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The five theories of social change are as follows: 1. Evolutionary Theory 2. Cyclical Theory 3. Economic (Mandan) Theory of Social Change 4. Conflict Theory 5. Technological Theory.
A variety of reasons have been offered throughout history to explain why social change occurs. The problem of explaining social change was central to nineteenth century sociology. Many earlier theories of society that claimed to be scientific were in fact theories of change. They sought to explain the present in terms of the past. Auguste Comte, the French sociologist, who coined the term ‘sociology’ described society as starting from the ‘logical’ stage, passing through a ‘metaphysical’ stage and finally reaching a ‘positivistic’ stage.
Many different theories were propounded to define and explain social change. Broadly, theories of nineteenth century may be divided into theories of social evolution (Saint-Simon, Comte, Spencer, Durkheim etc.) and theories of social revolution (Marx).
Among the general theoretical explanations offered for under­standing social change are geographical, biological, economic and cultural. All these we have discussed in the previous section.
Theories of social change can be divided into two groups:
(1) Theories relating to the direction of social change:
Various types of evolutionary theories, and cyclical theory.
(2) Theories relating to causation of change:
(a) Those explaining change in terms of endogamous factors or processes; and
(b) Those emphasising exogamous factors such as economic, cultural or historical.
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