Social change

Social change is the process by which a community changes its customs, legislation, culture, etc., for different internal or external reasons.

journalism and communication faculty
Friday, July 29, 2022

Social change is a factor that directly affects the shaping of a community. Although it is not something we experience on a daily basis, we can say that we have all experienced at least one social change in our lives. Since these changes can sometimes be abrupt, it is important to anticipate them by preparing for them in advance. Professional journalists must be aware of these changes, as they are the main information channel.

Social change can be defined as the transformation of culture and social institutions, in short, of social patterns over time. Within social patterns, we can differentiate:

  • Those of a more static nature such as social roles or beliefs.
  • The most dynamic ones, such as fashion in clothing.

However, they are all subject to change. It is very common to point out that change is not essentially good or bad, although there are conservative people who denounce change and more innovative people who are enthusiastic about it. What is undeniable is that any change entails both positive and negative consequences, although this outcome depends, to a large extent, on the current position of the different individuals. Specifically, social change gives rise to three types of consequence groups:

  • By adaptation or reproduction.
  • Within society.
  • Type of society.

Barriers in the concept of social change

Another obstacle of the concept of social change, in addition to the qualification of its results, positive or negative, which depend on the perspective of the individuals that make up the society itself, is to determine if and when social change has actually occurred.

As an example, it could be argued that markets have changed considerably since the arrival of the Internet, with very different forms of communication and sales than before its appearance, but it can also be argued that the market, as an institution, does not present substantial changes in its supply and demand format, although the technologies for relations between operators have changed.

And what is the moment at which the change takes place, so we can ask: from what percentage of Internet purchases can we declare that a social change has been constituted? The different speed of change in different societies can be integrated into this question.

In this way, more developed societies tend to be more open to change, which is why it occurs more rapidly, while less developed societies, economically and technologically, evolve more slowly and, in some cases, are even reactionary to such changes.

However, the phenomenon of globalization, a social change that is perceived as indisputable, means that there are fewer and fewer places in the world isolated from the continuous movements occurring in societies.

Social movements and changes in society

In this context, it is relevant to note that social movements are often precedents for many of the social changes, by expressing the demands of social groups on society as a whole, which can be:

  • A change in traditional ideologies as occurred with ecologism and environmentalism.
  • A restructuring within the existing system, such as an increase in basic income.
  • A radical change in the type of society, democratically as a referendum or forced as a revolution.

Within the social groups that generate social movements that can bring about social change are the so-called agents of social change, those people who are capable of providing a voice that brings together the thoughts of many. Although anyone can be an agent of social change, their profile is closer to groups of young people and teenagers, who can mobilize large groups such as student movements and, at the present time, have a better command of new technologies than any other group.

The ruling classes are also important agents of social change. Another characteristic of social change is the different speed of the different cultural elements, where the tangible components have a greater speed of change than the intangible components.

In this way, changes in fashions are simpler, every year there are new styles in people’s clothing than changes in ideologies, although the elections are a sign of the changes that are taking place in different countries. In short, a social change is an important modification in the structure of a society, which can occur in the values, traditions, norms, political relations, forms of government or material manifestations of the community in question.

Social modifications

Society modifications can occur in different ways, such as:

  • Social process (Globalization).
  • Social trend (the inversion of the demographic pyramid in European countries).
  • Conjunctural structural modification (the digitalization processes of the Administrations).

Social changes

The transformations that occur within the scope of a social structure occur in many different elements that make up the social context, such as cultural symbols, behavioral patterns, norms, economy, politics and value systems. Most societies try to maintain the established order, since they are based on it, despite the fact that changes in their structures are inevitable.

Among the most significant long-term events in human history were the Industrial Revolution, the abolition of slavery and the feminist movement, which were generated by various types of social change.

Main types of change

  • Conflict. It is a change that appears as a result of the imposition by one sector of society over another, generating a conflict that can be seen in the economic, political and social spheres.
  • Evolution. This type of change is common in flexible, tolerant and open societies. It is observed in those societies in which social power is applied taking into account the wishes of all its sectors. It consists of progressive updating over time, the result of which does not disturb the social group in which it occurs.
  • Revolution. It is an abrupt change, of high degree and highly remarkable, which implies the rupture of the existing institutional order, substituted by another different order that alters the whole social regime and the personal behaviour and the lifestyle of the group it affects.
  • Conjunctural change. It’s a transformation that promotes the re-dimensioning of the productive system, with the intention of obtaining economic advances that have not been achieved under the old scheme. These conjunctural changes lead to the emergence of new companies, the creation of jobs and the improvement of salaries.
  • Derivative. This type of change is so slow that it is imperceptible to the societies that experience it. It is produced by the accumulation of small transformations that together represent an important and innovative process.

The professional as a performer of social change

It is important to emphasize that every professional, regardless of his or her area, plays a role of change in society. However, this is not what we mean when we talk about performers in social change. Professionals in a certain area are of greater importance here, and they are journalists and communication specialists. They are in charge of disseminating valuable and important information to different communities.

TECH Technological University provides quality virtual education to its students in a complete and comprehensive manner. For this reason it has positioned itself as the largest virtual university in the world. A clear example of this is its School of Communication and Journalism where it is possible to find specializations such as the Master’s Degree in Multimedia Journalism and the Master’s Degree in Investigative Journalism and TV Reporting.

However, it is necessary to highlight the specialization that is closest to the topic related to this article, and that is the Master’s Degree in Marketing Management and Political Communication. In it, the professional will acquire extensive knowledge on the global theme in just one year.

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