Social change is a phenomenon that is constantly encountered in our daily lives. This is because the society we live in is itself changing all the time. The concept of social transformation is very closely linked to social change. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably.
Sociologists have been trying to answer and explain, in main, three basic questions of social change. First, the question of whether social change is good or bad; second, the causal factors of social change; and third, the impact of social change to society. Modern sociology helps’ us understand and provide with explanation the complex set of changes that societies experience in the process of human history.
There are a number of ways in which social change has been understood and defined. It can be attributed to differences in perceptions and perspective of the concept and variation in labelling weight age to the idea and nature of social change.
However, it is generally agreed among sociologists that the focus in the discourse of social change is the aspect of occurrence of significant alterations in the organisation and/or structure and functions of social life rather than the regular, short term, and predictable reoccurrences.
A working definition of social change incorporates the aspects of significant changes in the various patterns of social relationships social processes, social patterns, action and interaction, the rules of relationships and conduct (norms), values, symbols and cultural products. The concept of social change also refers to variations over time in both the material and non-material aspects of culture.
These changes take place both from within the societies (endogenous forces) and from without (exogenous forces) that is brought about by external forces. The concepts of social transformation social change are closely interlinked. Social transformation is a relatively novel term that has gained some popularity in the recent decades in the discourse of the social sciences.
In fact, social transformation is a radical form of social change. It is a rather sudden change of a society and/ or state, usually with a larger scale, through agents such as revolution. The concept signifies the idea of a particularly deep and far-reaching change that alters the way of life of the people within a limited span of time.
However, social change is essentially concerned with minor and persistent changes in the social organisation and/or social structure of a society such as changes brought about in the patterns of family, marriage, and educational institution. Social change as connoting both the persistent changes (social change) and the radical and abrupt changes (social transformation) unless specific mention is made.