SOCIAL CHANGE AND LAW

The abstract idea of ” social change” evinces dimension of some of the characteristics of a group of people. If any action which affects a group of people who shared values or characteristics can also be said as ”social change.”

Generally, the change in existing pattern of social life is known as ” Social Change”. Society and social conditions never remain static. Generally, social change is to be understood as change in social structure. According to Gainsberg, social change is change in social structure e.g the size of a society, the composition or balance or its part or the type of its organisation. According to Jones, ”social change devotes variation in, or modification of , any aspect of social process,social patterns, social interaction or social organisation.” Davis observed that social change is large number of persons are engaging in activities that differ from those which their immediate fore-fathers engaged in some time before. According to Anderson and Parker, social change involved alteration and structure or functioning of forms or processes themselves.

Social change means there is must change in social structure. Social structure which can be understood as nature, social behavior, social relations, social organizations, community of people. Social change is change in the social order. According to Charles L. Harper, ””significant alteration of social structure and cultural patterns through time.”

In this context, I deem it is apt to remember, the observation of Dennis R. Fox:
”Well-meaning efforts by liberal psychologists to reform the law in keeping with values such as dignity, privacy, justice, and equality are often misguided because law exists to serve the status quo. Law inhibits the systemic, radical social change necessary for psychological and societal well-being. It does so through coercive power, substantive assumptions about human nature, the ideology of law’s legitimacy, a preoccupation with procedure rather than substance, a focus on rational technicality rather than equity, and encouragement for limited, self-defeating legal solutions. Psycho legal scholars should arouse public dissatisfaction with law and assist social movements seeking to overcome legal impediments to social change.”

The theories of Social Change:
1. Linear theory of social change
2. Cyclic theory of social change.

Elements of Social Change:
The word ”social change” is used in history,politics, economics,and sociology. Social change is also an issue in social work, political science, history,sociology, anthropology, and in many social sciences. Social change is being created by revolution, protest,politics, communities, and by direct action. Elements of social change can be separated as follows.
1. Physical or geographical
2. Biological
3. Economic
4. Cultural
5. Psychological
Anthony Giddens observed social change as infra:
Sociology was born of the transformations that wrenched the industrializing social order of the West away from the ways of life characteristic of preceding societies. The world that was created by these changes is the primary object of concern of sociological analysis. The pace of social change has continued to accelerate, and it is possible that we stand on the threshold of transitions as significant as those that occurred in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Shackman, Liu, and Wang, observed two sources of social change. One is ” systematic” and another is ”non-systematic”. Technological innovation, climate change and changes forced by other countries which come under purview of non-systematic source of social change. Generally, changes to society occur through combination of systematic as well as non-systematic processes. Eisenstadt (1973) argued that modernization required a basic level of free resources and the development of standardized and predictable institutions, such as a stable but flexible market system and political process. An additional requirement was that governing institutions be flexible enough to adapt to the changes that come up.

· The classic Hegelian dialectic model of change is based on the interaction of opposing forces. Starting from a point of momentary stasis, Thesis countered by Antithesis first yields conflict but subsequently results in a new Synthesis.

· Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions argued with respect to the Copernican Revolution that people are unlikely to jettison an unworkable paradigm, despite many indications that the paradigm is not functioning properly, until a better paradigm can be presented.

· The Greek philosopher Heraclitus used the metaphor of a river to speak of change thus, “On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow” . What Heraclitus seems to be suggesting here, later interpretations notwithstanding, is that, in order for the river to remain the river, change must constantly be taking place. Thus one may think of the Heraclitan model as parallel to that of a living organism, which, in order to remain alive, must constantly be changing.

· Daoist: The Chinese philosophical work Dao De Jing, I.8 and II.78 uses the metaphor of water as the ideal agent of change. Water, although soft and yielding, will eventually wear away stone. Change in this model is to be natural, harmonious and steady, albeit imperceptible.

Law as a means of social control:
Two fold objectives of law to serve is, firstly, to keep up stability and afford orderly life in the society. Secondly, to persuade social change by changing itself according to the needs of the changing society. Thus , law is an important agency of social control. The society supervenes the law for better most socialization. Rule of law in any constitution is the bedrock for democracy. By putting fear in the minds of public, the law is a helpful agency for social control. Law regulates the behavior of the people in society. Law, by using force, makes the people conscious about their duties and obligations. Law saves precious and good concepts of the society. The exploitation of the people is curbed through law. The constitution of India, criminal , civil laws and other statutes are designed to surmount this goal.

The functionalist slant:
According to Talcott Parsons, one of the leaders of this school, change stems from other social systems (through, for instance, cultural influence, as in the case of English education in the former colonies of the British Empire) and tensions and strains within the system itself, especially those related to economic activities. Michael Haralambos, holds that the economy is solely responsible for resolving societal problems, with industrialism playing an especially crucial role. Functionalists also trust that cultural norms and values unite society, which is, to a great extent, resistant to change, and thus make certain that change in social structure is likely to be slow if it conflicts with not easily modified cultural, religious or political principles. According to Harper, short-term changes, as in family developmental stages, may be obvious and easy to comprehend, but they may not actually constitute changes at all in the long run .

Law as an instrument of social change:
To understand the social change through law and legal system, it is pertinent to understand that the working of legal system in the light of political,social,economic perspectives which can be seen in the constitution of India. Law is a mirror to know how people relate to one another , their values,what they consider worth preserving in life, and how they define their own security.

Law and Public opinion:

The law , which is molded through public opinion is thus the result of state action in accordance with the public opinion. Here it is necessary to remember that when Rajiv Gandhi government waned to bring defamation bill, because of the opposition to the bill in the public, the government dropped the idea. The public opinion is the reflection of the Peoples will. Public opinion becomes law.

Social change and the constitution of India:
Preamble is a key to open the statute and consists of source and objectives of the statute. Literally preamble means preliminary statement in writing or in speech or an introductory part of the statute. The word ”Pre ” means ”before”. ” Amble” means ”walk”. Thus , it is known the word ” preamble” means ”before walk”.

The preamble declaration provides that we the people of India having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign,socialist,secular,democratic republic and Justice: Social, economic and political Liberty of thought, expression , belief, faith and worship. Equality of status and of opportunity and to promote among them all. Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.

The Supreme Court of India in Beru Bari’s case,1969 observed that preamble is not part of the constitution and hence the parliament has no power to amend the preamble. Later, in Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala,1973 the Court held that there is no wrong in treating preamble as part of constitution.

Conclusion:
A systems perspective must acknowledge that social problems are interconnected rather than isolated. People should be advocates for radical perspectives defensible on both psychological and political grounds, in keeping with values such as dignity, autonomy, equality, and justice.

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