Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Social Change and Social Order In Rural and Urban Society

Question

What do you understand by ‘structural change’ ? Explain with examples other than these in the text.

Answer
(i) Structural Change : Types of change that are identified by their nature or impact include structural change and changes in ideas, values and beliefs. Structural change refers to transformations in the structure of society to its institutions or the rules by which these institutions are run.

Example :
(a) For instance, the emergence of paper money as currency marked a major change in the organisation of financial markets and transactions. Until this change came about, most forms of currency involved precious metals like gold and silver. The value of the coin was directly linked to the value of the gold or silver it contained. By contrast, the value of paper currency note has no relationship to the value of the paper it is printed on, or the cost of its printing. This idea behind paper money was that a medium or means for facilitating the exchange of goods and services needs not itself be intrinsically valuable.

(b) Importance of Money : As long as it represents values convincingly — i.e., as long as it inspires trust — almost anything can function as money. This idea was the foundation for the credit market and helped change the structure of banking and finance. These changes in turn produced further changes in the organisation of economic life.

(ii) Changes in values and beliefs : Changes in values and beliefs can also lead to social change. For example, changes in the ideas and beliefs about children and childhood have brought about very a important kind of social change, there was a time when children were simply considered small adults — there was no special concept of childhood as such, with its associated notions of what was right or wrong for children to do.

Example :

(a) As late as the 19th century, for example, it was considered good and proper that children start to work as soon as they were able to. Children were often helping their families at work from the age of five or six; the early factory system depended on the labour of children.

(b) It was during the 19th and early 20th centuries that ideas about childhood as a special stage of life gained influence. It then became unthinkable for small children to be at work, and many countries passed laws banning child labour. At the same time, there emerged ideas about compulsory education, and children were supposed to be in school rather than at work, and many laws were passed for this as well.

(c) Although there are some industries in our country that even today depend on child labour at least partially (such as carpet weaving, small tea shops or restaurants, match-stick making, and so on), child labour is illegal and employers can be punished as criminals.

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