evolutionary theory of social change

Underlying all theories of evolution, there exists a belief of infinite improvement in the next stage over the preceding one. Therefore, early social evolutionists saw society as progressing to higher and higher levels. It is now not only used as a means of communi­cation but it has enabled us to operate home appliances and entertainment devices, monitor our home’s safety, customise our internal home environment. 7. A number of sociologists have held that social change can be brought about by means of conscious and systematic efforts. There exists a uniformity or regularity of relationships among defined phenomena in the world. The instability of the homogeneous: Theorists of this persuasion recognise that human culture has evolved along a number of lines. In human society qualities like sympathy, sacrifice, kindness, love etc. They had low degrees of differentiation, specialization, and integration. It does identify some social trends as merely universal: the progression from smaller to larger, simpler to more complex, rural to urban, and low technology to higher technology but it recognises that these can come about in various ways and with distinct consequences. Although evolutionary theory in sociology is attributed to Herbert Spencer, it is clear that it was taken for granted by writers as diverse as Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels and V. Gordon Childe. Those who were fascinated by this theory applied it to the human society and argued that societies must have evolved from the too simple and primitive to that of too complex and advanced such as the western society. The process of social change can therefore be thought of as a ‘moving equilibrium’. Critics (mostly conflict theorists) argued that functionists have no adequate explanation of change. Marx and Engels maintained that each stage of civilisation, such as feudalism, prepared the ground for the next. In this connection, Ogbum and Nimkoff (1958) argue: “An important invention need not be limited to only a single social effect. Technological Theory. ... (in Spencer). William Graham Sumner (1934), who has been labelled as a ‘Social Darwinist’ also used the idea of evolution, as had Spencer, to block efforts at reform and social change, arguing that social evolution must follow its own course, dictated by nature. The changes in the form of matter are responsible for the evolutionary process. The proletariat would overthrow the bourgeoisie and seize the forces of production—the source of power. SOCIAL CHANGE THEORIES 1) FUNCTIONALISM (relates to Linear development models of social change, see Lenski) The crux of Spencer’s theory of physical evolution is that according to Spencer, in the process of evolution latent becomes manifest and indefinite passes towards definiteness and lastly homogeneous mass of matter becomes more and more differentiated. Evolutionary social thinkers were interested in the study of “origin”, “gradual change and growth” and “development of the society”. Content Filtrations 6. Spencer’s theory of social evolution points out to two stages: 1. The ‘super-structure’ consists of those features of the social system, such as legal, ideological, political and religious insti­tutions, which serve to maintain the ‘infra-structure’, and which are moulded by it. It was due to the ruthlessness and greed of those who controlled these great inventions. As it stands, this materialist conception of history certainly encourages us to regard ‘evolution’ of the economic base as the key to social change—what Engels called ‘the law of development of human history’. (b) Those emphasising exogamous factors such as economic, cultural or historical. These theorists believed that the society, like human body, is a balanced system of institutions, each of which serves a function in maintaining society. According to him animal has to struggle to preserve its existence. Theories of social change can be divided into two groups: (1) Theories relating to the direction of social change: Various types of evolutionary theories, and cyclical theory. Moreover, culture in turn seeks to direct technology to its own ends. Modern sociology has tended to neglect or even to reject this theory, mainly because it was too uncritically applied by an earlier generation of sociologists. Finally, we will see how the theory of social change is used in sociological inquiry. Man has become more pragmatic in his outlook. or some general trend to complexity inherent in the development of societies. It was first proposed by the sociologist Lee Ellis in 2005 in his paper "A Theory Explaining Biological Correlates of Criminality" published in the European Journal of Criminology. Unilinear theory which is again a deterministic theory applied Charles Darwin of civilisation, as. 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