Notes - Continuity and Change (1 Viewer)

Eliza B

Oct 15, 2003
CORE notes

Fundamental Concepts

Persons -Every person is an unique individual, but each develop in social setting that they are influenced by and interact with other persons. The process of communication is one of these fundamental interactions.

Society - Society is made up of people, groups, networks, institutions, organisations and systems. These aspects of society may include local, national and global patterns of relationships. People belong to informal and formal groups, within and between these groups there are patterns of interactions.

Culture - Culture refers to the knowledge, ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that give each society its coherence and its distinctive way of life. Culture is demonstrated by the beliefs, customs, values, laws, arts, technology and artefacts people generate and use as the interpret meaning from their world and solves present and future problems.

Environment - Every society is located in a particular physical setting. The attitudes and values people have in regard to their environment greatly affect interactions between the person, society, culture and environment. Environments present societies with opportunities and restraints.

Time - Every person, society and environment is located in time and is changing through time. Our perceptions of time as past, present and future are also important for social enquiry and action. These perceptions draw on past events that influence our present. They need not determine our future. We can perceive a range of possible future that can assist our decision-making.

Power - involves a capacity to influence others to follow a course of action or point of view they would not otherwise follow.

Authority - Authority implies a legitimate use of influence/persuasion. Someone in authority has accepted rights to make decisions regardless of those affected by the decisions opinion.

Gender - refers to the socially constructed differences between men and women. Its refers to the value society places on those physical and biological differences. It may mean that a society accepts males as tough and boisterous, while females are accepted as sensitive and shy. These beliefs only have meaning because a society gives them one, not because they are based on fact.

Technology - Technology means the tools that make tasks easier, enhancing the natural ability of persons to perform those tasks. Technology is not accessed equally across the world and countries and companies with higher access to higher levels of technology are able to produce more products quickly and distribute them more efficiently.
Core Concepts

Empowerment - used to describe groups within a society gaining access to power structures and being able to assert some control over their destiny.

Globalisation - describes the emergence of a global culture brought about by a variety of social and cultural developments such as, the existence of world information systems, the emergence of a global pattern of consumption and consumerism. It involves the consciousness of the world as a single place.

Heritage - refers to the collective past of a country. It may be physical heritage (materials or remains) or cultural heritage (songs, stories or music). It also plays a role in maintaining continuity.

Industrialisation - refers to the transition in methods of production that has been responsible for increasing wealth, creating capacity of modern societies compared to traditional systems. I may refer to manufacturing, agriculture and administration.

Modernisation - the adoption of new technology education and ways of thinking. A process of social change from the adoption of characteristics of a advanced society through societies that are less advanced.

Westernisation - A method and values of western industrial capitalism are the basis of changes occurring. A country adopts the values common in major western countries, USA, UK, Australia. These values include democracy, capitalism, and the adoption of free market economic industrialisation.

Research Methodologies

Social and Cultural Research - the way we go about finding out things we don't know in the area of society and culture. It normally involves selecting a specific topic, deciding on the most appropriate methodologies, collecting data interpreting your results and presenting your findings.

Quantitative research - involves methodologies such as surveys, which enable you to collect data that can be turned into graphs, tables and diagrams. An advantage of measurable research is that it makes it easy to compare with other research.

Qualitative research - Qualitative research relies upon open ended questionnaires that are unstructured. Interviews and participant observation. The data you collect is normally personal opinions and require interpretation.

Methodologies Adv Disadv

Uses observation or a questionnaire. It is a process of conducting a study from a representative sample of specific populating. Must be comprised of closed questions, multiple choice and rating scale.

Closed questions
Open questions
 Easier to interpret
 Minimal cost

 Many responses
 anonymity

 Can't elaborate
 little flexibility

 May misinterpret
 survey not returned by certain time.

Case Study
Case Study involves the collection of data related to an individual or small group through observation, interviews or evidence.  Fairly detailed accurate info
 can get very involved  research may be bias
 limited by the resources available to researcher

Participant Observation
Researcher is immersed in the action being observed but their role as researcher is not obvious. Researchers must be aware of ethical implications.  requires researcher to reflect
 indepth, detailed  participant may be self conscious
 difficult for researcher to get involved
 alter behaviour

Content Analysis
The study and interpretation of written and visual material.  useful for range of cultural data
 very current info  material shows bias
 very time consuming

Focus Group
A small group who (indepth) discuss a topic. Researcher records information. It is similar to interview but with up to eight people.  Provides good qualitative information.
 Dynamic responses
 Lots of ideas  difficult to select right participants
 difficult for group to trust each other

Action Research
Informal, qualitative, requires all participants to be collaborative researchers. People who recognise a problem in a workplace situation and devise a solution.  Very accurate
 many ideas, updated
 researcher very involved  Time consuming
 Confusing
 difficult to obtain conclusions.

Personal Reflection
Requires the researcher to reflect upon and evaluate their own experiences, memories, values and opinions in relation to specific issue or topic.  Reflecting on own experiences
 Evaluating personal matters  may cause friction with difficult issues
 personal bias
Collecting data from a large and diverse sample of people. It is impersonal and contains clear questions worded simply to avoid confusion. Should be brief, logical sequence of questions
 minimal cost
 wide responses quickly
 anonymous  Failure to receive responses
 little flexibility
 Misinterpret question
Interview may be structured, semi structured or unstructured indepth or conversational. This is a one on one situation that is time consuming.

Structured - very specific
Unstructured - broad, general
Semi-structured - open and closed  quick and easy
 detailed and indepth

 can change questions to suit situation

 flexible, quick  time consuming
 not indepth

 difficult to analyse

 may be confusing
 difficult to analyse

Involves watching and recording behaviour within a clearly defined area. The researcher may be passive observer and outside the actions being observed and recorded.  identity of person is known

 researchers reflect on situation  participants alter behaviour

 self conscious

Ethnographic Study
Systematic collection of data derived from direct observation of everyday life of a particular society, group or subculture. This requires researchers immersion in the culture under study and is interactive process. The researcher is interested in understanding the customs and beliefs or this social group in the way of engaging in everyday life.
 indepth detailed

 researcher becomes very involved
 very time consuming

 researcher may be bias or make incorrect judgement.

Statistical Analysis
Examining data to interpret meaning, make generalisations and extrapolate trends. Often data come in graphical form and analysed by statistical procedures  Up to date relevant information

 easy to graph and present  info can date quickly

 inaccuracies when transferring info

Macro and micro worlds

Micro world, peers, family and school. It refers to personal experience and the ideas, insight, reflections, knowledge on life experiences of the individual which can be used to generate an understanding of the wider world.

Macro world, laws, workplace, government. It refers to Public Knowledge involving history of systematic research that can be used to clarify, unify and order.

Groups - formed so society can function, control and organise
Informal - short experiences not governed by rigid rules
Formal - expected conduct and formalised relations
Decision making - formal groups have predetermined procedures.
Minority groups - cultural practices and appearance unlike the dominate groups making them susceptible to unequal treatment.
Institution - part of the structure of society, organised e.g. church, government, law
Organisation - structure within society which is set in place for e.g. business, clubs, political parties.

Power and Authority


Institutional position - power is part of a role that others see as legitimate e.g. president or judges.

Property - owning ones property denying access to property e.g. landlords or factory owners.

Force - physically removing, threatening to inflict damage e.g. physical harm or public humiliation.

Personal qualities - charm and charisma e.g. singers, religious leaders

Legitimate power - recognising and applying power e.g. government officials

Empowerment - to give power to other e.g. principles give children power to run assemblies.

Traditional - based on birthrights unwritten rules e.g. royal family the son becomes king.
Legal or rational - Power legitimate by ruled defined by leader e.g. prime minister, mayor
Charismatic - Power legitimated by remarkable qualities attributed to specific leader e.g. Jesus, Hitler, Martin Luther King

Decision making

Decision making - making up your mind, deciding about something, making choices, resolving issues.

Simple decision - one that is easy

Complex decision - important, made in a group

There are different types of decisions.
 Decisions made for you, by someone else e.g. by force or persuasion.
 Automatic Decisions, don't think about it, its instinctive.
 Quick Decision, made without alot of though, impulsively.
 Thoughtful Decision, perhaps made after discussing it with a friend or parent.
 Group Decision, reached only after much though and decision involving other people.

We live ion a democratic society, we participate in decision making which affects us and our families e.g. casting votes at elections when we are 18, joining groups and committees. There are decisions that are out of our control as adults.

Decisions are affected by, influence, power and authority, compromise, conflict, consultation and imposition, winners and loser, available resources and vested interests.

All families have needs and wants, requiring many different decisions to be made. Most decisions within family unit are made by adults. Yet this is changing. decision making is an ongoing process, we make decisions all the time, as individuals and in groups. A simple way to decide is to write down the advantages and disadvantages.

The Nature of Social and Cultural Continuity and Change

Identifying the nature of social and cultural continuity and change

Continuity - persistence of cultural elements in a society. new ideas are developed and grafted onto old ideas. Continuation of social groups, forms of interaction, customs, beliefs e.g. Alphabet, process or paper making.

Conformity is the strongest where some of these conditions are evident in a society.
 Vested interest
 Change resisted by fear
 Loss of power or wealth
 Rigid caste systems
 Strongly help beliefs, do nit share others values
 Psychological barriers, resistance due to tradition

Ethnocentrism; passing judgement on attitudes and lifestyles in other societies. We tend to believe our own society is superiors because of long term direct experience. This assists group loyalty however it can lead to barriers in accepting features of other societies. This relates to conformity and continuity rather than change. Suspicion, prejudice and stereotyping are all parts of Ethnocentrism.

Cultural relativity; helps stop ethnocentrism, cultural relativity requires an act, that should be regarded positively and forfills needs of a society.

Elements of society are continuous
 Hereditary value (language spoken)
 Standardized behavior (driving on the right side of the road)

Theory of cultural lag
Developed by William Ogburn, the theory argues attitudinal aspects of culture, lag behind when change first occurs in the material aspect of culture e.g. computers.

Continuity and socialisation
Continuity is part of the socialisation process. Socialisation transmits culture from generations, it is an informal process of learning values, norms, and skills observed and participation e.g. rules set by law ad religious beliefs.

Change - constant element in life, significant alteration in patterns of culture and social structure that are reflected in social behavior.

Change is a constant element in social life. All societies experience social change, a significant alternation in the patterns of culture an social structures that are reflected in social behavior. Some societies, like small tribes change slowly due to isolation, while other like the United States change rapidly.

Social Change refers to;
 Identity of change, what changes
 Level of change, level in an individual, group or society
 Rate of change, sudden or gradual
 Direction of change, will it improve or get worse
 Magnitude of change, comprehensive, revolutionary

In order to appreciate the degree and nature of change we must have a level of stability or baseline against which to measure, Change is not uniform. Not all cultural and social elements change at the same rate.

Factors that influences change include;
 Environmental conditions
 Isolation
 Available resources
 Population
 Political organisations
 Cultural factors
 Leaders and entrepreneurs

Innovation, change occurred when people think of new ways of doing things.
Technological innovation are, cars which changed the structure of cities, mobile phones which increased communication, internet world wide communication, planes.
Cultural innovations are new beliefs and values systems, religions.
Social Innovations are bureaucratic organisation which enable people to cope with the demands of present day society.


Diffusion is the movement of ideas form one society to another examples of this are;
 Domestication of animals
 Invention of machines, industrial revolution
 Invention of siliconchip.

Closeness to centres of invention is important because new ideas is adversely proportional to distance, the more isolated the slower the development. Media and transportation reduced isolation and help speed up innovations, culture value shows this. Diffusion can be planned e.g. economic aid to third world countries.

Acculturation is the adoption of new ideas, values by one culture to another because of prolonged interaction. Acculturation is rapid, through direct contact, migration, military and missionaries. Examples are worker in India taken to Fiji, missionaries living in Indigenous areas.

Acculturation is a two way process;
1) Transculturation - Two cultures take ideas from one another, one is dominant.
1) Involuntary acculturation - One culture has political control and forces the other society to accept its ideas.

Collective Behavior
Collective Behavior is unpredictable behavior of groups when working outside societies recognized institutions.
Types of collective behavior include;
 Panics
 Conventional crowds e.g. marches, rallies
 Acting crowds e.g. mobs, riots
 Rumors; untrue reports spread via collective behavior
 Fad, short lives
 Fashion
 Public opinion; ideas and attitudes shared by member of the public.

Institutional Behavior is predictable patterns, regulated by traditional norms.

The nature of continuity
Continuity of the persistence of social and cultural elements with a society e.g. social group of family and peers.

Continuities with Australia include;
 Anzac Day, Australia day
 Melbourne Cup
 Vegemite
 Schoolies week
 Year 12 formal

Some societies with strongly help traditional beliefs, continuities are dominant, conformity is encourages. Few elements are added e.g traditional societies based on strong religious beliefs.

Continuities persist because;
 We need to preserve our language, laws, morals, ethics, behavior so that our traditions last into the future. This is done through the socialisation process, we pass social continues onto generations. In the micro world this happens through family, in the macro world it is through media, government, law, education and religion.
 Continuities (traditions) provide security for a society to help maintain links to the pasty so there is a sense of continuity for the future.
 Continuity brings stability to society, t prevents chaos followed from massive change.

The nature of change
Change is the alteration of how things are done, the alteration in pattern of culture, social structure and social behavior over time.

No society can successfully prevent change, some societies are more resistant however. The rates, nature and direction of change different from one society e.g. Australian compared to traditional pygmy society of Africa.

Change occurs when people think of new ways of doing something e.g. innovations. Innovations spread by diffusion and acculturation. Change forces societies to consider traditions they wish to keep or discard.
Change in societies is inevitable;
 can be constructive (new medicine)
 can be destructive (pollution)
 may be sudden (war or death)
 evolve gradually (animal extinction)
We need to prepare for change. It is constant element of social life. Some changes are planned, others unplanned. They can be of a short duration (fads and fashion) or long duration (invention of cars). Some changes are readily accepted (improved health care) while other are controversial (feminist movement).

The process of change in society in terms of development to a more modern society is said to be called Modernisation. It is a process of social change resulting from diffusion and adoption of characteristics of more modern societies by societies said to be less advanced. This process involves greater social mobility, more effective government control, acceptance of innovations and changing social values.
 Process of Modernisation refers to economic, social and cultural changes that occur when pre industrial societies (traditional) make transition to a more advanced industrial society.
 major thrusts of Modernisation is industrialization.
 there is no end to the Modernisation process. the more modern a society Australia the more it undergoes this process.

Who benefits from Modernisation
 many of the younger groups are willing to embrace change
 the educated understand and rationalize change
 The wealthy can afford change

Who do not benefit from Modernisation
 The elder, unskilled, conservative christians
 The poor or uneducated.
 They see modernization a destroying traditional values.

Examining the impact of continuity and change upon the lives of people in the micro and macro worlds

The macroworld continuities are refered to as traditions e.g. Australians love going to the beach is recognized across generations.
Macroworld change operates on different levels

Changes in government may cause changes in society e.g. liberal government replaced by labour (whitlam) lead to reform in fault divorce.
Technological Change in the macroworld e.g. vinyl records to compact disc.
Communication changes e.g. snail mail to email
Organisations changed around the world, replaced with globalisation. Political power now belongs to multinational companies.

Continuity or change will impact the macroworld e.g. increase in global awareness, problem with depleting resources/species and atmosphere problems. Development of international domestic laws combat these changes.
Microworld e.g. joining organisations such as greenpeace.

Population change
Macroworld size; international organisations set up to combat large populations in developing countries e.g. AID including food.
Microworld size; 40 hour famine charity, donations
Macroworld distribution; laws have been set up to provide infrastructure for migrants to move countries.
Microworld distribution; bring different foods, languages
Macroworld composition; aging population, an increase in retirement homes
Microworld composition; work longer, no pension

Political organisations
Macroworld; type of government running the country, influences school syllabus
Microworld; voting, compulsory English

Leaders and change
Macroworld; Howard e.g. policy on terrorism increases security.
Microworld; postponement of overseas travel.

Macroworld; invention e.g. internet creates global village. Laws regulate abuse of technology
Microworld; easy communication access to information

Acculturation/Diffusion - migrants
Macroworld; regulation and laws increase immigrants. Media plays role in diffusing/acculturating society
Microworld; different food/religions, more culture in schools.

Collective Behavior- fashion fads
Macroworld; straight hair, hipster jeans
Microworld; buying a muster hair straighter.

Distinguishing between personal experience and public knowledge
Microworld; family, peers, school, sport teams, community life
The world we know through personal experience. Experiences help us grow and develop as human beings. It helps us engage in personal reflection
Personal experience; ideas, insight, reflection or an individual used to generate understanding of the wider world.

Macroworld; media, law, government, libraries, research
Public knowledge collection of knowledge assembled through research from a range of personal experience knowledge is found in books, lectures, documents.
Public Knowledge; socially constructed knowledge involving a history of research. It is achieved through institutions, government, religion and mass media.

Role of power and authority in social and cultural continuity and change

GOVERNMENT Change; government members initiate and debate new laws. Governments can change themselves after elections.
Continuity; Governments maintain political stability by protecting laws that are already in place. The also maintain traditional political parties. e.g. Labour, liberal and heritage and traditions e.g. anthem, Australian flag.

LEADERS (politicians, religious, business) Change; can be by force e.g. Hitler, by vote e.g. John Howard, through inspiration e.g. Nelson Mandella
Continuity; used their power to influence others, maintain traditions and encouraging people to believe what they themselves believe.

RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS Change; some churches/religion have adjusted to contemporary society and accepted gay community, women priests, play modern music.
Continuity; most churches maintain continuities through their ceremonies and beliefs. Churches are conservative, perpetuate morals, values and customs of their doctrine.

EDUCATIONAL ORGANISATIONS Change; school deals with change by introducing new curriculum, latest technology and new legal rules e.g. anti-bullying.
Continuity; formal assembly, uniform, orientation day, awards presented.

THE FAMILY Change; in size, status, structure and roles to suit modern society. More mothers in the workforce has caused change in families.
Continuity; celebrations, religious customs, relationships, the concept of family and what it means has remained constant.

Theories of social change and evaluating their role in explaining continuities and changes in society.

Theory - is a statement that organizes a set of concepts in a meaningful way by explaining the relationship among them.

A full grasp of social change needs more than an understanding of some specific factors that can provoke change. We need a broader theory that explains how, why and what direction social change in general takes place. A successful theory of social change must do more than describe events it must explain how and why change takes the form that it does.

Theorist Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin
The main idea of this theory is that this theory implies that all societies gradually change from traditional and simple to more complex following only one path. Modern socio theorists believe that development and change could occur in a multilinear way i.e. following several different paths, not just one. They did not believe that industrial societies were necessarily superior to rural based or traditional societies and did not view all changes as progress.
Strengths; It says that societies can develop in many different ways not just one path. It believes that not all change is progress.
Weaknesses; Only looks at slow change, evolution and doesn't explain quick change e.g. war, natural disaster.

Theorist Emile Durkheim and Talcott Parsons
This theory emphasises social order and the importance of maintaining structures and processes within society to maintain a state of equilibrium or balance. This theory says that if change occurs, its temporarily alters the balance in society, brings about adjustment or change to bring about a new equilibrium and balance once again in society. Believes social change occurs when internal or external forces upset society's balance e.g unemployment, women returning to the workforce, war)
All parts of society have a function, and change is a result of these functions being disturbed. In simple societies there are fewer institutions to perform functions (family, education economic production of food). In more complex societies more institutions perform functions e.g. schools provide education not family.
Strengths; shows how society deals with change and adjusts to it
Weaknesses; More about institutional order. Concentrates on destructive change. Doesn't deal well with technology, or economic change.
Theorist Karl Marx
Views conflict and change as inevitable in society and ongoing. Change is the result of inequalities in society e.g. class differences, religious differences, differences in wealth and ethnic differences. Conflict occurs between groups with power, who wish to maintain their value and prestige and those who have no power but wish to challenge the existing power structures.
Strengths; Alot of change does occur through recognizes that side of society. Explains human nature, not everyone always agrees and everyone wants more power.
Weaknesses; Not all change requires conflict in society. Provides little indication of future directions of change.

Explore continuity and change

 Is all change necessarily progress?
Change; an alteration in the way things are done in society
Progress; improvements for the better, getting something better
Therefore do all changes always lead to improvements in people's lives in the micro and macro world.
NO a culture may feel that in changing they are abandoned their traditional way of life, which may be very important to them due to e.g. religion and unplanned change e.g. war is negative, natural disasters. Also change may be forces upon a society or culture e.g. The Jews under Hitler.
YES change can be progress as no society would be willing to change a good life for a poorer one. Australia' change to incorporate women and indigenous issues into mainstream political life.

 Which groups benefit from change? Which do not?
Groups; people who gather together because they have something in common
Benefits; gaining something good or positive.
Therefore who gains something positive from change and who doesn't within the micro and macro world.
THE WEALTHY benefit for change as if changes are technologically based, the wealthy can affords it and young people. Most other groups do too.
MINORITY GROUPS do not benefit because they are isolated groups in society, they may not change at the same rate as society as a whole. Lower class members are unfamiliar with technology due to poverty and lack of education and fall behind in society.

 Are westernisation, modernisation and industrialisation inevitable?

Westernisation; the process of countries adopting the practices and values of western countries, especially USA eg. fast food, music, TV.
Modernisation; the process of countries moving from traditional societies (focused on continuities) to modern societies which accept change.
Industrialisation; the process of moving from a society based on agriculture to a society based on industry as the main means of production.
Are these 3 processes going to happen to all countries of the world at some stage

YES, the world reflects a move towards these three processes in the system or organisation called globalisation. The influence and demands of the World Bank to follow a western style economy to gain access to loan funds. Technology is becoming so much more prolific and affordable that everyone is exposed - economic base of many countries.

NO, Some countries are economically and culturally strong enough to maintain their independence from globalisation. Cuba is still an independent country despite its proximity to the US.

Social and Cultural Continuity and Change in a Selected Country

Apply the fundamental course concepts to that country

Individualism is not encouraged in traditional Japanese society. Persons are expected to blend in and work for the good of the group, but attitudes are changing.
Until the end of second world war the interests of individuals were suppressed under a patriarchal system. the state was compared as one large family. Harmony amongst people is the basis of Japanese society. Japanese are extremely sensitive to any conflict and avoidance can be observed.

Traditional Japan; authority and power was held by shoguns and were recognized as individuals. this was based on a caste system. Relationships between people was dictated by the caste system. Women non existent, position determined by their family. Polite and plain language.

Contemporary Japan; Abolishment of caste system, rise of middle class has show growth in sense of individualism in males and females. Adolescents are expressing themselves openly, choice of career path, expectations of quality of life. relationships still reflect superior inferior status. Evidence language and bowing. Improvement in women's position, can vote, access to work. Through westernisation 2 language forms are slowing becoming one.

Originally a feudal society with strict cast system with emperor as ruler. Warlords and Samurai kept peace in early Japan under control of shogun (military leader) Today society is governed by democratically elected monarchy. Family and peer groups are important groups in society.

Traditional society
Family; extended family unit, ie. Mainly subsistence farming. Ie responsible for welfare, health and education of members. Arranged marriages. Husband head of the house. Division of labour based on gender.
Government; Feudal society structure around clans. Emperor nominated ruler supported by shoguns and samurais. Meiji Restoration saw movement towards democratic society.
Education; reserved mainly for daimyos and nobles. peasants were educated to read, write and maths. This led to literate society.

Contemporary society
Family; Mainly nuclear families, some extended still exist in city due to high living costs. growth in single parents. Marriage mainly own choice/love. Gender roles in family re similar.
Government; Bicameral system, emperor symbolic head of state. Constitutional democracy. responsibilities for welfare of citizens organized by government institutions e.g. social security, education, health
Education; Still highly literate society, still values, key to socio economic mobility and has resulted in a highly competitive system of "cram schools". Equal access, and education still instills cultural values.

The importance of Buddhism, Shintoism and Confucianism to traditional society. The importance of ceremonies like the tea ceremony.

Traditional Culture; Importance of Buddhism and Shintoism to ritual; and beliefs. Confucianism reinforced the caste system, values, distribution of power and authority. Art and artifacts forces mainly on nature.

Contemporary Japan; Role of religious beliefs slowly declining. Adopting of western ideas and values. Change in social habits and prefer western life e.g. Macdonald over sushi, baseball over sumo wrestling. Emergence of subculture group e.g. skinheads, rockers. Persistence of geisha both traditional and ones for tourists.

Originally "closed' to western world, western contact in 1850s. today a mixture of traditional Japanese environment overlaid with a westernized environment. physically environment is crowded islands and mountainous.

Traditional Environment; Predominately feudal, agricultural society. Closed society, superiority, limited opportunity to exchange ideas, values and technology, pre Commodore Perry. Control over the adoption of anything foreign. Opportunity to adopt Confucian values from China thus reinforcing caste system.
Contemporary Japan; Democratically elected, open society whereby western ideas, technology and culture are readily adopted through diffusion and acculturation. World leader in technology, highly industrial, major export, major importer of food and raw materials.

Over time Japan has experience both continuity and change. modernisation began with Western contact after WW2. every aspect of society and culture has changed over time in Japan some important traditions have remained.
A historical look at Japan will allow us to view its continuities and changes and the interrelationship between time, person, society and culture.

Examine the nature of traditional society and culture in that country
The emperor in Japan held superior status and was fundamental to Japanese nationalism. Most of the population were farmers or craftsmen, the position of nobility being filled by influential; families. Japan was controlled by daimyos or warlords. The warrior class or samurais increased in importance as it was military strength which ensured dominance. Japan was governed by shoguns until 1868 when the old emperor Meiji was restored to power this is known as the Meiji restoration period. Under shoguns the samurais continued to gain power and were the only class permitted to carry a sword. membership to class continued to be determined by birth and ones class in turn determined ones occupation, choice of marriage partner. Outside class system were those who performed unclean task, classless, non human. Th capital of Edo was moved to Tokyo and it was mandatory for families to register with local Buddhist temples. While Shinto was traditional religion is Japan both Confucianism and Buddhism was introduced by china.

The family, the traditional family unit or "ie" was fundamental to Japanese society. They had to honor their ancestors and maintain continuity of the family unit. Loyalty and filial duty were expected of all members who were subordinate to the head. these were Confucian principles. If there was no son to inherit the role of head then a son in law might take on the role, when there were no children adoption was an appropriate solution. In 1947 constitution which spelt the demise of the ie, choices of spouse, inheritance, property rights were changes to reflect equality of gender and rights of the individual. Within the home, religious rites were performed at the Buddhist alter in the home.

Power and authority, the control of power is a feature of the history of every nation. In Japan there was a dramatic move from the centralized limited access to power structure of its feudal period to the more open and democratic practices of today. From the time of the Fujiwara period power in Japan had been in the hands of the shoguns. These were families of noble birth and exerted great influence and control over the political and military power of Japan. Towards the middle of the 19th century, the power of the shoguns began to weaken. A coup was staged by a fraction of samurai who claim to be replacing the emperor in his rightful position of power seized the control of government from the shogun and installed a new leadership.
New leaders of the Meiji restoration decided to actively seek innovation and western ideas into all aspects of Japanese society. The changes that followed were reestablishing the old imperial style government. Centralizing power, downgrading the old institutions, rationalizing the bureaucracy and improving the nations military power and abolishing the feudal system of privileges. Industrialization and westernisation, establishing a constitutional democracy with a national parliament.
All of this took place in thirty years

During the Meiji restoration businesses had to reply on the government for the capital funds which they needed to get established. A partnership was formed which gave both business and government stability. The families which responded most quickly to the Meiji period needs accumulated immense economic control and huge industrial organisations. These financial cliques were extremely powerful. After WW2, the Zaibatsu were broken up.

The American occupation of Japan after WW2 brought with its other substantial changes. A new constitution was formed, women were given the vote, education system revised, land reform program was put in place and labour unions developed. Japan had a highly valued sense of national identity and cultural heritage. these have withstood the incursion of foreigners and the rapid modernisation process which accompanied the American occupation. Japan's subsequent success industrially and economically reflect her ability to sift imported values and achievement and glean only those which will prove worthwhile. There was a transformation of Japan from feudal, with rigid caste system to democratic parliament with no class system and an industrialized economy begun with the Meiji restoration and was completed with the American occupation.

Evaluate the nature of power and authority in that country

Traditional Family; grandfather, eldest son and father
Modern Family; parents (nuclear family), in extended families it still the parents

Traditional society; emperor, warrior class, shogun
Modern society; Based on socio economic status, democracy everyone can vote.

Traditional; best schools for wealthy, education important, limited access for women
Modern; Compulsory education, women now educated, wealthy power cram schools

Traditional; power in hands of shoguns, nobles warriors, emperor, isolation policy
Modern; Democracy, emperor still symbolic

Traditional; shoguns had own army, samurais power through force
Modern; after WW2 US in power, use of police instead of military, Government has power over military

Modern societies; TV, radio, increased access to westernisation, increased power of women, strong influence on adolescents.

Apply one theory of social change appropriate to the selected country

By applying the functionalist theory to social change within Japan we can see how it has occurred due to a disruption in the balance. This lead to adjustments in other parts of the system and a new equilibrium level is reached, while balance is restored. During the Tokogawa period equilibrium was maintained however change occurred through the arrival of the USA and Commodore Perry in the 1800s. This ended Japans isolation with the introduction of trade. Next the Meiji restoration period brought about adjustments such as; changed laws, generalized government under emperor, increased power of merchant class and dismantling of caste system.

New balance was obtained during the 1930s and this remained till after WW2. Yet change reoccurred when Japan lost WW2 and the US initiates restructuring of all institutions. These changes were evidence through the introduction of women voting, new constitutions, education no longer based on class, shift in government causing democratic elections and production changes from agriculture to industrial production. this restored a new equilibrium up till 1980s.

Change has occurred again with globalization and increased influence of western ideas and values. yet a new equilibrium was reached in 1990s. the effects of these changes are still present with the influence of female workers, decreased role for the elderly, government providing care for the elderly, increase in individualism and decrease in identity, changing role of the families and increased media influence.

Limitations of this has been the focus on changes to institution and it doesn't take globalisation into account. The functionalist theory doesn't take globalisation into account as globalisation of a country would never allow Japan to achieve a true equilibrium.

Family life and population changes
Continuity is the persistence of social and cultural elements within a society. Change is an alteration is how things are done. It is the alteration in patterns of culture, social structure and social behavior over tie. In Japan, there have been many continuities and changes to family life but mostly changes due to the population.

Changes to the Japanese family have occurred due to such influences as acculturation and westernisation. there have been an increase in both nuclear and single parent families, with more women entreating the workforce, leading to greater sense of empowerment. 80% of families now live in the city as opposed to rural areas and as such due to lack of space, many families are split up. More elderly are now in retirement homes, rather than being cared for at home. The function of family as an institution of education and health care is now moreso in the hands of the government.

There have also been many continuities in family life in japan. For example, there are still strong gender based division of labour, with the father as the breadwinner and the mother in charge of the house hold. In rural areas of Japan, the extended family is still very important with the elderly passing traditions to younger generations and the parents caring for the elderly at home.

As the population is constantly changing, there are many more changes than continuities. The population in japan is ageing, meaning that there is a decrease in both birth and death rates. Due to the increase in nuclear families, such questions arise as who will take care of the elderly? A social adjustment has been necessary with the state beginning to take responsibility for elderly care, rather than the family. The main continuity in population change is that japan has remained monoculture. Imigration is discouraged due to lack of space and the Japanese wish to maintain their distinct culture and way of life.

In conclusion there have been many continuities and changes in population and family life. The extended family has tried to maintain traditions in the family due to modernisation, westernisation , industrialisation and acculturation, change is inevitable. A country's population is not static, so it is to be expected that there are many more changes, rather than continuities.

Develop hypotheses for thinking about the future of Japan

Feasibility study
Process of defining exactly what a project is and what strategic issues need to be considered to assess its potential for success- is it probable.

Scenario writing
Attempt to account the good and bad possibilities based on what we know. Science fiction writing is a form of scenario writing, the writer uses their understanding of continuity and change to analyze possible futures

Analyzing trends and forecasting.
Involves reviewing the directions/changes being taken within society and trying to predict outcomes. Events from the past and present are projected forward based on the idea that the frequency and course of change will continue into the future.

What we know already:
Traditions are not passed on, Japan's population is aging, as less people are having children due to lack of space and high living costs. The death rate is also decreasing, there are more elderly living longer. Land is very expensive breakdown of traditional extended family.
Problems associated with this situation:
As less children are being born, there are less people to grow up to look after the increased number of elderly. As less elderly live with the extended family due to lack of space, the state needs to put more money into elderly care. the separation of children and grandparents means that fewer traditions are being passed between generations. Gap in socialization process for kids who don't live in extended families. Greater tax burden for younger generation.
Possible future scenarios:
The population will continue to age, with less children being born. As more families move to city areas there will be a trend towards more nuclear families. A group of young people with no understanding of the past. Couples reduce the number of children. More care facilities needed, more jobs, more cots.
Forecasting changes to the society and culture:
The government will encourage superannuation, so people will be able to fund their own retirement. They may still need to spend more money on elderly care for those without superannuation. Such solutions as placing preschools and retirement homes together will maintain traditions, as children will be in contact with the elderly. Shorter working hours/public holidays for family time. Encourage migration of young people.

What we know already:
Japan is being affected by globalisation. This impacts Japans society and culture as they are part of the global community. Westernisation, industrialisation and modernisation are also occurring, Americanization part of global tourism network, open communication and trade.
Problems associated with this situation:
Japans' traditions may become less important. Changes in Japan's economy due to changes in the world's economy. This may attribute to the high living costs. Loss of cultural identity. Infiltration of American culture.
Possible scenarios for the future:
Japan may suffer future economic downfall. the country will continue to become westernized. traditions and links to the past will continue to weaken.
Forecasting changes to the society and culture:
Government initiatives to encourage maintenance of traditions. American/Western lifestyles become increasing common. May vary depending on generation. the elderly wish to become more traditional the young want to be more westernized. Greater access for young people to western mass media if they wish.

Dee Dee

Jan 19, 2004
these are great no need to make my own summary haha


New Member
Oct 16, 2003
Dont stress guys its a piss easy exam and those course concepts are an over rated piece of piss
Last edited:


Jan 22, 2004
Hey thank you so much for sharing your notes !!!!! i found them really helpful !!!! :)


Feb 16, 2004
wow! they're great thanx!...kinda wishing my class had done Japan for a case study now lol! :p


New Member
Feb 23, 2004
Thanks heaps!! (Considering I have my Society and Culture Trial Exam tomorrow, these notes are MUCH appreciated!! lol


New Member
Feb 5, 2004
pfft atleast ur teacher picked a country u could atleast find info on. Ours picked FIJI!!! nothing in text book OR study guide OR newhere else!!! it sucks


New Member
May 8, 2004
Thanks so much Eliza! These are brilliant!... I needed somethig like this... i have geography on the same day so im struggling getting everything together in time and I'm doing Japan also so its amazing! Your an absolute life saver! :D


Active Member
Mar 12, 2004
Cont & Change Notes

These are a little rough at the end and no focus study. May as well not let them go to waste!!! Sorry they look so terrible, they're, like, three times the upload limit!!!

Social and Cultural
Change and Continuity

Social change: the transformation of cultural and/or social institutions over time that is reflected in the life patterns of individuals.

Four general characteristics:
• Social change is universal but variable
• Social change is both intentional and unplanned
• Social change is often controversial
• Social changes differ in duration, speed and consequences

Change may be:
• Exogenous (from outside the society)
• Endogenous (from inside the society)

Social and cultural change needs to be assessed for the advantages and disadvantages involved.

Why is it important to reflect on continuity, change and the future?
• Determine the best outcome for the social and individual goals of the community
• Assessment is vital to monitor and maintain changes
• Stability for the conservation of continuities
• A preferred future can be planned by considering both the continuities and changes of a society

Macro perspective (social change):
• Language
o Internet
 Pro: quicker and easier
 Con: loss of proper grammar
• Body image
o Fashions
 Pro: healthy eating, sports role models
 Con: anorexia, etc. * false beliefs of what is the ideal body
• Multiculturalism
o Immigration
o Diversity
 Pro: sharing of cultures, tolerance/acceptance
 Con: conflict, racism, communication barriers
• Lifestyle/Attitudes
o Sexuality
o Authority
 Pro: more acceptance eg. Of same sex relationships
 Con: rebellion to authority
• Media
o Increasing coverage
o Mass media
 Pro: increased knowledge, much more access
 Con: less censorship, false representations, one way communication

All changes have both advantages and disadvantages.

Sources of social change:
• Changes to physical environment
o Natural disasters
• Innovation
o Contraceptive pill
o Internet
o Diffusion
• Problem of crisis management
o War
o Economic crisis
o Resource depletion
• Policy makers and planners
o More and more social change is now planned and coordinated
• Law makers
o Discrimination laws
• Changes in demography
o Migration
o Birth and death rates
o Population patterns
o Lifestyles
• Mass media
o Can retard or promote social change
• Social movements
o Green Peace
o Women’s Liberation
• Leadership
o Politicians

Social change rarely has a singled isolated cause.

Social change can be identified under a number of headings:
1. IDENTITY of change
- What is changing?
2. LEVEL of change
- Individual, group or macro level?
3. RATE of change
- Sudden? Gradual? Continual? Spasmodic? Orderly? Erratic?
4. DIRECTION of change?
- Progress or decline (from which perspective?)
5. MAGNITUDE of change
- Are familiar things being modified or are they completely different?

Continuity: social and cultural elements remain the same.

Change occurs when people think of new ways of doing things – innovations.
An innovation can be either:
1. the discovery of something that already exists
- uranium
2. the invention of something new
- plastics
Innovation is usually not a single act but the result of cumulative knowledge eg…the study of astronomy began many centuries ago * built up to our complex level

Three types of innovations causing change:
1. technological
- car * changes in urban life
2. cultural
- new ideas and beliefs
3. social
- the development of bureaucracies

Diffusion: The movement of ideas from one society to another eg…ideas of the Industrial Revolution from Britain, silicon chip from California
Diffusion can be through direct contact or the mass media.
Diffusion of products and ideas is often planned eg…economic aid to developing countries.

Resist, modify and synthesise.

Artefacts: elements of culture that relate to technology

Sociofacts: elements of culture by which an individual relates to other people * family structure, legal and political systems

Mentifacts: the mind elements of culture * language and religion

William Ogburn * Theory of Social Lag
Artefacts change much quicker than mentifacts.
Attitudes are the slowest things to change.

Social movements (pressure groups)
A diverse range of groups:
• Reformists
o Generally work within the existing system using acceptable methods eg…members elected to parliament, lobbying (Greenpeace, Right to Life)
• Radicals
o Often totally reject the existing system. May use unacceptable methods. Always a minority and often lack power.
• Counter culture
o Alternative movements * choose to ‘opt out’ and establish their own alternative life style. Can raise public awareness
• Ultra conservatives
o The ‘moral majority’ is claimed to be represented. They wish to reserve many current economic power and political influence * closely linked to ‘the establishment’

Stages in a pressure group’s activities (lifestyle):
1. Preliminary stage
- Restlessness in the society
- Emergence of agitators
2. Consciousness raising
- Raising people’s awareness
- Individual frustrations into public issues
3. Popular stage
- United action begins
- Emergence of leaders
- Focus on goals/visions
4. Formal organisation
5. Institutional stage
- Accepted part of society eg…Green Peace * another institution in society

Green Peace
• Raise global awareness about international issues
• Ban on all nuclear weapons testing * first protest
• End large scale drift net fishing
• Whale sanctioning
• Generally accepted in society
o Socially acceptable causes
o Non-violent methods
o Body Shop (helped start, etc.)
o Radical perception
• Idea is to get media attention * to raise awareness

Groups resisting change
• Amish
o Resist modernisation
o Based on religion * rigid, puritan
o Worship
o Regularity
o Simple pleasures * not material
o Sober, dark clothes
o Make own clothes (cloth)
o Horse and carts * no cars
o Simple tractors
o Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana
o Escape religious persecution from Germany
o Little change since 17thC * change is actively resisted
o Marry within the community
o Anti-war but great respect for the government
o Largely self-sufficient * little electricity
o Isolated group
o No state aid for education
o Schooling finishes at 14 * banned after 14 years old
o Adult baptism * choice as an adult
o Work for the sake of work

Video: Black Civil Rights
Deep River
• Emmett Till
• William Parker
o Went down Mississippi to uncle’s * in Summer from Chicago
• Whistled (not certain) at store owner’s wife (Mrs. Bryant) * both boys were in store
• Emmett’s body was found, badly mutilated, in a river * mother wouldn’t let body be retouched and it was displayed in an open casket. 1000s of people saw it
• Brought a lot of media coverage to the area and the things surrounding the murder
• Trial * ‘as it their world was being turned upside down
• All white jury * over 60% population was black
• Key witness was black * hid out until trial * knew danger * no one in his position had blamed whites for murder
• Five day trial * jury went out for 67 minutes to give a ‘not guilty’ verdict
• “It was like open season on Niggers [was started]” – Mrs. Till
• Mr. Bryant and ___ were paid to tell the truth (by media) * they did * truth was published * nothing could be done with the truth as the trial was over and the verdict read
A Victory for Justice
• 1/12/1955
• Rosa Parks
• Had been preparing for years
• Blacks * economic backbone of bus company
• Martin Luther King * knew it was all wrong * knew he could shame the nation by showing them the injustice of their laws
• Media helped to spread ideas, etc. * the bigger it all got, better story
• 14/11/1956 * segregation on buses declared unconstitutional
Children’s Crusade
• Integrated schools
• High school * nine blacks chosen because of academic achievement
• Whites * baffled why anyone black would want to change the social order
• National guard were called in to stop children attending
• Children told not to go * Elizabeth ___ not told
• 24-25 September 1957 * army sent in by Eisenhower to protect black students * put federal government behind the blacks * someone cared
• Children escorted to school

The Black Civil Rights Movement
• Desegregation of schools after Supreme Courts 1954 ruling. This met with opposition in the south – boycotts by whites, intimidation, and violence. Mid 60’s – 98% of blacks in the south still attended segregated schools.
• 1957: Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine black children try to go to (white) school but a mob try to stop them. President Eisenhower sends in troops to help. First time troops used against American citizens.
• Bus boycott by black in Montgomery, Alabama * segregated transportation outlawed (1956). Collective, direct action then used elsewhere. First organised mass protest – 382 day boycott.
• Martin Luther King was the president of the group organising the Montgomery boycott. His methods were non-violent. Sit-ins led to the desegregation of lunch areas.
• Activists had mass support among blacks who had never before been particularly active in civil rights. Rent strikes and demonstrations against workplace discrimination became commonplace.
• 1963 * many demonstrations, much violence. Many whites joined the civil rights campaign for ‘freedom now’
o ‘March on Washington’ * about 200 000 people, 20% white. King delivered his now famous “I have a dream…” speech … the dream of entry into American society
• Kennedy made a significant amount of black appointments to middle and top government positions
o His Civil Rights Act of 1964 was well received by the Civil Right Movement. Its success in voter registration was limited * Voting Rights Act of 1965
• Despite the many legal and political games, poverty and unemployment rates for black are exceptionally high. The ratio of black politicians is poor
• Black Militancy
o During the height of the civil rights movement, some blacks wanted to use violence to achieve their goals. The Black Muslims and Black Panthers were two such groups
o Malcolm X * member of the Black Muslims * assassinated in 1965

Louis Farrakhan
• Doesn’t like
o Jews
o Whites
o Christians
o Homosexuals
 Doesn’t hide this
• Likes Hitler
• Part of: Nation of Islam
o Credited with rescuing significant numbers of blacks from poverty, drugs, etc.
• October 1995 * Million Man March * comradeship (among blacks), pride, ‘rededication to core pride’
o Women not invited * here to instruct men, not mate
o Gives very convincing arguments to promote solidarity
o Lacked legislative goals
o Show of black solidarity
o On going and existing
o Back to Africa Group

Continuity: the persistence of cultural elements within a society.

Modernisation: a process of social change resulting from the diffusion and adoption of the characteristics of apparently more advanced societies to apparently less advanced. It involves the growth of social and political systems, acceptance of scientific explanations and the transformation of social relationships.

• Economic *
• Social
o Modernity * attitude that allows for modernisation
o Family
  polygamy
  ethnic endogamy
  dowry
  choosing not to marry
• Bureaucratisation
o A social structure for administering large scale organisation rationally, efficiently and impersonally
 Impartial
 Hierarchy
 Rules
 Qualifications
 Rational
• Political
o Universal suffrage
o Political parties
o Elected leaders
o Bureaucracy

Peter Principle: promoted to level of incompetence

Is all change progress?
Depends on perspective, social position, etc.

Futures studies: the study of alternative human futures and of human choice.

Possible Futures
• Speculative, imaginative
Probable Futures
• Short term (10 years) forecasts. Expected
Preferable Futures
• Goal based. Any time span. This involves reflection and challenging values and priorities.

The future is not predetermined * it is influenced by individual choice. The future will definitely involve change and uncertainty.

Social goals
• Equality of opportunity
• Appropriate technology
• Human rights
• Sustainable development
• Respect for cultural diversity/acceptance of cultural groups
• Environmental sustainability

How can we achieve these social goals?
Corrective and preventative measures
• Self-development and realisation, understanding, personal transformation
• Education and training
• Mass media/swings in public opinion
• Allocation of resources
• Cultural transmissions * changes in ideologies and values
• Environmental impact studies
• Legislation for change
• Social movements
• Valuing and planning to achieve social goals

Planning change requires balance between social, economic, political, environmental and technological spheres * often economics seem to dominate.

Future research methodologies
• Comparative and analogous methods
o Principle of continuity assumes conditions will pass into the future
• Trend extrapolation
o Proves useful for demographic changes yet less successful for economic change
o Success varies
• Scenarios
o An extrapolation of an alternative future usually in the form of a written description or an outline of a conceivable state of affairs, given certain assumptions
o A scenario is:
 Hypothetical
 Only an outline
 Should consider all possibilities
• Delphi technique
o Useful to ‘obtain the most reliable consensus of opinion of a group of experts…by a series of intensive questionnaires interspersed with controlled opinion feedback…about a likely event in the future’
o Advantages
 The result is a consensus forecast or judgement
 Group dynamics do not as greatly influence responses
 Computerisation makes the process relatively simple
• Speculation
o Involves creatively imagining wide ranging possibilities for the future. Expressed in science fiction
• Simulations
o Imitation of certain conditions to construct a situation that has not occurred

Theories of social change
• Socio cultural evolutionary
o Originally ‘evolutionary theory’
o Based on Darwinism…applied to social phenomenon (Social Darwinism)
o Natural progression from simple to complex societies. Change seen as natural, constant and uni-linear (in one direction)
o ‘Survival of the fittest’ now refers to social activities and institutions in a competitive environment. Explains social inequality
o Assumptions that all social evolution is progress and that eventually all societies will resemble Western industrial societies in values, ideologies and institutions
o Increasing technology and increasingly complex social organisations are ‘adaptations’
o Germeinshaft and gesellshaft societies (Tonnies) display the differences between traditional and modern societies
o Auguste Comte
o Herbert Spencer
o Emile Durkheim
o Later * not necessarily progress. Change can be multi-linear (Lenski)
• Functionalist
o Emphasises social order and consesus
o Change is gradual and infrequent (due to cultural norms and values * these maintain stability in society)
o Stability is sought * change is temporary before equilibrium is again achieved. Social change is resisted
o Conflict is not normal…Society aims to overcome it. New balance is achieved
o Change is externally motivated
 Technology
 Inequality
 Pop change
 War
 Economic recession
• Conflict
o Conflict between groups * competition * causes change. Change is common/absence of conflict is abnormal (c.f.// functionalist)
o The struggle for power is central
o Karl Marx * class conflict the most important/economic struggles. The ‘exploiting’ vs. the ‘exploited’
o Ralf Dahrendorf * believed power, rather than class (a broader definition) the root of conflict
o Webber * conflict of ideas also
o Internal rather than external sources of change stressed. Factors that divide society cause change (dissatisfaction)
o Explains well many significant historical events eg…overthrow of feudalism
• Cyclical


Active Member
Mar 12, 2004
if anyone wants a hard copy of this PM me with your email address and i'll send it to you :D

Dee S

New Member
Mar 21, 2005
continuity + change theories for Indonesia?? anyone???

does anyone have notes on theories on social continuity and change that could be applied to studying Indonesian society?
if u can let me know and provide, that would be much appreciated =)
+ good luck in ur half yrlys all of u!


Feb 25, 2004
Eastern Subs
wow winicat they're pretty decent notes. I did soc + cult last year too, what mark did you end up getting?


Active Member
Mar 12, 2004
can't remember lol i think band 5? maybe? i dunno lol

yeah, they were the only notes i typed up, all my others i hand copied into a folder and ended up giving to a friend in year 11 when i left. they'd be really useful now for helping people out :S

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