The Characteristics of Social Change

After understanding the concept of change along with social change and cultural change, now it is important to understand the nature and characteristics of change.
The main characteristics of change are given below

a) Change is universal. No society is static, whether it is the primitive society, or the most civilized one. The speed and rate of change is relative, it differs from society to society, and from time to time.

b) Social change is community change. It does not refer to the change in the life of an individual, or life patterns of several individuals. It is a change, which occurs in the life of the entire community.

c) The speed of social change is relative. It is not the same throughout society. Social change in urban areas is faster than in rural areas. The speed and rate of social change is relative, because the nature and speed of social change is affected by, and related to the time factor. The speed of social change differs Change – An Overview from time to time, because the factor which causes change does not remain the same with the change of time. In India, industrialization started after 1947. Hence, the speed of social change is faster after 1947 than before 1947. In 1991, the policies of liberalisation, globalization, and privatization were introduced and they revamped the Indian economy, affecting each and every aspect of India. Hence, there is a difference in the rate of change before 1991 and after 1991 in India.

d) Change is a law of nature. It is natural. It can occur either in natural course, or, as a result of planned efforts. It is also a natural tendency, that our needs keep changing. To satisfy our desire for change and our changing needs, social change becomes a necessity.

e) It is difficult to predict the exact form of social change. There is no inherent law of social change according to which it assumes definite form. For example, it is assumed that industrialization will increase the speed of urbanization, but we cannot predict the exact forms, and which social relationships will be impacted in future, on account of industrialisation.

f) One change leads to many changes in a chain-reaction sequence. For example, technology has changed the domestic system of production. The changed domestic system of production brought women from the home to the factory and the office. The employment of women resulted in their independence from the bondage of man, and it brought about a change in women’s attitude and ideas. It meant a new social life for women. It, consequently, affected every aspect of the family life.

g) Social change is multi-factorial. Many factors work together to induce a change. This is because, social phenomenon are complex and mutually interrelated, and interdependent.

h) Social change may be broadly classified as modifications or replacements. As for example, the joint family system is changing to nuclear family. The Gurukul system has changed to the centralized school system.

Society’s ideas about women’s right, religion, government, and citizen’s right to information and education stand modified today.