A definition of the sociological concept Essay Sample

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Social change, in sociology, the alteration of mechanisms within the social structure, characterized by changes in cultural symbols, rules of behaviour, social organizations, or value systems. Social change is the significant alteration of social structures (that is, of patterns of social action and interaction), including consequences and manifestations of such structures embodied in norms (rules of conduct), values, and cultural products and symbols.

Social change refers to any significant alteration over time in behavior patterns and cultural values and norms. It is the change in human interactions and inter-relations Examples of significant social changes having long-term effects include the industrial revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the feminist movement. Accordingly it may also refer to social revolution, such as the Socialist revolution presented in Marxism, or to other social movements, such as Women’s suffrage or the Civil rights movement. Social change may be driven by cultural, religious, economic, scientific or technological forces. One of the most obvious changes currently occurring is the change in population distribution. Encyclopaedia Britannica (2012) states that there are seven processes of social change. These processes contribute to one another and none is the sole determinant of social change. They are as followed: Why is there so much social change today, and why was there so little inancient times? The most probable answer, the result of quite extensive study,is mechanical invention and scienti.c discovery. There is no doubt that use- ful inventions and researches cause social changes

1.) Natural environment: changes from natural disasters, or spread of disease. Deforestation and similar topics in that nature, are not as important and have far-reaching social consequences. 2.) Demographic processes: population growth and increasing population density represent demographic forms of social change. population growth involving military conflict, expansion of society, multiculturalism. Increasing population can also stimulate technological innovations. 3.) Technological innovations: social evolution identify technological innovations as the most important determinants of societal change.

For example, the development of the computer. 4.) Economic processes: formation and extension of markets, change in rank relating to property (contract proprietor-tenant relations), changes in organization of labour (independent craftsmen to factory) 5.) Ideas: Weber regarded religious ideas as important contributors to economic development or stagnation, according to his controversial thesis, the individualistic ethic of Christianity, and in particular Calvinism, partially explain the rise of the capitalist spirit, which led to economic dynamism in the West. 6.) Social movements: a change in collective ideas is not merely an intellectual process; it is often connected to the formation of new social movements. 7.) Political processes: changes in the regulation of violence, in the organization of the state, and in international relations may also contribute to social change.

The background theory/theorist of the sociological concept

In the late 19th century, when evolution became the predominant model for understanding biological change, ideas of social change took on an evolutionary cast, and, though other models have refined modern notions of social change, evolution persists as an underlying principle. Sociologists in the 19th century applied Charles Darwin’s (1809–1882) work in biological evolution to theories of social change. According to evolutionary theory, society moves in specific directions. Therefore, early social evolutionists saw society as progressing to higher and higher levels. As a result, they concluded that their own cultural attitudes and behaviors were more advanced than those of earlier societies. Many of the classical 19th century sociologists such as Comte, Durkheim, Weber and Marx, shared a common intellectual interest in social changes associated with industrialization. They all saw these changes as having shaped the modern world. Comte and Weber in particular saw them as involving the progressive triumph of science rationality. Comte believed that modern society will be dominated by science (van Krieken et al, 2006).

The relevance of the sociological concept to nursing and health care Historically, medical and scientifically related occupations were dominated by males, whilst females dominated the nursing and midwifery professions or stayed at home. Doctors took the leadership role whilst the nurses were “minions” but nowadays nurses do a lot more than nurses in the past (Seifert, 2011). In the present, the majority of patient’s notes are now computerized and easily accessible, whilst in the past no such technology was invented yet to aid nurses and store computerized patient notes. Because of the lack of technology in the past, nurses used to lift patients (even heavy patients) due to the hand lifting policy, and hurt their back. But now the modern day technology has improved such as the lifter, pelican belts, slide sheets etc. The manual handling technique has made nurses lives easier and less nurses hurt their back (if they are doing the manual handling technique correctly, i.e. position self and lift with the legs, so all the weight is distributed to the legs). “Task-oriented nursing was replaced by team nursing which requires two or more staff be assigned to the care of group of patients. This means that the tasks are divided between the staff, who are responsible to the team leader, who is answerable to the head or change nurse” (Short, Sharman & Speed, 1993, p189).


Seifert, P. C. (2011). The once and future nurse. AORN Journal, 93(3), 318-321. Retrieved ScienceDirect database. Social change. (2012). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/550924/social-change Short, S. D., Sharman, E. & Speedy, S. (1993). Sociology for Nurses: An Australian Introduction. Crows Nest: MacMillan Education Australia. Van Krieken, R., Habibis, D., Smith, P., Hutchins, B., Haralambos, M. & Holborn, M. (2006). Sociology: Themes and Perspectives (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia.

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