What Is the Relationship Between Social Change and Changes in Space and Time?

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What is the relationship between social change and changes in space and time? Illustrate with examples drawn from at least two of : changes in cities, changes in media, changes in intimacy.

In looking at the relationship between social change and changes in space and time. We first require understanding of what social change is. Sociologists from every school of thought agree that social change is inevitable within our society. Social change is a highly diverse debate that has been analysed by theorist’s looking at the effects of social change on society. Anything that is socially constructed can be altered. Little changes are triggered by larger changes taking place. Urban life changed and progressed toward an industrial society. Space and time has been reordered. The working day was determined by the seasons, and by the amount of daylight there was. This however has changed, and the working day is now structured around clock time. Space within the home has changed. With family units not as large as previously had been and the availability of better housing conditions, families do not spend the same time together. In looking at some of the theories that have been documented with regards to changes in media and changes in intimacy we begin to acquire an understanding of how sociological change has had an impact.

The new media phenomenon holds a lot of potential for benefiting society. “Belonging to a digital culture binds people more strongly than the territorial adhesives of geography” (Mackay pg.123) Many who are not able to use conventional methods of communication are given an outlet whereby they can. Many are unable to visit places of interest to them and ICTs host many features allowing people to view and learn about places they would in most cases not be able to physically visit. “Internet communities – which are seen as binding people together in some sort of common culture in which imagined realities are shared” ( Hugh Mackay pg.159) The new ICTs can also be contested in that with having no physical contact can leave individuals feeling alone, isolated from others and could produce a desire for the physical presence of others.

“Together, today’s networks constitute a new form of society” (Hugh Mackay pg. 141). Internet does not alienate between creed, colour, ethnicity or disability and therefore it can be suggested that this multicultural society brings with it a form of social structure and community without any prejudice. There is no stigma attached to it. Castelles views the new technological devices of our society as the beginning of a revolutionary change. Globally the new forms of media have transformed the ways of communication and the availability of information. “Timeless time and the space of flows” (Hugh Mackay pg.141). By this he means that with new technology being made available there is no longer a need or reason for waiting time to exist. Everything is instantaneous, and can be acquired at the touch of a button. Snail mail has been replaced with e-mail. We are able to access many things at any time of the day or night. Also there is no physical space taken up. Cyberspace allows the exchange of all forms of information without the requirement of physical documentation.

“If the nineteenth century was the age of the telegraph and telephony, and the twenty – first century becomes that of biotechnology, it is not necessarily the case that the intervening era of late modernity is to be conceived as the ‘information age’” (Golding pg. 129) Golding does not agree with Castells view that there is a revolutionary change taking place due to the development of ICTs. His view is that social changes throughout the years are due to evolutionary developments. “Brief history of the electric telegraph shows that significant reordering of time and space began long before the internet” (Mackay pg.142). He suggests that communication with others via e-mail hosts the same enthusiastic doctrine as is held...
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