Societies in Change: An Introduction to Comparative Sociology

Societies in Change: An Introduction to Comparative Sociology

Societies in Change: An Introduction to Comparative Sociology

Societies in Change: An Introduction to Comparative Sociology

Excerpt

The social sciences have undergone an amazing expansion in recent years. This expansion has been triggered largely by the dramatic political, economic, and social changes that have been taking place all over the world. There is an urgent need to understand and to cope with these new realities, and the social sciences are expected to play a part in dealing with them.

In the political sphere more than fifty former colonial territories have become independent states and others are expecting to be granted sovereignty. Many of the new nations face the task of establishing a workable political system and of integrating diverse social groups into a political community. In addition, well-established nations that are undergoing political changes need research about the nature of political processes to predict their possible future development. Furthermore, terms such as "democracy," "nationalism," and "totalitarianism" have become ambiguous and need clarification, so that the radical transformations going on today can be adequately understood. In all these matters the political scientist plays a central role.

In the economic sphere the term "industrialization" defines the fundamental transformation that many societies in the world are experiencing today. Industrialization has become a reality of its own, seemingly releasing forces that affect men everywhere in more or less the same way, regardless of political or cultural di-

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