Factors in Social Change

Sun, 09/29/2013 - 08:27 -- Umar Farooq

Factors in Social Change

Social change results from the interplay of various factors including geographic, biologic and cultural. Following are the factors of social change:

  1. Geographical Factors
  2. Biological Factors
  3. Cultural Factors

Geographic Factors

Climatic and all factors of earth surface influence man’s livelihood. Heat, cold, atmospheric conditions, drought, earth quakes etc. are factors whose interplay condition man. The abundance or scarcity of topographical factors including the soil and its resources of gas, oil and other minerals influence the possible development of agriculture and industry. The level of land and its general contour also influence the development of agriculture and industry. Geographic factors have varying influence on the cultural development of man and make up the physical context within which he lives. Man does not passively accepts the geographic factors as they are rather through interaction of geographic and cultural factors, adapts himself to his geographic environment. Man increasingly gains control over his environment to meet his needs. For instance, he uses knowledge and experience to make the dessert bloom or to convert water logged marshes into fertile fields capable of producing heavy yields of agriculture crops.

With the interaction of geographic and cultural factors of change, man takes the natural landscape and modifies it into a cultural landscape. The natural landscape that existed in the shape of a natural form, normally changed slowly.

Man modifies and add to the natural landscape by construction, such as Islamabad city or any other bridge, dam, highway, road, canal, irrigation channel are cultural landscapes which changes with greater rapidity.

Biological Factors

Plants and animals form the non-human environment for man, and as in the case of geographic environment, man modifies and uses it in ways that are culturally determined. He has been using it for many purposes, modifies them to serve his purposes, creating interaction between biologic and cultural factors. For example, man utilizes plants for a number of purposes like timber, fuel, shelter, food, and clothing. Similarly, he utilizes animals for food, meat, transportation etc. this indicates that man has been constantly changing his biological environment with the passage of time.

Human beings themselves are part of man’s biologic environment. A change in the density of population, structure, and composition are important factors in social change. It is evident in some parts of the world that rapid population growth interacting with other factors stimulates rapid social change. Population movement from rural to urban area concentration of population in cities, and other such demographic changes significantly influence the course of social change in a society

Cultural Factors

Changes in the knowledge, beliefs, values and modes of expression of a culture can also alter a society. Scientific discoveries can give rise to new technologies, which in turn can affect social organization. For example, communication and transportation speeded up the pace of commerce and trade both their volume and their geographical scope. Contacts with other cultures, diffusion among them, assimilation, acculturation, inventions, discoveries, etc are sources of change. The speed of change may be slow in some societies and may be fast in other. This variation can be attributed to the inter play of some of the factors.

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