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SOC111 Introduction to Sociology (Kilgus/Bjorkman): Home

Resources for Social Change research

Keywords for searching

When searching for your topic, use one of these phrases and use the quotation marks to indicate that you are searching for these words in this exact order:

"social change"

"social movement"

Connect one of the phrases above with a word or phrase that describes your field of study (for example: medicine or nursing)

Social Change Definition


Social change refers to any significant alteration over time in behavior patterns and cultural values and norms. By “significant” alteration, sociologists mean changes yielding profound social consequences. Examples of significant social changes having long‐term effects include the industrial revolution, the abolition of slavery, and the feminist movement. 

Today's sociologists readily acknowledge the vital role that social movements play in inspiring discontented members of a society to bring about social change. Efforts to understand the nature of long‐term social change, including looking for patterns and causes, has led sociologists to propose the evolutionary, functionalist, and conflict theories of change. All theories of social change also admit the likelihood of resistance to change, especially when people with vested interests feel unsettled and threatened by potential changes.

Recommended Databases

Subject Guide

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Nicole Warner, PhD
Madigan Library
LIB 139
570-320-2400 ext. 7840