Theoretical Perspectives and Their Presuppositions
Conceptualizing change as a feature of social modernity using analogies such as growth, cyclical renewal, progress, modernity, development, and evolution gives us presuppositions for understanding the world and the concept of individual, society, and culture (Patterson 6). Analogies conceptualize change as a social order in continuous flux. Change is thus a progress that conquests expansionism, and repressive Cold Wars shape.
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Each of the analogies of change carry different presuppositions with different implications for understanding today’s world (Patterson 6). According to the author, social theorists used the change analogies to explain capitalist development and imperialism. The change analogies adequately explained the impact of the globalization of capitalism in shaping the world uniformly.
The analogies of change embrace propositional and procedural knowledge that deals with specific learning concepts in the society (Patterson 13). Change analogies relate to each other and help in understanding the present, past, and future trends in civilization. Moreover, change analogies hold that man progresses from deprivation, insecurity, and ignorance through societal civilization to develop a culture that advances him in every step of life. Together, these analogies hold that the advancements will continue in the future, as long as individuals, the society, and culture relate to the other.
Summarily, the change process carries different implications for civilization as the analogies influence how we understand the described processes. The presuppositions of these viewpoints penetrate the fabric of everyday life, as the theorists are part of the societies that they try to explain (Patterson 21). Analogies play an important role in understanding the world by contributing to conceptual change using straightforward approaches. Conceptual change, therefore, refers to the preeminence of radical, progressive, and growing change. Indeed, how one conceptualizes change using continuum gradations gives knowledge of how analogies contribute to change, a key tenet of early theorist observations.
The Historical Trajectories of Industrial Capitalism
The perspectives of social theorists such as Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim dominate social change and development discussions because of their analysis of capitalism trends. The term ‘capitalism’ was coined to describe the global scale industrial or private owned production of goods (Patterson 25). Capitalism also described the ideas and beliefs that legitimized and ratified the existing social order. Indeed, historical change best explains the trends in capitalism from unstrained competition to government interference.
The three theorists captured various stages of development in the capitalistic society. Marx, Weber, and Durkheim conceptualize historical change as evolutionary, progressive and with direction (Patterson 26). The theorists criticize political-economic theories of change because they ignore capitalist relations that shape historical change. By analyzing social change through history, the authors give a deep account of societal progresses, development, evolution, and growth.
Marx, Weber, and Durkheim analyze the diversity of social forms of capitalism using historically contingent, necessary, unilinear, and multilinear trajectories. The theorists reject a unilinear and progressive change by weighing the notion on historical circumstances of the period (Patterson 28). The author points out that multilinear evolution appreciated how communities adapted to the environment, nuanced by unilinear evolution. Marx held that the internal contradictions of the society resulted in different stages of a capitalism. In analyzing the diversity of social forms of capitalism, the theorists agree that socialism was a result of various development trajectories and uncontrolled development.
Although the three theorists used trajectories to analyze capitalism, they had differing and similar opinions on the subject. Weber did not agree with societal conceptualizations of economies just as Durkheim argued that economists distorted reality by removing it (Patterson 28). The theorists argued that economic conceptualizations did not delve into politics and ethics but leaned more towards economics. Although Weber and Durkheim had similar thoughts, Durkheim had a keen interest in Neo-Kantian themes, while Weber leaned towards idealism and materialism. Contrastively, Marxist theories described change in relation to progress in analyzing capitalism. In sum, analyzing social change through historical trajectories gives a deep account of societal progresses, development, evolution, and growth.
Patterson, Thomas. “Modern Industrial Capitalist society”. Change and Development in the Twentieth Century. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 1999. 28-55. Print.
—. “Theories of Change and Development.” Change and Development in the Twentieth Century. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic, 1999. 6-27. Print.