocial attributes attached to them which are not just limited to theindividual’s life. (Giddens, 2006. P.7) Consideringhuman behaviors, values and traditions being passed from one generation toanother; we notice changes which reflect that these behaviors and oraltraditions are constantly affected by some elements change. Traced back to theend of the industrial revolution, the traditional societies went through greatdeal of transformation.(Giddens, 2006. P.

10) Science and technology took overthe place of religion and agriculture and a whole lot of changes one to be.These changes can be said to evolve because it is still challenging to know howand why. Scholarslike August Comte tries to study human behavior, social change and social laws.He proposed the Law of Three Stages; which is that human effort have passedthrough theological, metaphysical and positive approaches.

He was criticized byDurkheim, who sees the study of social facts as events of nature that arecoercive and external. All these proposed theories have been beneficial inunderstanding how the social environment works. Hence, an idea is criticizedand improved upon through modern approaches to meet the challenges of theconstantly changing demands of the world. Chirot,2012 says to study social change, we will draw out comparisons between physicalevolution, genetic evolution and changes in human ideas, knowledge andinstitutions over time. Time has been the instrument to measure these changesand their effects. Agriculture has taken a new look with invention of machinesand industrial processes; these changes are seen worldwide, but their paces,levels or degrees differ as the human societies are able to keep up with them.

Therefore,we have classifications and categorization of the world into: the developed,the developing and the underdeveloped nations. Changeis dichotomous, its effects could be positive or negative. The modern societyhas complicated structures with diverse social systems and institutions; theyinclude: the family, religion, politics, education etc. The people areresponsible for their lives and thought processes; unlike the traditionalsociety, where the lifestyle of the people were dictated and controlled bycustoms and religious beliefs. Some people still exist in between the traditionaland modern world; the modern world does not include those who still hold ontight to the traditional lives.

That is, those who do not embrace developmentand those who are too poor to keep up with the demands of the changing world.(Giddens, 2006. P.42)Inevery human society, three basic factors influence social change; they could becultural, geographical or political. The cultural factors are religiousbeliefs, customs, rules, language, values that form their way of life; they arepeculiar to various cultures across the globe.

The geographical factorsinvolves the physical environment where people live in; humans form theirlifestyles around elements of nature in their environment. These elements vary,they cold be in form of temperature – hot or cold, features like forests ordeserts, seas or dry lands, mountains or low lands etc. The political factorscome to play as a result of grown and development. Hence, there is need forleadership, to maintain order, peace and stability in the growing society. Forexample: in Hunters and Gathers, they had leaders who took care of their basicneeds; as the group grew larger, they became a tribe and social sanctions wereintroduced to put everyone under cheek.

This help to maintain peace and orderwith other tribes. Thehuman societies constantly experience changes and the demands and goals changeas well, thereby, thought processes are adjusted to meet these demands.Advancement in information and communication technology has bridged the gap ofcommunication over the world.

Everyone is free to think as dimmed fit and cancreate an identity with better concepts that will enhance development andglobalization. Although the effects of globalization is felt as cultural valuesfade off, some countries still hold on to their values e.g. Kuwait. (Giddens,2006. P.

67) Itis necessary for human scientists to undergo changes; to analyze these changes,the research has to think deep to carry out such analysis. Questions like whathappened? How did it happen? Did it happen elsewhere? Did it happen for thefirst time or over time? And why it happened are good basis for thesociological research. (Giddens, 2006. P.78) The analysis will look criticallyat occurrences that happen over a period of time and thereafter interpret them.The researcher should make use of theoretical approaches in order to explainfacts about the occurrences. Some theories are limited to humaninterpretations, hence becomes subjective in nature. Thehistory of any human society is important in order to evaluate the progress anddevelopment level, but the modern world leaves out the role of history.

Moderntheorists and postmodern scholars like Michel Foucault and Jean Baudrillardagrees that there is no need for these histories because it is impossible topredict the events of the modern world. According to Gusfield 1967, thetraditional societies were not even static or structured in homogenous nature. Theissue of change in a society is primarily controlled by humans. Human relationsshow complexities and complications, hence, they cannot be predicted neithercan their actions be quantified using numerical units of measurement. Theycannot remain the same at different times and locations, therefore, theanalysis of social change requires the understanding of the constantly changingworld and human behaviors.

 Inconclusion, the society cannot exist without humans. As change is inevitable,the effects of social change could either be negative or positive, temporary orpermanent. Therefore, not every action of change comes with progress ordevelopment. With the challenges of the present world and new ideas orinnovations springing forth rapidly day by day.

Even with the changing societyfrom the traditional to the modern there is still an argument on the issues onthe trust of the modern society from the postmodern thinkers who sees thechanges as more complex with un-solving problems. I would like to think alongthis thought, why do people and society clamor for changes. Society wants areunlimited in diver’s ways which leads to diminishing marginal utility, bothindividually and collectively. Therefore society “post modernity” ask questionsof how, what and when. Just like the philosopher Socratics, who believe thatknowledge can only come for series of questions and there is no final answer tothe question, so also society will keep changing rapidly without a clearcutline in this new global phase of knowledge. For example in this modern and postmodernear, research worker are trained to be more open minded and flexible in itsapproaches which has geared new theories alongside with cultural relativism inorder to unravel the trending developmental effects that constantly transformthe human society.

This openness to new knowledge of series of questions hasbeen a source agent for societal changes.                        ReferenceGiddens, A. 2006, Sociology(6 ed.). Cambridge: Polity Press.Gusfield, J. R.

1967,Tradition and Modernity: Misplaced Polarities in the Study of Social Change. AmericanJournal of Sociology, 72 (4), 351-362.


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