Theories of Social Change

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By: Tea Celik


Diffusion: the spread of cultural items from one culture to another such as ideas, religion, styles, technology Example: The San smoked tobacco even though it was not of their original culture. The Europeans imported the tobacco from North America in the 17th century. Acculturation: results in a prolonged contact between two cultures. One culture may force their customs on another like the Europeans did to the Aboriginals with schooling believing they were ‘lower beings.’ Incorporation: taking an element of another culture and borrowing it to make it part of one’s own. Example: Canadian society took the canoe from the First nations to make it part of their own. Directed Change: One culture defeats or controls another and forces it to change aspects of its culture. Directed change often includes racist policies where the weaker are subjected to the wishes of the stronger power. Example: South African law was changed in 1976 that required all schools to teach Afrikaans the language spoken by the white minority when all black spoke different native languages. Cultural Evolution: cultures evolve according to common patterns. They move from hunter-gathering cultures to industrialized states in predictable stages. Example: Karl Marx popularized the idea of cultural evolution.


Behaviour Modification (Skinner): The Stages of Change model that has behaviour modification theories developed by psychologists. These stages attempt to determine the methods that can successfully change the behaviour of an individual, particularly focusing on those who display criminal behaviour.

Skinner conducted experiments on rats and developed his theory of operant conditioning stating that learning can be programmed by whatever consequence follows a particular behaviour. People tend to repeat behaviours that can be rewarded, and avoid behaviours that are punished....
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