Social Development

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"Social development" redirects here. For the aspect of human biological development, see psychosocial development.



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Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic structure, for instance a shift away from feudalism and towards capitalism. Accordingly it may also refer to social revolution, such as the Socialistrevolution presented in Marxism, or to other social movements, such as Women's suffrage or the Civil rights movement. Social change may be driven by cultural, religious, economic, scientific or technological forces. More generally, social change may include changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviours or social relations.Contents[hide]

1 Prominent theories of social change 2 Some major current social changes 3 See also 4 Notes 5 References 6 External links


theories of social change

Basically, change comes from two sources. One source is random or unique factors such as climate, weather, or the presence of specific groups of people. Another source is systematic factors. For example, successful development has the same general requirements, such as a stable and flexible government, enough free and available resources, a diverse social organization of society, and a stable and flexible

governmental system. So, on the whole, social change is usually a combination of systematic factors [1] along with some random or unique factors. Hegelian: The classic Hegelian dialectic model of change is based on the interaction of opposing forces. Starting from a point of momentary stasis, Thesis countered by Antithesis first yields conflict, then it subsequently results in a new Synthesis. Marxist: Marxism presents a dialectical and materialist concept of history; Humankind's history is a fundamental struggle between social classes. Kuhnian: The philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn argues in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions with respect to the Copernican Revolution that people are unlikely to jettison an unworkable paradigm, despite many indications that the paradigm is not functioning properly, until a better paradigm can be presented. Heraclitan: The Greek philosopher Heraclitus used the metaphor of a river to speak of change thus, "On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow" (DK22B12). What Heraclitus seems to be suggesting here, later interpretations notwithstanding, is that, in order for the river to remain the river, change must constantly be taking place. Thus one may think of the Heraclitan model as parallel to that of a living organism, which, in order to remain alive, must constantly be changing. Daoist: The Chinese philosophical work Dao De Jing, I.8 and II.78 uses the metaphor of water as the ideal agent of change. Water, although soft and yielding, will eventually wear away stone. Change in this model is to be natural, harmonious and steady, albeit imperceptible. Resource-based economy: Jacque Fresco's concept of a resource-based economy that replaces the need for the current monetary economy, which is "scarcity-oriented" or "scarcity-based". Fresco argues that the world is rich in natural resources and energy and that with modern technology and judicious efficiency the needs of the global population can be met with abundance, while at the same time removing the current limitations of what is deemed possible due to notions of economic viability.


major current social changes

One of the most obvious changes currently occurring is the change in population distribution. In the recent decades, developing countries became a larger proportion of world population, increasing from 68% in 1950 to 82% in 2010, while population of the developed countries has declined from 32% of total world population in 1950 to 18% in 2010. China and India continue to be the largest countries, followed by the US as a distant third. However, population growth throughout the world is slowing. Population growth among developed countries has been slowing since the 1950s, and is now at 0.3% annual growth. Population growth among the less developed countries excluding the least developed has also been slowing, since 1960, and is now at 1.3% annual growth. Population growth among the least developed [2] countries has not really slowed, and is the highest at 2.7% annual growth. [edit]See


Social progress is the idea that societies can or do improve in terms of their social, political, and economic structures. This may happen as a result of direct human action, as in social enterprise or through social activism, or as a natural part of sociocultural evolution. The concept of social progress was introduced in the early 19th century social theories, especially those of social evolutionists like Auguste

Comte and Herbert Spencer. It was present in the Enlightenment's philosophies of history. As a goal, social progress has been advocated by varying realms of political ideologies with different theories on how it is to be achieved, ranging from socialists on the left to fascists on the right.

John Gast, American Progress, circa 1872.


1 Enlightenment


1.1 The notion of freedom

2 Marxism 3 Modernism 4 Postmodernism 5 Contemporary trends 6 Notes 7 Further reading 8 See also 9 External links

[edit]Enlightenment The big breakthrough to a new idea in Europe Enlightenment, when social commentators and philosophers began to realize that people themselvescould change society and change their way of life. Instead of being made completely by gods, there was increasing room for the idea that people themselves made their own society - and not only that, as Giambattista Vico argued, because people practically made their own society, they could also fully comprehend it. This gave rise to new sciences, or proto-sciences, which claimed to provide new scientific knowledge about [1] what society was like, and how one may change it for the better. In turn, this gave rise to progressive opinion, in contrast with conservational opinion. The social conservationists were skeptical

about panaceas for social ills. According to conservatives, attempts to radically remake society normally make things worse. Edmund Burke was the leading exponent of this, although later-day liberals like Hayek have espoused similar views. They argue that society changes organically and naturally, and that grand plans for the remaking of society, like the French Revolution, National Socialism and Communism hurt society by removing the traditional constraints on the exercise of power. [edit]The

notion of freedom

This new idea implied a new concept of human freedom, i.e. people independently making their own lives using their own judgment. Initially, this concept appeared rather paradoxical; thus, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote, "People are born free, but are everywhere in chains". A big breakthrough was the French Revolution of 1789, which inspired a lot of new philosophical thought. In the philosophy of the German thinker Hegel, history radically recasts itself as the continual development of humanity towards ever-greater freedom, continually extending the limits of freedom. This philosophy is still religious and mystical however, insofar as Hegel sees history as culminating in the unity of God with the world, but at the same time, Hegel also affirmed and imputed a Logos or teleology to human history, and fully recognized that both evolutionary and revolutionary transformations took place in history. This was a hopeful philosophy, which in a rational way sees real progress occurring in history. It was possible to detect human advances, as well as human regressions to an earlier state. In Hegels view, if something existed, it was rational. If it passed out of existence, that was because it had become irrational. This contained a very important idea, however poorly expressed, namely that history was not a fluke of fate (a kismet) but that it could be rationally understood, at least in principle. [edit]Marxism Marx developed a theory of historical materialism. He describes the mid-19th century condition in the Communist Manifesto as follows: "The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty, and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that