Society Challenge and Change
What is Social Change:
Social change refers to changes in the way society
is organized and in the beliefs and practices of the
people who live in it
Social Scientists try to understand the nature of
social change and what forces drive it rather then
predict the future.
What are the Social Sciences? Social Science is the
study of humans in
their social, economic
and political relations.
Goods & Services
Human behaviour is so
varied, that social
sciences have been
organized into specialties
according to areas of
The Social Sciences concern.
Each area asks different
questions when trying to
Human Behaviour account for human
Anthropology – the
study of the unity and
diversity of humanity
(and related primates)
and of human culture
and society from a
comparative and global
Psychology – the study of thought processes
and the behaviour of humans
Sociology – the study of human social life,
groups and societies
How Do The Experts Compare and
Contrast Social Change?
DISCIPLINE QUESTIONS ASKED
Anthropology focuses What are the known basic mechanisms of social change?
on what causes an What ideas or explanations can we use to describe what causes
entire culture to change cultures to change?
How adequate are these ideas or explanations when we apply
them to the modern world?
What are the implications for anthropology?
Psychology focuses on What must people do to successfully change their behaviours?
behaviours of What factors make behaviour-modification programs successful?
individuals Do most people need help in making behavioural changes or can
they be self-changers?
Sociology focuses on What are the massive shifts in the behaviours and attitudes of
changes in a society. groups and whole society?
How does social change come about?
What are the patterns of social change?
The study of people, whether it is through
anthropology, sociology, or psychology, helps
us to learn what drives people.
What makes humans different from other animals?
Is there such a thing as human nature, and if so, what
is it like?
How and why do human groups differ, both
biologically and culturally?
Why have humans changes so much in the last 10,000
How are people who live in urbanized nations
different from “traditional” or “indigenous” people?
Anthropologists are interested in all human
beings – whether living or dead.
No place or time is too remote to escape the
notice of anthropologists.
No dimension of humankind from skin color to
dress customs falls outside the anthropologist’s
Anthropology is made up of
Let’s get started…
A.K.A. Biological Anthropology
Biological (also called Physical) anthropology is concerned
with the anatomy and behavior of monkeys and apes, the
physical variation between different human populations,
and the biological evolution of the human species.
The specialization of primatology studies the evolution,
anatomy, adaptation, and social behavior of primates, the
taxonomic order to which humans belong.
We humans or Homo sapiens sapiens share 98% of our
genes with chimpanzees.
Another important goal of biological anthropology
is to understand how and why the human species
evolved from prehuman, apelike ancestors.
The specialization that investigates human
biological evolution is known as
Paleonanthropologists have reconstructed the
history of how humans evolved anatomically.
Through analyzing fossils, comparing DNA
sequences and other methods, the outlines
of human evolution are becoming clear.
Many scholars agree that the evolutionary
line leading to modern humans split from
those leading to modern African apes,
chimpanzees and gorillas around 5 to 6
million years ago.
Is the study of contemporary and historically
recent activities and cultures
Is the studying firsthand and reporting about
the ways of living in particular groups
Is understanding the causes and consequences
of cultural change
Is enhancing public understanding and
appreciation of cultural differences and
Emotions and behaviors
Languages and communication
Sex and marriage
Prehistoric Archaeology is the study of
ancient pre-literate cultures—those that
never kept written records of their
activities, customs and beliefs.
Although prehistoric peoples lacked
writing, some information about their way
of life can be recovered from tools, pottery,
ornaments, bones, plant pollen, charcoal
and other materials they left behind, in or
around the ground.
Through careful excavation and laboratory
analysis of such material remains,
prehistoric archaeologist reconstruct the
way people lived in ancient times and trace
how human cultures have changed over
centuries and even over millennia.
Contrary to the impression given by much
North American media, the main goal of
digging a particular site is not to recover
valuable treasures and other artifacts.
The goal is to understand how people of a
particular place lived long ago.
Many archaeologists today are employed
not in universities but in museums, public
agencies, and for profit corporations.
Provincial highway agencies employ
archaeologists to conduct surveys of
proposed new routes in order to locate and
excavate archaeological sites that will be
• The human communication process focusing
• the importance of socio-cultural influences
• nonverbal communication
• the structure of language
• The function of language
• The history of languages, dialects, pidgins, and
Is the ability to communicate complex
messages with greater efficiency
Is concerned with the complex relations
between language and other aspects of human
behaviour and thought e.g.
How is language used in various social
contexts? How does one order a drink in
What style of speech might one use with
people of a higher social order?
Does the language we learn while growing up
have any important effects on how we view the
world or how we think and feel?
Now we now about it…what do we
do with it?
Applied Anthropologist are problem solvers.
They solve problems drawing upon the cultural
context for clues about how to address a problem
in ways that will make sense to the people of that
Today, hundreds of anthropologists hold full time
positions that allow them to apply their expertise
in government agencies, nonprofit and for profit
organizations, and international agencies.
Applied anthropologists can be medical
anthropologists—investigate the complex
interactions among human health, nutrition, social
environment and cultural beliefs and practices.
Also development anthropologists—apply their
expertise to the solutions of practical human
problems especially in the developing world—
development anthropologists provide information
about communities that help agencies adapt
projects to local conditions and local needs.
Development anthropologists working for
the World Bank, United Nations
Development Program provide policy
makers with knowledge of local-level
ecological and cultural conditions, so that
projects will avoid unanticipated problems
and minimize negative impacts.
Research Methods Used
Just how do they find out about this
• Anthropologists have learned that the best way to
really get to know another society and its culture is
to live in it as an active participant rather than
simply an observer.
• By physically and emotionally participating in the
social interaction of the host society it is possible
to become accepted as a member.
• Dian Fossey believed that in
order to study gorillas effectively
she had to immerse herself with
them in an effort to get them to
accept her presence
• She was murdered in her cabin
at Karisoke on December 26,
1985. Her death is a mystery yet
• Intuition is believing something to be true because a
person’s emotions and logic support it
• Intuition is not proof of fact – this is why we need
anthropologists – they prove or disprove what we
BELIEVE to be true
Anthropology & Family
One of the major functions of an
Anthropologists is to help us increase our
knowledge regarding “What it is to be
human?” by noting and comparing cultural
One of the ways that this is done is
by examining how different cultures
• Kinship is a family relationship based on what a culture
considers a family to be.
• The family unit can vary depending on the culture in which
the family lives
• Through study Anthropologists have concluded that
human cultures define the concept of kinship in three
• Mating – (marriage)
• Birth – (descent)
• Nurturance (adoption)
• Patrilineal – Method of tracing and organizing families
through the father's line
• Matrilineal – Method of tracing and organizing families
through the mother's line.
• Patriarchy – A place in history designed for the
convenience of men, and structured according to rules
that men find comfortable. Consisting in society male
dominate institutions that oppress women.
• The theoretical school of Functionalism considers a
culture as an interrelated whole, not a collection of
• The Functionalists examined how a particular cultural phase
is interrelated with other aspects of the culture and how it affects the
whole system of the society.
• The method of functionalism was based on fieldwork
and direct observations of societies.
• Structuralism assumes that cultural forms are based on
common properties of the human mind.
• This theory states that humans tend to see things in terms
of two forces that are opposite to each other - e.g.. night
• The goal of Structuralism is to discover universal
principles of the human mind underlying each cultural
trait and custom.
• This theoretical school was almost single handedly
established by Claude Levi-Strauss.
• Technological and economical factors are the most
important ones in molding a society – known as
• Determinism – states that the types of technology and
economic methods that are adopted always determine
(or act as deciding factors in forming) the type of
society that develops.
Schools of Thought
Functionalism Structuralism Cultural Materialism
Similarities Attempts to Attempts to understand Attempts to understand
understand cultures cultures cultures
Differences Investigates the Seeks out and explains Explores members’ decisions
social functions of rules that are based on regarding human reproduction
institutions binary opposites and economic production
Criticisms Presents societies as Overemphasizes logic Tries to establish laws that
being more stable and stability in human apply to all cultures and
than they are a and societies; societies development; observes
downplays the wouldn’t die out if they cultures through biased eyes
negative results of always met the needs
some practices of their members