chapter  4
26 Pages

Social change

The institutional and infrastructural changes that occur in the developing world have paramount effects on the daily lives of people. The establishment of factories, the building of roads and new housing units, the fiscal and economic policies adopted by the state, the large-scale movement of rural inhabitants towards urban areas – all signify the structural changes taking place throughout the developing world. Concurrent with, and reinforcing, such changes are somewhat less discernible yet equally significant alterations in people’s attitudes, views and general cultural orientation. It is within the context of a changing environment – politically, economically, as well as industrially – that what is generally known as ‘social change’ occurs. Thus a complete understanding of politics and society in the developing world is impossible without examining the processes associated with social change. The study assumes added importance in the context of the developing world, where political systems, industrial infrastructures and social and cultural value systems tend to be highly elastic and impermanent. It is this very elasticity of norms and values that leads not only to social crises and intrasocietal imbalances, but also to political instability, upheavals and even revolutions. The manner and processes through which social change is brought about are equally important, as are the ramifications of social change on the various social classes and on other emerging social and economic groups.