Social Change with Respect to Culture and Original Nature

By William Fielding Ogburn | Go to book overview

4
REASONS FOR CULTURAL LAG

Up to this point in the consideration of the hypothesis, there has been little attempt to generalize. A number of particular cultural situations have been partially described, and it is clear that there are many cases where material conditions have changed and where the culture that was adjusted to the old material conditions has lagged appreciably behind. More and more such cases might be collected but at the cost of considerable time for the reader. Rather than an enumeration of more cases, it is desirable to consider the causes of such lags to see if the causes are sufficiently general to give an indication of how widespread these cultural lags are. Such a consideration of causes may give as good an idea of how extensive the phenomenon may be as does the more tedious method of considering individual cases.

A general inquiry into causes can best be approached by citing a number of specific causes. It would be possible here to make a thoroughgoing analysis of causes in a single instance, but that would hardly give us the scope of causes that is desired. These causes cited will be listed without any particular significance as to sequence.

Scarcity of invention in the adaptive culture. Sometimes, the adaptation of a culture to changed material conditions necessitates what might be called an invention in the adaptive culture. Lack of change in governmental forms, for instance,

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