introduction to theories of social change

Strasser, Hermann and Randall, Susan C. (March 1974) introduction to theories of social change. Former Series > Forschungsberichte / Research Memoranda 81


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abstract (introduction): the purpose of this book is two-fold: (1) to present some of the conceptual and analytical considerations involved in the sociological study of change; (2) to present a fairly comprehensive survey and critical evaluation of the most prominent approach to the study of social change, i.e., structural-functionalism, in its entirety by treating it as a single theoretical stance; and (3) to present, within the context of these considerations, three contemporary theories dealing with various aspects of social change to show how they may be used as complementary schemes to produce a more "complete" theory of change. in part i, we review the major schools of thought, with special emphasis on functional theory, on the issues of conceptualization and explanation of change. more specifically, we deal with the questions of what social change is, what causes change and how change takes place and examine the answers to these questions proposed by some major theories on the subject. in part ii, we present summaries of three contemporary theories on change. the first theory to be presented was developed by barrington moore in his social origins of dictatorship and democracy. it is a societal level analysis of the changesconnected with a nation's transformation from a feudal to an industrial society. the second theory, presented by neil j. smelser in his theory of collective behavior, deals with group level actions directed toward partial or complete changes in the social order. the third theory, or set of related theories on the intra- and interpersonal level, involves various studies done on the relationship between social status and activities and attitudes related to social change. most of these concepts involve individual reactions to certain social conditions although some are generalizable to status group reactions. although each of the theories deals with various aspects of the problems considered in part i, they represent three very different approaches to the study of social change. after presenting these theories, some of their major differences will be examined in relation to the issues posed in the first part of this study. finally, the possibility and utility of bringing these theories together as complementary explanatory schemes will be explored, in spite of, or rather largely because of, their differences.;

Item Type: IHS Series
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 10:34
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2016 14:07

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