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Conditions for and Impediments to Social Change

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Nalini Graham

on 18 December 2015

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Transcript of Conditions for and Impediments to Social Change

Conditions for and Impediments to Social Change
There are 3 conditions social change:
1. Leadership
2. The role of elites
3. A populace ready for change
There are 3 factors that could delay or slow down change from occurring:

1. Traditional Cultural Values
2. The Expense
3. Social Science Inquiry
Please define the following terms in your notes:
informational influence
normative influence
Marx lived in a time where a lot of social change was occurring
he noticed that people had a hard time adjusting and coined the term "ANOMIE"
this term referred to industrial workers who seemed to be without any roots or norms as they struggled to survive daily
He wrote about alienation of the
(working people) &
(unemployed people)
Alienation now refers to anyone who doesn't share major values of society and feels like an outsider
this happens when we feel pressure to accept societal norms
when the majority of people feel generally the same way,

occurs: when we belong to a group of people with similar views this reinforces our values and encourages us to be around those who share the same values
without subjective validity most of us would experience uncertinty
change is more likely to occur if the leader has charisma or is charismatic
a charismatic leader: a leader with a large vision, magnetic style, strong popular support
this type of leader places great demands on their followers, promises rewards for their support yet maintains a distance between themselves and those they lead
Chinese leader Mao Zedong: forced those he lead into communism, promised benefits of communist life including freedom from poverty and exploitation
allowed those he lead to warship his image thereby maintaining distance between himself and the people
Mao Zedong = an example of a leader's ability to sway people and change society for good or bad
Example of a leader who changed society not for the better

Hitler swayed people by his vision and personality
Imposed massive change on Germany and most of Europe

#2: The Role of Elites
a charismatic leader doesn't appear in every society
Modernizing Elites are another force that can cause social change
These are groups of people who create social change & influence the direction in which it goes
Example: An elite political group of princes have brought about social change with the help of increasing wealth from oil reserves
remember: social change is achieved through various modernizing elites and not a single charismatic leader - a combination of both
#3: A Populace Ready for Change
if the people aren't ready for change nothing will happen
for change to happen the vision of the leader has to fit with the "mood" of the people
Humans form and change their attitudes over time and these changes are on going
most values are acquired early in life and stay with us
Traditional Cultural Values
The Expense
Social Science Inquiry
holding on to tradition can hold back social change
Example: James Scott observed The Sedaka (an agricultural community in Malaysia)
he noted the poor workers were kept in place by routine repression (Scott, 1985, P. 274)
in the 1970s rich owners of rice farms wanted to mechanize the rice harvesting process
workers objected because they would be out of a job
workers resorted to
everyday forms of peasant resistance
: they deserted, sabotaged, stole, slowed working
workers wanted to maintain tradition for their purposes
if the change is too costly, it could slow down the degree of change that takes place
In Canada we use tax payers money to achieve social goals in response to the public's demands
Examples include: Universal Health Care starting in the 1960s and in 2001 allowing parents leave work for up to 1 year after the birth of a child
Programs such as these are costly and not every program can be introduced because the taxpayers would have to pay for it and there's only so much money available to fund programs
As a result, programs get cast aside due to their expense
the nature of conducting social science research can also cause change
Participatory research (a technique used by Sociologists) is often used to gather knowledge to empower oppressed groups
members of the oppressed groups decide on the goals & methods of study & hos the findings should be used
Example: groups such as sweing machine operators who work at a piece rate can make good subjects for this type of study
Limitations to Participatory Research
PR might not work with severely marginalized groups such as illegal immigrants
challenge of literacy or language barriers
some members are scattered geographically
some are too busy putting food on the table & working
This research method tries to highlight & social change inequality but doesn't require individuals to participate to the same degree
This method assumes the researcher is the advocate not the participants
reasons for people's alienation vary from discrimination to general dissatisfaction of an unhappy teen
this sometimes leads to some joining gangs or cults that reject society's values
extremely alienated individuals are known as
it's normal to feel alienated at times i.e. someone who is unemployed might feel alienated towards a society that values material wealth and professional success over other types of success
The pressure to conform comes in 2 types:
: the human desire to accept information that another, admired person tells us is valid.
: Listening to your parents when they say smoking is bad for you.
the more uncertain you are the more you're likely to adhere to informational influence
: The pressure to conform to the positive expectations of others.
: When a child pursues the same career as one or both of their parents

alienation & conformity are build into the society around us
alienation can be so severe that it causes people to give up and accept life in the margins, crime or dire poverty
it can also be a positive force
Women in the 1960s experienced alienation because of attitudes towards their role in society
this alienation lead to the women's movement and lead to social change in society
it generally discourages social change
Example: doing the same routine day after day and not changing it up OR fearing the consequences of wearing a new piece of clothing to school, you decide to wear the same clothes as everyone else
Consequences of conformity:
we do something that we know it's right& accept the practice
EXAMPLE: your friends bully the new student at your school but you don't speak up or do anything about it
Example: Going along with the apartheid in South Africa
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