Evaluate the importance of changes



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The city is a site for social change because of the interactions between people, groups and social institutions. Although social changes in the city can be unpredictable it can still be hybrid for more opportunities because of interactions with other people in the city. Simmel argues because of the growth of cities it has an impact on people’s attitudes and how they behave and the interaction that takes place between individuals. Space and time also changed with these macro changes, it affected the way people spent their time and where they spent it.

Cities were built to manage how people lived to fit them all in a small space; it is usually split up into town, country and where the people predominantly dwell. Time was divided into working time and home or leisure. With the transformation in communication and technologies brought with it changes in disclosing intimacy and people’s personal relationships. Other social transformations such as the disclosure of the private lives of celebrities in media have seen transformations in the way people discuss their personal lives in the public arena.

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TV chat shows such as Jerry Springer and Oprah Winfrey display the emotions of people in reality, these shows blur the boundaries between public and private, boundaries that are not fixed in time or space, although they represent social changes, they are expressed in the forms of intimate space, public and personal expression. There have also been micro changes in personal relationships people have their own beliefs and way of working their domestic living arrangements, childbearing and sexual relationships. Now in modern times there has been an increase in divorce, single parents, unmarried parents and same sex relationships.

Statistical data shown in the Reader (p199-200) shows the changes in people’s attitudes with regards to intimate relationships. The first bar graph showing fertility patterns in teenage women within Europe. The UK was the highest, doubling some of the other countries shown. This chart however can give misleading interpretations, as we are not told how many of the teenagers were married or co-habiting. The data was taken in 1995 which is nearly 10 years ago, things could well tell a different story if taken now.

The second chart is a scatter graph showing marriages and divorces in the UK between 1961-1997 per thousand people, it shows how marriages have considerably dropped with now under 200,000 marriages compared to the 1970’s when it was at its peak of nearly 400,000. Divorces continue to rise especially after the Divorce Reform Act in 1969. There has also been a rise in remarriages, this shows the change in people’s perception of marriage and how it is less important now that in the past. The final chart shows decrees awarded, by proven fact in England and Wales in 1997.

Adultery was the man’s most popular reason for divorce, whilst women divorced mainly for unreasonable behaviour. All the charts fail to show how ethnic minority families are involved in the data. It does show how there are gender differences and men still hold the power, although it does show that women have more choice in their lives and more control over their future. The introduction of new communication technologies offers the intimacy or a definition of disclosing intimacy by being able to talk about oneself to others without the face-to-face interaction.

Cyberspace is simulated space that allows individuals to communicate with each other as if they were near each other whether they were in the same street or the other side of the world. Cyberspace allows individuals to escape their own bodies that may be in a physical environment they would be unable to because race, age, sex and gender would not be hidden factors. Within cyberspace identity is fluid and constructed by oneself. Virtual reality allows people to create identities and they then form relationships that are based on these new identities, leaving their true own identities behind.

There are no social roles that one has to play or indeed one can create and play. Virtual reality allows freedom as well as anonymity. However the anonymity may sometimes cause ethical problems as described in Activity 3 of the Reader (p92). An account of an early example of computer communication where disclosure caused a stir when a lady who called herself Julie, a disabled older women developed relationships with other individuals over the internet, she offered them advice and was thoughtful and caring. Later Julie was discovered to be a male psychiatrist, who was middle aged and able bodied.

People were very annoyed, as they felt deceived. The world-web a massive macro social change offers a new medium for self-presentation with a considerably larger potential audience than traditional modes. Space and time are also prevalent in this social change as there are no boundaries between countries and what would have taken time to communicate is now happening in seconds. The mobile phone is also a technological macro change that changed society and individual relationships. Communicating with other people can be done anywhere at anytime.

Anthony Giddens talks about personal identity in Chapter 6 of the reader. He describes the ‘self’ as a well-constructed entity that is reconstructed according to the social relations at the time. Individuals go through role playing, playing whatever role is needed, a form of staging oneself and the ability to switch to different roles depending on the situation. Individuals in society have to view themselves in a certain way to enable them to manage their own lives; they regulate their own behaviour according to how society has constructed them to be.

Individuals are expected to take responsibility for their own actions; they are encouraged to regulate themselves. Social interaction with other individuals is what makes up the image and the conduct of the self. Personal identity in modern societies is an inescapable issue, we all sometimes in our lives question our identity, traditional roles provided well established codes and moral rules so one could identify with the norm of society. In more modern times individuals have to work on our own identities and set rules and provide roles for one self.

Personal identity on a macro level is usually caused at an institutional level affecting society on a whole as described by Foucault when he described his theory of the self. Individual personal identity has connections with the micro aspects of society, they are both interrelated and work in conjunction with one another. If we take intimate relationships as an example of the macro and micro levels of social change, the social institutions and the state did not over the last sixty years decide to change people’s attitudes on the role of relationships, or the increase rate of divorce and the acceptance of relationships of the same sex.

But these changes cannot come from an individual level either, people did not just decide to change their minds regarding relationships, there is a network of macro and micro forces involved to change society as it does. Social changes are brought about by changes in how individuals view life, which in turn can stem from social influences and observations. Law has also changed people’s conception of marriage, divorce and sexuality on a macro level, but only because there has been a demand for these changes from the level of people living everyday lives, which is on a micro level.

Although social movements such as women’s liberation on a macro level stems from everyday lives, which will obviously lead to not all people being satisfied with everyday life on a micro level. The example shows how macro and micro levels of social change interrelate with each other making them inseparable. In conclusion the social changes that prevail in society suggest that they change the individuals conception of the self.

These changes are important as they provide individuals with a framework to able to work with and enable them to recognise their own identity.

WORD COUNT: 2,400 WORDS Sharon Ebanks T274910X DD201 – TMA05 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Work section.

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