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Chapter 12 Social Change, Collective Behaviour, Social Movements,

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Ryerson University
SOC 103
Tonya Davidson

SOC103 How Society Works CHAPTER 12 Social Change, Collective Behaviour, Social Movements, and the Future MODULE 12.1 – What is Social Change?  Social change: changes in the typical features of a society (e.g. norms and values) over time; ongoing and inevitable o Occurs when there are modifications or adjustments to public policy, cultural traditions, or social institutions that at times are inspired by collective behaviors o Broad concept used to explore changes that take place in interpersonal relations as in society’s social organization  Collective behavior: occurs when people come together to achieve a meaningful short-term goal that may result in social change o Not regulated by everyday rules and expectations that normally shape people’s actions  Social movement: collection of people who are organized to bring about or resist social change o Movement emerge from grassroots organizations that operate outside existing social power structures, including established political parties and the legal system  Rules of social change: 1. Change originates within what are seen as cutting-edge sources 2. Change addresses strongly felt need among the public 3. Change is material rather than nonmaterial 4. Change is broadly compatible with people’s existing values THE LIFE CYCLE OF SOCIAL CHANGE  Innovation: something new that inspires social change o Early adopters who are young, tend to live in cities, are middle class (or higher) with good education and enjoy distinguishing themselves from the crowed by setting trends, not following them  Exponential growth: the adoption of a new technology or behaviour by the majority of the population  Saturation: the point at which a new technology or behaviour becomes a part of everyday living  Understanding how technology can spread through society o Digital natives: Prensky’s term for people who grow up with digital technologies o Digital immigrants: Prensky’s term for people who grew up before digital technologies became commonplace OPPOSITION TO SOCIAL CHANGE  Vested interests: Veblen’s term to describe why privileged members of society resist change o Since leisure class gain wealth and social position not by personal actions or attributes but through inheritance, would resist change as it might cost them their lives of privilege  Luddites: a loosely bounded group of displaced textile workers who destroyed the new machines that put them out of work in the early nineteenth century INSPIRATIONS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE  Technology: anything that provides an artificial means to achieve a given end or result o Inspires a great deal of social change that is the application of knowledge to achieve practical purposes  Living through harsh physical environments by altering material culture and social behaviour  Demographic shifts due to events such as immigration, increased or decreased birth rates, migration of people who can create social change, and growing population of healthy seniors  Economic competition with the emergence of China and India as industrial powerhouses has led to a reordering of global capitalism  Warfare has a prime inspiration for technological development for military application  Ideas such as free will, evolution, democracy, and freedom inspires social change  Governments with strong political leadership and mobilize large-scale efforts to alter the character of a society  Individuals can inspire social change through personality, charisma, and conviction  Social movements where ordinary people come together to fight for or against something, tremendous social changes can occur SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACHES TO SOCIAL CHANGE  Functionalists interested in the forces that keep a society stable than in those that change it o Emergence of social problems indicates that social system needs to change in order to regain a state of equilibrium o Equilibrium theory: the assertion that a system requires changes in another part in order for society to return to a natural state of balance and harmony SOC103 How Society Works  Conflict theory argues that since the rich and powerful maintain their control over society to benefit their interests, anything that challenges the status quo will be resisted o True equality possible only in the final stage of social development: communism o To achieve equality, social change as coming about through active revolt against oppression and exploitation; considers conflict as inevitable and necessary to inspire social change that will rid the world of inequality  Evolutionary theory believed that societies move through three stages of evolution, called Law of Three Stages 1. Theological stage – use religion and the acts of god to explain the world and human behaviour 2. Metaphysical stage – societies question the teachings of religion, and can understand and explain the universe through their own insight 3. Positive stage – use science to understanding the world o Unilinear evolutionary theory: assertion that there is only one path through which an organism or society can evolve o Universal evolutionary theory: assertion that all societies must process in the same manner o Neoevolutionary theory: Lenski’s analysis of the role that technology plays in people’s adjustment to the physical world; it is multilinear, continuous, and fluid  Cyclical theory assumes social change occurs in a cycle; there is an ebb and flow through time according to a series of endless cycles  (Pitirim Sorokin) social change occurs over time by moving back and forth between two opposites: o Ideational culture: society driven to seek and achieve spiritual goals o Sensate culture: society that interprets the social and physical world through the senses MODULE 12.2 – COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOUR  Collectivity: substantial number of people who join together on the basis of loosely defined norms o Little solidarity or loyalty, short period of time, no defined boundaries, few recognized leaders, display only basic division of labour  Localized collectivities: collectivities in which the members are located in one another’s immediate physical presence  Dispersed collectivities: collectivities in which the members are in different places at the same time LOCALIZED COLLECTIVITIES  Crowds: unorganized collections of people who gather temporarily for a particular cause and are united by common mood  Four types of crowds: 1. Casual crowd: unorganized collection of people who just happen to be in the same place at the same time  Lacks formal leadership or structure and is the simplest form of collective behaviour 2. Casual crowd: chance collection of individuals in the same location at the same time  Generally behave in ways that are appropriate to given activity and disperse without incident 3. Expressive crowd: collection of people who gather intentionally to express their emotions 4. Acting crowd: collection of people who gather to express anger and direct it outwardly at a specific person, category of people, or event  Mob: a crowd that gathers to achieve an emotionally driven goal  Flash mob: a planned gathering of large numbers of people for a brief and predetermined period of time  Riot: type of acting crowed that directs its anger towards multiple targets, moving from one to another in unpredictable ways  Protest crowd: deliberately assembled crowd to rally support for a social movement DISPERSED COLLECTIVITIES  More likely to react in emotional or relatively unconventional ways to situations or messages  Five types of dispersed collective behaviours: 1. Rumours: specific information passed from person to person that lacks reliable evidence; helps to justify, explain, and provide meaning to ambiguous situations  Gossip: intimate and personal communication meant to be entertaining  Urban legend: short, persistent, nonverifiable tale with an ironic or supernatural twist SOC103 How Society Works 2. Mass hysteria: occurs when people react to a real or imagined event with irrational or frantic fear 3. Disasters: an unexpected event that causes extensive damages to people, animals, and property 4. Fashion, fads, and crazes  Fashion: social pattern that outwardly expresses an individual’s identity as being “with it”  Fad: short-lived but enthusiastically embraced new cultural element o Four distinct types of fads: object fads (cellphones, pogs), idea fads (astrolog
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