Opinion – The concept of social change and development under the microscope


Change is a constant and gradual process, which is not just a thing of a modern world as perceived by many, but a million years? phenomenon that occurs since the existence of the first human (homo Erectus), and even before that.

Many aspects are attributed to the word “change”, such as climate change, economic, infrastructural, social, etc.

Narrowing this concept down to more relevant and effective social change can be hard work in which a contemporary person will not succeed.

In many cases, it is developmental changes that drive social changes in a given society or state, although this may be seen as the reverse by different intellects. Changes in architectural, infrastructural and/or technological improvement lead to a radical change in people’s lives, which results in social change.

According to Immanuel von Wiese (Von Wiese 1956:1-9), the concept of social change and development are very broad concepts which, when critically examined, denote an observed difference from previous states of social structures , institutions, habits or instruments of insofar as it is: (a) The result of legislative or other overt measures intended to control the conduct or (b) The conduct of a change either in a substructure specified, or in a dominant sector of social action, pursued in accordance with the modes of responding to the needs and expectations that prevail in a society. The term also refers to the process by which such differences arise.

He attempted a revision of the uses of the term social change, which has largely supplanted the term “evolution” or “development” (ibid). a) He specified two main uses of the term (a) an almost but not quite neutralized and non-controversial interpretation of the idea of ​​progress and (b) a statistical use, which makes the word “change” a purely quantitative conception (ibid: 7) . He distinguished social change from cultural change, used primarily in relation to technique and social impact, which refers to influences on one sphere of life from another, and reserves the term to refer to alternatives in the human relationship (ibid: 10 – 19). Max Ginsberg (Ginsberg 1956: 10 – 19) understands “social change” as a change in a social structure in terms of the size of a society, the composition or balance of its parts, or the vertices of an organization ( ibid:10), and also concludes that artistic or linguistic changes may fall within the term’s reference. AM Rose offers an exclusively intellectual and moral reference to social change as he claims: “Finally, we would define social change as alterations in the meanings and values ​​held by society or by significant subgroups in her” (Rose 1956: 54). He goes on to assert that further complications brought in in which the term “social change” is seen as the semantic heir of progress and possible predecessors of social dynamism must be brought into use to account for the facts previously organized in terms of progressive social development, or when social change is equated with progress.

So it is with attempts to describe or account for the laws by which any state or society produces the state that succeeds it (Mill 1843: 587).

There is another act of interpretation necessary, and now usually performed by linking change as progress to earlier news such that the history of the human species as a whole can be seen as the denouement of “hidden nature plans to achieve a perfect state of” civil. constitution for the vision of society expressed by Immanuel Kant (Kant 1784:439.

Beyond the problem of scale, however, like the problem of units, we must assume that social changes are reducible. This Condorcet affirms that “progress is subject to the same general laws that can be observed in the development of the individual, and that it is in fact only the sum of this development realized in a large number of individuals. united in society”.

The study of this process of development is a record of change and is based on the observation of human societies through the various stages of their development.

According to John Barraclough, social change can therefore be seen as anything that happens.

Questions of reductionism can therefore and do complicate the meaning of the term, whereas reduction to basic units arranged in services according to rather mechanistic notions of cause is now out of fashion, psychological reduction has appeared. Many of the changes recorded over the long period of conventional histories, such as the decline of the monarchy or the rise of popular government, occur sporadically in the behavior of individuals and only gradually consolidate into identifiable schematic changes.

As such changes occur, immeasurable moments of choice occur, according to Margaret Mead (Mead 1949: 19). With the concept of development, development has multidimensional meanings which include economic, social, cultural dimensions, etc. As underdevelopment, which appears as a negation of development, is a socio-political and socio-economic situation of any society. which is no longer structurally able to ensure the self-determination of its political superstructure and its economic base. The causes of underdevelopment lie in the external influences which are superimposed on the distorted traditional structures, the external force defined as colonialism or imperialism. For some, the introduction of capitalism has led to development in developing countries, others believe that it has led to underdevelopment.

These are some of the issues that arise when it comes to defining development. Indeed, the only feature common to all contexts/quotes is the demonstration or presumption that social or developmental change, insofar as it is taken into account by sociologists, is the product of verifiable causes. No society is ever static and changing, however, some changes are more important than others.

When the person is transformed economically, socially, politically and spiritually, integral development is said to have occurred.

2022-04-22 Reverend Jan Scholtz


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