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9780131115569

Social Change (5th Edition)

Vago Professor Emeritus, Steven

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9780131115569: Social Change (5th Edition)

This book is about the age-old concern with social change, which is one of the most important, challenging, and exciting topics in sociology. It is concerned with the questions of how society changes, in what direction, and by what forces this change occurs. Using exciting real-life case examples, this book draws attention to the characteristics, processes, and perspectives of social change in the United States and cross-culturally. It covers theories, patterns, spheres, duration, reactions, the impact, the costs, the strategies, and the assessment of social change. Because of its current and timely material, this is an excellent reader for social workers, counselors, and sociologists.

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Vago provides a clear and timely analysis of the major theoretical perspectives, sources, processes, patterns and consequences of social change.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The fifth edition of this book is a response to the growing demands for timely and comprehensive sociological analysis of one of the most important concerns of our time, social change. This edition greatly increases contemporary multicultural and international components. At the same time, the book retains the classroom-tested, pedagogically sound features and the proven organizational framework of the previous editions and remains scholarly, comprehensive, informative, at times controversial, and quite readable. I have successfully resisted the temptation to make only cosmetic changes and verbiage alterations so common in revisions.

The book is designed to provide a clear, concise and up-to-date analysis of the major theoretical perspectives, sources, processes, patterns, and consequences of social change. It considers factors that stimulate or hinder the acceptance of change in a multi-cultural context, and it emphasizes unintended consequences and costs of both planned and unplanned change. It dwells on the ways of creating and on the methods of assessing change. Going beyond standard treatments of the topic, this text highlights those aspects of theory and research that have immediate practical implications for students of social change and uses contemporary examples, many of them flowing from the destruction of the World Trade Center towers by terrorists on September 11, 2001, that are relevant to the experience of the book's audience. Although the orientation of the book is sociological, I did not hesitate to incorporate theoretical and current empirical work from anthropology, social psychology, economics, political science, and history.

This edition reflects the many comments and recommendations made by students and colleagues both in the United States and abroad who have used the book in their classrooms and research. Whereas the basic organizational plan of the text remains unchanged, a substantial amount of new information has been included. Almost every page of this edition has been revised, not only for the purpose of updating, but also to increase its informative function, advance its analysis and minimize lapses into dry academic prose. New sections have been added, dated materials were dropped, and the list of suggested further readings at the end of each chapter has been expanded and updated. Key concepts and ideas have been developed in virtually every chapter. Most chapters have been reconsidered, refined and enlarged, or reduced when warranted, and all have been updated to reflect the latest theoretical and empirical advances and the most recent statistics, but not at the expense of the rich classical literature which provides the intellectual foundation for this book. Thus the reader will have a chance to learn what is new while being exposed to traditional sociological thinking. The novel features include discussions on terrorism, current developments in the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact nations, controversies on globalization, trends in higher education, the social impact of the proliferation of personal computers, and the steadily increasing economic and social costs of environmental alterations. A unique aspect of the book is its extensive use of cross-cultural illustrations.

Although any errors, inaccuracies, omissions, and commissions are accepted-and regretted-as my own responsibility, much of the book derives from many persons, mostly scholars at various universities in the United States and abroad and students, whose constructive criticism, help and cumulative wisdom I gratefully acknowledge. Special thanks go to my students in annual courses on social change over the past thirty-five years who patiently endured many earlier drafts of the various revisions and offered a variety of valuable suggestions. As with other books and scholarly endeavors, the Vago Foundation was once again instrumental in making this project feasible and went beyond all expectations in providing financial, research and secretarial assistance, inspiration and encouragement, and the requisite infrastructure for the preparation of this text.

To Pine Tree Composition, Inc., I extend my gratitude for their outstanding processing of the manuscript and for expertly preparing the index and to Karen Berry for superbly putting everything together.

Steven Vago
Bellingham, Washington
and Harrison Hot Springs,
British Columbia

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