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Lesson Plan: Theories of Social Change

by Margaret Andersen, University of Delaware


I. Learning Objective(s)

Identifying major sources of cultural dissemination.

Study the impact of globalization on local communities. 

II. Rationale for Objectives

Use sociological theory to understand social change.

III. Materials/Time

Materials: No special materials are needed.

Time: One hour.

IV. Procedures


        (1) Introduction

Organize students in groups and ask them to discuss whether globalization is creating a single, homogenous world culture or bringing more cultural diversity to different parts of the world.

        (2) Activity

They should identify the process by which each is happening (i.e., technological change, corporate control of culture, globalization, etc.).

        (3) Discussion

1. Ask them how culture is disseminated and how this is affected by increasing globalization. What evidence of this do they see in their own lives.

2. Following this discussion ask them how the different theories of social change explain what they have observed.

V. Evaluation/Assignment

Write a paper comparing and contrasting how the different sociological theories would interpret the impact of global change on different societies.

VI. Supplementary Materials


Barber, Benjamin R. 1995. Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Transforming

the World. New York: Times Books.


Barber analyzes how religious fundamentalist movements clash with the values of modernism. His book is not only an excellent discussion of social change, but it gives students an important background to conflicts involving fundamentalist Islam and western societies.