Change is an ever present phenomenon everywhere. Change is the law of nature. Social change is the transformation of culture and social institutions over time. Every society changes all the time. Sometime faster, sometimes more slowly. Social change often generates controversy. The term social change is used to indicate the changes that take place in human interactions and interrelations. Society is a web of social relationships. Social change means a change in the system of social relationships. The term social change is used to desirable variations in social interaction, social processes, and social organization. It includes alterations in the structure and functions of the society.

According to M.E. JONES, "Social change is a term used to describe variations in, or modifications of, any aspect of social processes, social patterns, social interaction or social organization".

According to Kingsley DavisBy social change is meant only such alterations as occur in social organization, that is, structure and function of society

The process of social change has four major characteristics:

  • Social change happens all the time.
  • Social change is sometimes intentional but often it is unplanned.
  • Social change is controversial.
  • Some changes matter more than others.

Features of Social Change

  • Social change is continuous.
  • Social change is temporal.
  • Social change is environmental.
  • Social change is human change.
  • Social change results from interaction of a number of factors.
  • Social change may create chain reaction.
  • Social change involves rate and direction of change.
  • Social change may be planned or unplanned.
  • Short versus Long-run changes.
  • Social change is an objective term.

Causes of social change

Social change is a complex phenomenon in which the cause and effect relationship is not always clear. No single cause produces a single effect in the social world. There is always the plurality of causation. Several factors or causes operate together to produce the same results.

A. Internal causes of social change

Strain and conflict.

Social problems.

Revolutions and upheavals.

Cultural change.

B. The impact of the social and non-social environment

The impact of the non-social environment.

The influence of the social environment.