Continuity and Change (Byte Size)
In this Course, we consider change and transition and the reasons for this process of change, particularly as it affects the organisations and institutions of our society. If we were somehow transported in time back to the mid-nineteenth century, we know that many things would be unfamiliar, strange or unusual. While nineteenth-century Britain would be unmistakably "British", many things such as transport, patterns of behaviour and other structures and processes would be virtually unrecognisable.
Similarly, if we were projected into the twenty-third century, many of the current institutions, structures and processes with which we are familiar would have changed beyond all recognition or have ceased to exist altogether.
When you have completed this course, you should be able to understand why change occurs in a society and to illustrate the process of change by examples from trade unions and work organisations. You should also be able to appreciate the major change processes affecting organisations and society as well as being able to identify and explain "post-industrialism" and "post-modernism" as central concepts of change.
By the end of the course, you should be able to:
- define change.
- identify significant features of two theories of social change - social evolutionism and historical materialism.
- discuss and give examples of the influence upon social change of the physical environment, political organisation and cultural factors.
- describe the origins and implications of the "agency" and "structure" approaches of social change.
- indicate the limitations of both "agency" and "structure" approaches to social change and illustrate how the two can be seen as complementary.
- explain what we mean by a social movement and give examples of different types.
- discuss the features, development and dynamics of social movements and their relation to change with reference to the work of Smelser and Touraine.
- identify the features and dynamics of post-industrialism and discuss what evidence there is of change towards post-industrialism in current British society.
- identify some common features shown by post-Fordist manufacturing and marketing developments, and the cultural ideas and philosophy of post-modernism.