Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Impact of Social Change upon Family as Social Institution with Special Focus on Pakistan: A Sociological Analysis

Academic journal article International Research Journal of Arts and Humanities

Impact of Social Change upon Family as Social Institution with Special Focus on Pakistan: A Sociological Analysis

Article excerpt


Social change has a direct impact on the basic structure and functions of the social institutions. Technology is considered as a powerful tool of social change. Technology has totally changed the style of living. Meanwhile, the effect of technology is apparent on all the social institutions. In sociology, there are five social institutions. They are family, economy, religion, state, and education. Family is the oldest and important institution. Technology has also altered the family economic system. Now many economic functions of family are being performed by industry. Therefore, the status and functions of the family are vehemently changed altogether with other important fonctions. In sociologically language it has been named as 'social impact of technology' (Ralph, 2007). Likewise, socialization and training to new siblings has also been shifted to schools. Marriage which used to be considered as a sacred one has been coined with a social contract. It is tangible and may be terminated at any time.

Sociologists are agreed with the notion that status of women is elevated with introduction of technology. It has put women in huge numbers in productive activities. In olden days such fields were not considered suitable for women. On the contrary, social relationship of husband and wife has got a new direction. The slogan of equality and equity has created stress between husband and wife. The disturbance within the family is quite vivid and understandable. Religion is also on the back seat. Families try to be secular and forward in their inward and outward outlook. Such a race has left religion as just token of faith. Even some technological inventions have tried to rationalize that religion is no more a social phenomenon but just a personal affair. Joint family system has vanished and replaced by nuclear. Nuclear family is considered as a direct outcome of social change. It generally is based on three things. They are the emotional attachment between spouses, maternal love, and a firm belief that the relationships between the family members are closer and affirmative than the rest of world (Elkind 1992).

Theoretical Background

Theories related to social change and family system are presented in the following paragraphs. These are: The Functionalist Theory, The Conflict Theory, Theory of Modernity and Modernization.

The Functionalist Theory

Functionalism is the oldest, and still the dominant, theoretical perception. This perception is built upon double weights: appliance of the scientific method to the objective world and use of a comparison between the individual being and society. Functionalist approach focuses on the international level issues disturbing income inequality. Particularly, functionalists are concerned in employment opportunities and the pay gap between individuals (Davis, 1945).

The functionalist theory highlights the basic functions of the society. It, therefore, has asserted that these basic functions are limited and universal and out of them a variety of structures have arisen to carry out these basic functions. According to this perspective "social change involves structural change and not a change in the basic functions of social systems (Ronald, 1976: 21)".

The most influential American structural functionalist theorist is Talcum Parsons. He has analyzed the processes and structures that contribute to the stability of social system. He outlined basic four functions that are necessary and need to be filled for the subsistence of any social and non-social system. The first function is that system must adapt to its social environment. The second function is to attain a goal that is to mobilize and allocate the social roles and scarce resources in order to satisfy individual and collective needs. The third one is integration imperative that harmonizes the various structures and their associated activities, norms, goals, and values. The last function is to reduce tension and the institutions that are charged to fulfill this function are family, school and other social control agents. …

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