Meaning of Social Change
If it is important to know the meaning of the term social change, it is also important to be clear about the etymological origin of the two words that give it its shape:
-Change, in the first place, derives from Latin. Specifically, it comes from “cambium” and can be translated as “give one thing for another”.
-Social, secondly, it also emanates from Latin. In his case, it comes from “socialis” which means “belonging to or related to the community of people”. A word that is the result of the union of two Latin components: the noun “socius”, which is equivalent to “companion”, and the suffix “-al”, which is used to indicate “relative to”.
It is called social change to a modification important in the structure of a society. These changes may occur in the values, traditions, norms or material manifestations of the community in question.
The politics, the sociology, the economy and history are sciences that study social change. Disruptions in society can occur in various ways. There are changes that are progressive and that are constituted as the result of a historical evolution, while others are abrupt and are generated from a revolution or other phenomenon.
It is important to mention that social changes can arise within the community or be driven by the ruling classes. The processes are dynamic and can take different directions over time.
An example of social change is what has happened in many western countries regarding homosexuality. For many years, gays and lesbians had to hide their sexual choices so as not to suffer discrimination. Over time a large part of society began to understand that all adults are free to decide how to develop their intimate life. The acceptance of homosexual couples later led to the possibility of formalizing these ties before the State through marriages and civil unions. In this way, social change was institutionalized.
Social changes can be classified in many different ways, of which the following are examples:
-If time is taken into account, we find changes that occur in a short period of time or that take place over a long period of time.
-According to the pace in which they have taken place, they can be gradual or revolutionary.
-In the event that they take into account what are the consequences that they have brought with them, we run into destructive or renovating changes.
-Starting from what are the causes that originate the change, one can speak of unknown or rationally established social changes.
-Depending on the origin of the change, on the other hand, the changes can be exogenous or endogenous.
-If the nature of it is taken into account, we come across conjunctural social changes and structural ones.
The ecological consciousness is another example of social change. More and more people understand the importance of caring for the environment to prevent human beings from losing natural resources and destroying the planet. Before, however, those who made decisions based on environmental criteria were a minority.