Thursday, April 9, 2009

Social Evolutionism ( A brief Over view )

Social evolutionism describes how culture and societies developed over time. It explains the relationship among technology, social culture and social values of the society. It provides the basis for understanding how culture changed with time.In the early years the prevailing view was that culture evolves in a uniform progressive manner and most societies pass through same stages of evolution. Subsequently, it was proposed that evolutionary scheme consist of three stages: savagery, barbarism and civilization. This idea became more popular in 19th century.It was believed that evolutionary scheme ranges from primitive to civilized societies which, in other words, means that some societies were degenerated. This belief changes in the 19th century when theorists like Tylor and Morgan proposed that all societies pass through the same stages of evolution at an uneven rate. They believed that simpler class of societies resembled the ancient societies, while the advanced societies contained traces which confirmed that they went through the same stages of evolution which the simpler societies were going through.The stages of development were later distinguished in terms of technological advancement. Savagery was marked by discovery of fire, barbarism by discovery of iron and irrigated agriculture and civilization by phonetic alphabet. Different theorists were focused in different ideas and studies, as in family units, it was believed that family units became smaller with the development of societies. All these theories were uni lineal as all of them argued that all the societies pass through same stages of evolution. Thus, primitive society, which was previously considered as degenerated group, was later believed to be representative of the earlier stages of the advanced society.This idea lost its influence in the twentieth century after the predominance of the universalism.

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