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Chapter 15

SOC 100 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Environmental Sociology, William Fielding Ogburn, Gemeinschaft And Gesellschaft

Course Code
SOC 100

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Chapter 15: Social Change and the Environment
How Social Change Transforms Social Life
Social Change describes a shift in the characteristics of culture and society.
There have been four major social revolutions throughout history:
o The first revolution allowed hunter/gatherer societies to develop into
horticultural and pastoral societies
o The second social revolution came because of the invention of the plow, when
many places turned into agricultural societies
o The third revolution was the Industrial Revolution, which came with the steam
o The fourth revolution started with the invention of the microchip
Societies have gone from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft
o Gemeinschaft (Traditional) societies are small, rural, and slow-changing
The division of labor between men and women is strict
o Gesellschaft (Modern) societies are large, urbanized, and fast-changing
There is a more fluid division of labor between the sexes
Marx argues that when feudal society broke up, people moved to the cities and were
then exploited by the capitalists
o The tension between capitalists and workers remains today
Max Weber traced capitalism to the Protestant Reformation
o They laid the groundwork for the industrial revolution, these changes are a part
of the process called modernization
When technology changes, societies change
Social movements are often a major factor in social change
o Globalization means that these movements will transcend borders
Global politics is a significant factor in social change
o By the 16th century, many nations with advanced technology started to become
very wealthy through colonialism
o When these richer nations industrialized, they started to exploit the resources of
countries that had not industrialized
o The world system theory states that this made the non-industrialized nations
dependent and unable to develop their own resources
o At the G8 meetings, world powers set policies to guide global economic affairs.
Their goal is to maintain global dominance, including the dominance of the
Middle East to keep their access to cheap oil
The G8 is made up of Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, Russia, U.S.,
Germany, and Japan
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o The G8 faces four major threats:
Dissension within: Russia wants more power, and they are quick to
perceive threats and retaliate.
Resurgence of China: China is emerging as a very formidable world
power. They threaten the G8s plans for Asia and Africa. They will likely
be added to the group
Resurgence of Ethnic Rivalries and Conflicts: There is racial tension all
over the world. For example, Muslims feel unwelcome in Europe, and
there is a lot of Black-White tension in the United States
Aftermath of the Cold War: Russia and the United States still do not get
along well. They are suspicious of each other.
o The members of the G8 are realizing that African poverty and political corruption
breed political unrest that can come back to haunt them
Stabilizing and taking control of Africas resources is becoming more
Theories and Processes of Social Change
There are two types of evolutionary theories that explain how societies change:
o Unilinear
This theory assumes that all societies follow the same path, from simpler
to more complex forms
Lewis Morgan claimed that all societies go through three stages:
savagery, barbarism, and civilization
o Multilinear
These theorists propose that different routes lead to the same stage of
development. All paths lead to industrialization
All evolutionary theories accept the assumption of cultural progress
o Tribal societies are seen as primitive, and as they evolve they reach a superior
form that characterizes the Western world
o This theory, along with all evolutionary theories, have been completely rejected
o Tribal cultures are being appreciated more for their culture, and the Western
world is in a state of crisis (poverty, racism, war, terrorism, sexual assaults, and
unsafe streets)
Cyclical theories assert that civilizations are like organisms
o They are born, enjoy an exuberant youth, come to maturity, decline into old age,
and then die
o Arnold Toynbee claims that each society faces challenges to its existence.
o The ruling elite manages to keep the remaining oppositional forces under control
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