KWAKU FRIMPONG MARFO
Background and introduction
The issue of social change in the world, and for that matter Ghana has been a major concern for most people, especially Sociologists. This essay seeks to examine the effects of social change on the traditional Ghanaian family, economy and politics. Social Change, according to Zanden 1990, is the fundamental alterations in the patterns of cultural structures and patterns of behavior over time. Needless to say, contact with the Europeans, Christians and Muslims as well as colonialism greatly affected and modified indigenous customs, institutions and values. To Sociologists, Social Change is a neutral concept which covers all the historical alterations or variations in human societies and that alterations can be positive or negative. In discussing a topic of like this, it would be built on the following pillars: 1.
Background and introduction
Theories of Social Change (August Comte)
Causes of Social Change
Effects of Social Change
THEORIES OF SOCIAL CHANGE (AUGUST COMTE)
Comte believed that human societies evolved along a three step evolutionary process. These steps are the Theological, Metaphysical and Scientific or Positivistic stage. According to Comte, the Theological stage which is the first stage was dominated by priest and dominated by military men. In other words, society members’ places were determined by God or their religion. During this period Comte believed that major idea system emphasized the belief that the super natural powers, religious figures were at the roots of everything. Monotheism is the ultimate belief of the Theological stage. The second stage which is the Metaphysical stage, according to Comte, is the transitional stage in which mysterious, abstract forces (for example Nature) replaced super natural forces as the powers that explains the workings of the world. This stage corresponds with the period of renaissance when knowledge exploded and all kinds of learned men question the existence of the theoretical ideas. Again, with this stage, it is argued that the state and other large organizations assumed control over man’s everyday affairs. The third stage which is the positivistic stage is the last and highest stage in Comte’s work. In this stage, people search for invariant laws that govern all of the phenomena of the world- science and reasoning reign supreme. There were increases in population, division of labour in the organization with their associated problems. The vain search for supernatural beings is given up to make way for the invainable natural laws that govern all phenomena. The causes of Social Change
The causes of social change in a discussion of this nature can never be overlooked due to its effects a developing nation like Ghana. One of the causes of social change is Colonialism. Colonialism can be defined as the exploitation by a stronger country of a weaker one whereby a stronger country uses the weaker country’s resources to strengthen and enrich itself (stronger country). Colonialism was perpetuated through the introduction of fairly uniform procedures and practices over areas which were formerly governed under different constitutions and conventions. It also meant cessation of the inter-tribal wars which was quite common before then. With the creation of boundaries by the European, the emergence of other political units which came with these boundaries which rule at least autonomous coupled with open hostility towards one another it enforced the unifying force of colonialism. Another cause of social change is the use of money which the Europeans introduced. It must be pointed out clearly that some currencies existed during the pre colonial era in the form of gold dust, iron and brass among the Ashantis. However, money in the form of coins and notes as we have it today was introduced by the Europeans. The advent of money, according to G. K. Nukunya, brought a radical change in the...
References: Adjei J. Kingsley, Come let’s do Social Structure of Ghana, a sociological approach.
Nukunya, G. K. Tradition and Change in Ghana, an Introduction to Sociology, Accra, Ghana Universities Press, 1995.
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