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(or how cell phones make the world go round)
Social Movements, Social Change,
and Technology
 Social movements
 Theories of social change
 Resistance to social change
 Technology and the future
Social Change and Social
 Social change: significant alteration over time in
behavior patterns and culture
 Surveillance cameras in public places
 Virtual meetings
 Social networking sites
 Social movements: organized collective activities to
bring about or resist fundamental change in an existing
group or society
 Social movements have dramatic impact on history and the
evolution of social structure
 Even when unsuccessful, social movements contribute to
formation of public opinion
Relative Deprivation Approach
 Relative deprivation: conscious feeling of negative
discrepancy between legitimate expectations and
present actualities
 People must feel they have right to their goals
 People must perceive they cannot attain their goals
through conventional means
Resource Mobilization Approach
 Resource mobilization: ways a social movement
utilizes such resources as money, political influence,
access to the media, and workers
 Leadership central factor
 Help followers overcome false consciousness:
attitudes that do not reflect workers’ objective
Gender and Social Movements
 Women find it more difficult than men to assume
leadership positions in social movement
 Women often serve disproportionately as volunteers;
work not always recognized
 Gender can affect the way we view organized efforts to bring
about change
New Social Movements
 New social movement: organized collective
activities that address values and social identities as
well as quality of life
 Generally do not view government as their ally
 Educated, middle-class people are significantly
represented little inclination to accept established
authority, even scientific or technical authority
Theories of Social Change
 Evolutionary theory: Society viewed as moving in a definite
Investigates the behavioral links between humans and other animals
Influences human ecology
Study of the interaction between communities and their environments
Functionist theory:
 Equilibrium model: as changes occur in one part of society,
adjustments must be made in other parts
 Parsons: 4 processes of social change
 Differentiation
 Adaptive upgrading
 Inclusion
 Value generalization
Conflict Theories of Social Change
 Contends that social institutions and practices persist
because powerful groups have the ability to maintain the
status quo
 Change needed to correct social injustices and inequalities
 Marxist: social change appeals because it does not restrict people to
passive roles
 Dahrendorf found functionalist and conflict approaches were
compatible despite many areas of disagreement
Global Social Change
 Dramatic time in history to consider global social
 Hallinan noted need to move beyond restrictive
models of social change
 Sociologists must predict upheavals and major
chaotic shifts
Resistance to Social Change
 Efforts to promote social change likely to meet with
 Vested interests: people or groups who will suffer in
the event of social change
 Economic and Cultural Factors
 Material culture
 Nonmaterial culture
 Culture lag
Resistance to Technology
 Luddites raided factories and destroyed new
machinery during the Industrial Revolution in
 Neo-Luddites are wary of technological changes
 Urban Amish
 Those who resist the technological devices that have
become part of our daily lives
Cell phones
Technology and the Future
 Technology
 Cultural information about how to use the material
resources of the environment to satisfy human needs
and desires
 In 2008, Internet reached 1.8 billion users
 Not everyone has access; pattern of inequality is global
 Core nations have monopoly on information technology
 Offshoring: transferring other types of work to foreign
Global Offshoring
 Latest tactic of raising profits by reducing costs
 Conflict theorists charge that this aspect of
globalization furthers social inequality
 Significant source of employment for India’s upper
middle class
Privacy and Censorship
 Complex issues of privacy and censorship can be
considered illustrations of culture lag
 Legislation regarding surveillance of electronic
communications has not always upheld citizens’
right to privacy
 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, 1986
 USA PATRIOT Act, 2001
 Sex selection of fetuses
 Genetically engineered organisms
 Cloning
 Genetically modified food
 Human Genome Project
 Sociologists worry about ethical implication of such