Social change refers to the changes in interactions between individuals as well as the relationships that transform social and cultural institutions (Dunfey, 2017). It may occur over an extended period and most often than not has a long-lasting implication on the society. Instances of social changes include those spearheaded by social movements in civil rights, LBGTQ rights, as well as women rights movements. Social change impacts various aspects of the society including institutions, relationships, as well as cultural norms. However, regardless of the fact that change in the society is constant, individuals have the power to effect the changes and its outset is how they interact with each other.
Mobility is a concept that refers to the ability to move between different levels in the society freely. An example of this phenomenon is employment whereby an individual can shift from one employer to another based on his or her social and economic preferences. The concept can also refer to the shifting from one social status to another vertically; that is, either a higher rank or a lower one (Samiksha, 2018). Social mobility can also be horizontal, for instance, when an individual changes occupations but retains the same social status. Achieving a particular social status depends on factors such as social connections, effort, wealth, and education. The concept of social mobility is prominent in societies organized in social classes rather than castes.
Social marginalization or exclusion is the relegation of persons to the edge of society while at the same according them lesser importance. Marginalization pushes the unfortunate in the society to the edge economically, culturally and socially thus denying them equal access to resources and avenues that improve production and bolster human potential for optimal capacity utilization. Marginalized groups are often subjected to poverty, employment insecurity, wage discrimination, low wages and misery. To this end, the upward social mobility is inhibited. As the Sociology Guide (2018) reports, marginalization leads the victim groups to be subject to subordination and dependence on the politically and economically dominant groups in the society. The fact that social change is a phenomenon influenced by the people means that individuals have the power to steer their social destiny. This is demonstrated by Johnson who elaborates the emancipation from oppression to liberty, a destination that the individuals jointly shaped and now celebrate. It is worth pointing out that the implications of social change are long-lasting and that it is not an easy task. In fact, casualties are always a common characteristic of the concept. Johnson exemplifies this when he states that in achieving the liberty that they celebrate in the song, the road was not easy and several individuals had been slaughtered.
In the clamor for social change, social mobility is always the aim, especially the vertical type where individuals strive to move from a lower to a higher social level. With this knowledge, those organizing for a social change need to have a clear direction and objective that is beneficial to all. As illustrated by Johnson in the song, despite the fact that the people had achieved liberty, the overall target which was to attain freedom and brotherhood for all people by reclaiming their land was not yet met.
Marginalization inhibits social mobility and catalyzes a social change in the society. Indeed, if individuals are continuously exposed to oppression, they could undertake a social change to enable social mobility and gain new and comfortable statuses. In other words, social change arises from social marginalization. Deducing from the song by Johnson, the people in the society were under oppression and their land had been grabbed. They, therefore, initiated social change to reclaim their land and obtain freedom and liberty from their oppressors. Prior to organizing social change, it is essential to base it on a deleterious aspect of the society that needs to be changed. Just as it is necessary to have an objective for the change, it is also vital to have an underlying reason warranting the change. This is evident from the historical movements such as the women’s rights movements that freed women from the absolute power shackles of men thereby giving them equal rights regarding employment and autonomy from men.
- Dunfey, T.S. (2017). What is Social Change and Why Should We Care? Retrieved from https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/news-and-events/2017/11/what-is-social-change
- Johnson, J.W. n.d. Song.
- Samiksha, S. (2018). Social Mobility: The Meaning, Types, and Factors Responsible for Social Mobility. Your Article Library. Retrieved from http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/sociology/social-mobility-the-meaning-types-and-factors-responsible-for-social-mobility/8539
- Sociology Guide. (2018). Marginalization and role of civil society. Retrieved from http://www.sociologyguide.com/civil-society/marginalization.php