Last week the world witnessed yet another senseless mass shooting which left us once again, pondering questions like,”Why?” How does this kind of violent behavior continue to occur without someone, anyone, in the individual’s sphere in influence, who recognizes an inherent danger these mentally disturbed people may pose? One thing is certain, the general public, like myself, is fed up. So much so, that many of us are now actively seeking strategies to bring about winds of change with respect to these active shooter incidents. Therefore, today’s post is focused on the various components that motivate social change in society.
Most experts agree that we tend to think about social change in three ways: (a) as a result of significant events such as a war, a terrorist attack like the Boston bombing, or an active shooter incident, (b) in a macroscopic level suggesting that wide-scale trends enable us to view patterns, and (c) in social institutions that affect the lives of the population as individuals, groups, families, in various situations, and in work settings (Harper & Leicht, 2011). So what drives these changes? According to David Bornstein (2007), the answer is – fortified barriers that have disappeared at a staggering rate (p. 6).
One of the three areas of social change that continues to have significant impact is that of education. According to the article, Social Change (n.d.), education is a powerful platform that brings about changes in society. Although changes appear to come slow, they are constant and tend to have an enormous impact than those brought on by other means, such as revolution, incursions, or any other unforeseen events. French sociologist, David Emile Durkheim, purports that social change in education is particularly important for the younger generation (Social Change, n.d.). For example, to help bring about social change in the educational arena, the federal government in the 1960s, shifted their focus to support education when President Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson lobbied Congress for more federal aid and the creation of new programs.
In addition, to keep up with today’s market place, the middle class continues to transmute into a coalition of people who have gone on to complete higher levels of education after high school. As a result, a trend toward greater tolerance of religions, cultures and politics is widespread partly explained by the increasing levels of education in America that have assisted in breaking down the barriers of fear and separation.
Individuals with higher levels of education for instance, tend to be less fearful of others with different views. We can illustrate this by observing sects of devout Christians like myself, who were conditioned to believe that individuals outside their religious beliefs were condemned to an afterlife of misery, cruelty and suffering. This view can be very confusing for devout youngsters that are educated in a traditional brick and mortar school system. Their exposure to multiculturalism challenges their own belief systems. In other words, the public classroom is where these young learners are exposed to a hodge-podge of information and tend to become very confused. Therefore, it is up to each individual, with the help of their friends, families, and communities, to learn how to discern between their own beliefs and spiritual practices with those of others. This is an effective strategy which can help in developing healthier views towards one another. Perhaps if more people implemented such tactics, we could begin to experience less violent reactions and finally begin to feel the joy of intermingling with peers of different faiths and cultural upbringing. This can prove to be an effective strategy for educators to recognize when confronted with situations that force students to judge their friends negatively or contemplate personal views of condemnation just because they have different spiritual and cultural beliefs.
The more we invest in educating the populace, the better we will be at acknowledging and accepting the reality that religions and cultural beliefs greatly differ from one civil society to the next. Even though there are many differences, the truth is, each civil society has one thing in common: they all adhere to certain set of moral rules. In order for social change to occur, however, the structural properties of a social system must evolve in order to shift the degree of inequality and power (Noble, 2000). In short, education is one significant avenue that has the ability to offer peaceful solutions, because it tears down the walls of prejudice and misinformation. Individuals, who are educated in such topics like religion, science, government, and history, are empowered because they gravitate toward a better understanding and tolerance of society. Therefore, it only seems logical to conclude, that education plays a key component to bring about long term social change. In other words, it is one redeeming feature of human society that continues to shape and steer humanity’s magnificent and evolving world.
That’s it for today. Until next time … keep learning and stay organized!
No fundamental social change occurs merely because government acts. It’s because civil society, the conscience of a country, begins to rise up and demand – demand – demand change. –
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Bornstein, D. (2007). How to change the world: Social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Harper, C., & Leicht, K. (2011). Exploring social change American and the world (6th ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Social Change. (n.d.). Retrieved January 6, 2012, from Questia.com: http://www.questia.com/library/sociology-and-anthropology/social-organization-and-community/social-change
Noble, T. (2000). Social theory and social change. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.