Social Change and Social Order in Rural - Solutions

 CBSE Class 11 Sociology

NCERT Solutions
Chapter 7
Social Change and Social Order in Rural and Urban Society

1. Would you agree with the statement that rapid social change is a comparatively new phenomenon in human history? Give reasons for your answer.


  • It is estimated that human beings have existed on planet earth for approximately 500,000 (five lakh) years, but they have had a civilised existence for only about 6,000 years.
  • Of these civilised years, it was only in the last 400 years that we have seen constant and rapid changes.
  • Even within these years of change, the pace has accelerated only in the last 100 years. This acceleration in change is mainly due to advancements in technology and the advent of industrial revolution.
  • And within the last fifty years the world may have changed more in the last twenty years than in the first thirty years.

2. How is social change to be distinguished from other kinds of change?


  • Social change is a general term that refers to almost any kind of change not qualified by some other terms, such as economic or political change.
  • Social change refers to changes that are significant, changes which alter the underlying structure of an object or situation over a period of time.
  • Social change does not include any and all changes, but only big changes which transform things fundamentally.
  • Social change remains a very broad term. Attempts to further qualify it by its sources or causes: by its nature, or the kind of impact it has on society; and by its pace or speed.

3. What do you understand by 'structural change'? Explain with examples other than those in the text.


  • Structural change refers to transformations in the structure of society, transformation to its institutions or the rules by which these institutions run.
  • For example, 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 a paper currency note has no relationship to the value of the paper it is printed on, or the cost of its printing.
  • The idea behind paper money was that a medium or means for facilitating the exchange of goods and services need not itself be intrinsically valuable. As long as it represents values convincingly i.e., as long as it inspires trust - almost anything can function as money.
  • Changes in values and beliefs can also lead to social change.
  • For example, changes in the ideas and childhood have brought about many types of social changes. 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.
  • As late as in 19th century, for example, it was considered good and proper that children do work as soon as they are 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.
  • It was during the 19th and early 20th centuries that ideas of life gained influence for small children to be at work, and many countries passed laws banning child labour.

4. Describe some kinds of environment related social change.

Ans. Environment always had significant influence on the structure of the society, especially in primitive societies as humans were unable to control environment.

  • In the past, physical and climatic conditions of the environment to a large extent determined the food habits, clothing, livelihoods and patterns of social interaction.
  • In modern societies, the influences of environment have been decreasing with increase in technological resources. Technology helps to overcome and adapt to problems posed by nature and thus reduces the differences between societies living in different environmental conditions
  • The effects of nature on society have changed but continue to be there. There are many ways in which environmental changes brings social changes.
  • Destructive changes are caused by natural disaster and are often irreversible. It can even lead to loss of livelihoods for people of a society where the destruction occurs, sometimes the social structure of villages or cities can get totally altered and sometime lead to total destruction of societies. For example, the Gujarat earthquake of 2001, also known as the Bhuj earthquake was a destructive change killing almost 20,023 people.
  • New discoveries in the environment can open up new livelihood options and leads to social change in the society. For instance, discovery of oil in the desert regions of west Asia have transformed their economy benefiting from the oil wealth. Similarly, discovery of gold in California in the 19th century initiated movement of people to new livelihood options towards the place.

5. What are some kinds of changes brought about by technology and the economy?

Ans. Technology and economy combined has led to immense social changes in modern society. Various ways in which technological changes brings social changes are:

  • Technology helps us to adapt, control and resist nature or environment factors affecting us.
  • Technology when linked to institutions of market can bring immediate social change (eg;Industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism)
  • Other technology like steam engine and modes of transport introduced large scale industries and enabled expansion of the economy internationally.
  • Change in international trade changed migration pattern leading to changes in social, cultural and demographic dimensions of world society.
  • Some technological changes like steam engine impact society relatively quicker but some technological changes like invention of paper impact society retrospectively.
  • Some economic changes which are not directly technological like plantation agriculture created a heavy demand for labour bring change in social, cultural and demographic dimensions.

6. What is meant by social order and how is it maintained?

  • Social order means systematic arrangement of the social structure. It helps in active maintenance and reproduction of patterns of social relationships. It helps society to prevent, control and regulate social changes. Social order is needed for systematic functioning of society.
  • Social order is generally the periphery of the dominant groups. It means that the social order is based on the ideas of the dominant groups. Hence, any changes that may alter their stability in the society will be resisted by them.
  • On the other hand, the oppressed group would be interested in bringing changes that is favourable to them and will alter the position of the dominant groups. Hence, the dominant group use social order to prevent, control and regulate social changes that alter the norms and values which are considered as accepted by them.
  • Social order can be maintained in two ways.
    • Through spontaneous consent When people spontaneously wish to abide by a set of rules and norms than social order can be achieved. For instance, shared values internalised by people through socialisation.
    • By compulsion to obey When people are compelled in various ways to obey a set of rules or norms to maintain social order. For instance, use of power of various forms to conform to established norms.

7. What is authority and how is it related to domination and the law?

Ans. Authority is defined by Max Weber as legitimate power, that is, power considered to be justified or proper. For example, a police officer, a judge, or a school teacher all exercise different kinds of authority as part of their jobs.

  • This authority is explicitly provided to them by their official job description. There are written documents specifying their authority, and what they may and may not do.
  • A law is an explicitly codified norm or rule. It is usually written down, and there are laws that specify how laws are to be made or changed, or what is to be done if someone violates them.
  • Law forms the formal body of rules according to which society will be governed. Laws apply to all citizens. Whether or not I as an individual agree with a particular law, it has binding force on me as a citizen, and on all other citizens similarly regardless of their beliefs.
  • Domination works through power, but much of this power is actually legitimate power or authority a large part of which is codified in law.
  • Consent and cooperation are obtained on a regular and reliable basis because of the backing of this structure of legitimisation and formal institutional support. This does not exhaust the domain of power or domination - there are many kinds of power that are effective in society even though they are illegitimate, or if legitimate are not codified in law.

8. How are a village, town and city distinguished from each other?


  • Villages are a unit of the rural community, where rural life upholds itself and does perform its functions.
  • It is simple community based on agriculture.
  • Villages are end product of nomadic ways of life based on hunting, gathering food and transient agriculture to a more settled form of life.
  • Social changes are slow and gradual.
  • It has a large population, high density of population, heterogeneity predominantly engaged in non agricultural occupations.
  • Their life is complex and multidimensional. These are mostly commercial hubs.
  • Social changes in cities are quick and drastic.

9. What are some features of social order in rural areas?


  • Villages are small in size so they usually permit more personalised relationships; it is not unusual for members of a village to know all or most other members by sight.
  • The social structure in villages tends to follow a more traditional pattern: institutions like caste, religion, and other forms of customary or traditional social practices are stronger here.
  • For these reasons, unless there are special circumstances that make for an exception change is slower to arrive in villages than in towns.
  • The subordinate sections of society have much less scope for expressing themselves in rural areas than their counterparts in cities. The lack of anonymity and distance in the village makes it difficult for people to dissent because they can be easily identified and 'taught a lesson' by the dominant sections.
  • The relative power of the dominant sections is much more because they control most avenues of employment, and most resources of all kinds, so the poor have to depend on the dominant sections since there are no alternative sources of employment of support.
  • If there is a strong power structure already in place in a village, it is very difficult to dislodge it. Change in the sense of shifts in power are thus slow and late to arrive in rural areas because the social order is stronger and more resilient.
  • Change of other sorts is also slow to come because villages are scattered and not as well connected to the rest of the world as cities and towns are.
  • Communication links of other sorts (road, rail) have also generally improved over time so that a few villages can really claim to be 'isolated' or 'remote'.
  • High population density places a great premium on space and creates very complex problems of logistics. It is the primary task of the urban social order to ensure the spatial viability of the city.
  • This means the organization and management of things like: housing and residential patterns; mass transit systems for transporting, large number of workers to and from for work; arranging for the coexistence of residential, public and industrial land-use zones.
  • All the public health, sanitation, policing, public safety and monitoring are needs of urban governance.
  • These functions as a huge undertaking in itself and present formidable challenges of planning, implementation and maintenance.
  • The divisions and tensions of class, ethnicity, religion, caste and so on are also present and active.
  • Lack of housing for the poor leads to homelessness, and the phenomenon of' street people' - those who live and survive on the streets and footpaths, under bridges and flyovers, abandoned buildings and other empty spaces. It is also the leading cause for the emergence of slums.
  • Because of the absence of I settled' property rights of the kind seen elsewhere,
    slums are the natural breeding ground for 'dadas' and strongmen who impose their authority on the people who live there.
  • Residential areas in cities all over the world are almost always segregated by class, and often also by race, ethnicity, religion and other such variables. Tension between such identities cause these segregation patterns and are also a consequence.
  • For example, in India, communal tensions between religious communities, most commonly Hindus and Muslims, results in the conversion of mixed neighbourhoods into single-community ones.
  • This in time gives a specific spatial pattern to communal violence whenever it erupts, which again furthers the 'ghettoisation' process.
  • The worldwide phenomenon of 'gated communities' is also found in Indian cities.
    This refers to the creation of affluent neighbourhoods that are separated from their surroundings by walls and gates, with controlled entry and exit. Such communities also have their own parallel civic facilities, such as water and electricity supply, policing and security.