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Social and Cultural Change

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Nature is always changeable so change is a universal fact. Everything in the world changes with the time. For example evolution of the earth, evolution of bio-physical structure, evolution of living species, climatic and seasonal change, change in human culture and civilization and so on.

Characteristics of Social and Cultural Change

  • Social and cultural change is universal phenomena.
  • It is a regular process.
  • Prediction of social and cultural change is not possible.
  • The changes show chain effect in all aspects of society.
  • Both can be a planned or unplanned.
  • Speed and direction of social and cultural change are not uniform as well as uncontrollable in nature.
  • Social and cultural change brings change in whole lifestyle and behavior of the stakeholders.

Gradual and planned types of social and cultural change in Nepal

The process of social and cultural change evolves through some processes such as natural evolution, planning change, and change after evolution in society. The first is the natural process through which changes occur in various aspects of society and culture naturally. In this process, there are phenomenal changes in all aspects of the planet earth such as physical, biological, social, cultural, etc.

On the other side, there is a planned type of social and cultural change in which various specific attempts are made by people in the field of social structure, family, marriage and kinship system, material and non- material culture aspects, tools and technologies, knowledge and skills, education and economy, politics and many more and promoting culture and civilization. There is remarkable influence and change in society when the plan gets success.

Similarly, evolution is another type of social and cultural change. A society rebirth after evolution. All the social, economic, political and cultural aspects are changed dramatically after evolution. It happens mostly within the short period of time if the revolution gets success.

Processes of social and cultural change in Nepal


When people apply modern tools and technology as a result there social and cultural fabric gets changed that is modernization. All the modern tools and technology are brought from the west. So, modernization and westernization are taken as similar process. As a result, it develops the aspects of organization and urbanism.


It is the process of following the cultural attributes of higher status groups by the lower status groups by avoiding their traditional and cultural identity. For example caste, custom, religion, occupation, dialect and so on. It prefers the status- quo and accepts the existence of traditional Hindu system in all social phenomena. It does not express any view on non-Hindu culture. So it is based on a narrow premise.


In the process of urbanization infrastructure of development are setup along with the settlement of the certain population in the urban areas. In simple language urban area is the center of every human necessity. Obviously, urbanization is a process of developing rural areas into an urban area where people can enjoy almost all modern facilities.


The term Hinduization refers to the process in which Hindu faith, values , practice influence the faith and practices of the non-Hindu population or cultural group. The process of Hinduization is related to the extension of Hindu norms and values, religious and cultural practices, rites and rituals etc to other non-Hindu groups. Hence, Hinduization is a process through which many tribal groups or other groups of people follow the Hindu religion, ritual practices, gods and goddesses due to the close contact with the Hindus followers.

Role of media and communication for social and cultural change in Nepal

The media plays a very significant role for any sorts of social and the cultural canges . They act for transforming people's mindset, the tough face job they ever had. Before being able to carry out this transformation job the media themselves must change their mindset. However, media have the potential to supply ample input and insight to political forces. The mass media have a role in educating the people on socio-cultural issues. As the media have the potential to mentally prepare people for progressive action and participation this role cannot be undermined.

Similarly, media technologies are also other factors behind socio-cultural changes. Import and export of cultures are possible through the mass media. Especially in this cyber age marked by accelerating globalization, the development of interdependent relations is inevitable. There is a give and take process in socio-cultural issues.

Factors of social and cultural change in Nepal
  • Economic factor

The mode of change in a subsistence economy and economic pattern may bring a change in the existing socio and cultural pattern. For e.g the primitive hunting and gathering culture has been transformed into modern industrial civilization due to process in the economic system of the ever existence society. In all these social systems there are obvious changes in the socio-cultural structure of the society. There is a deep relation between economic structure and social and cultural change. When the economic status of the society is changed there will be a change in the every aspect of life. The economic factors have played an important role for economic progress of a society. The economic development of a society also give rise to the technological and industrial development of the society.

  • Technological factor

Technology is the process of using knowledge for the practical purpose . In an attempt to satisfy human wants, fulfill his needs and to make his life more comfortable, man build civilization. Hence technology is a product of civilization. The modern age is often called the technological age. The technological development has given rise to industrialization, urbanization, development of transportation and communication, modernization, changes in the social institution and so forth. Technology and social change are intimately connected where rapid technological and social change goes hand in hand.

  • Educational factor

Education is one of the intervening variables in a phenomenon of social change. It can be understood as a factor of social change. The role of education as an agent of social change and development is widely recognized too. Education can initiate social change by bringing about change in the outlook and attitudes of man. It brings change in the pattern of social relationship and thereby it may cause socio-cultural changes. The changing purpose of education is to change man and his lifestyle. To change a man is to change society. For more, education has brought about phenomenal changes in every aspect of human’s life. It has widened our vision and removed our narrow idles, prejudices and misunderstandings.

  • Demographic factor

Demography refers to the human populations mainly in qualitative or numerical term. It establishes reliable estimates of total population numbers and compositions. It also analyses the rate of fertility, mortality, and migration as well as the interrelationship which exist between different variables such as age, sex, social class, ethnic origin, etc. The broad area of social demography concern in general with the relationship between population and social process and has linked both ecology and other aspects.

  • Cultural factor

Culture itself is one of the factor of social and cultural change as it is a dynamic process. The culture of a place or a group can be diffused, assimilated or acculturated by another group of people or society. Similarly, cultural lack, cultural revolution, cultural ideologies etc are the issues affecting the socio-cultural change of a place or a country. A culture that has been evolved in one place diffuses to other places through various processes. Each culture moves forward with modification and refinement either by external impacts or evolution within it.

Resistance to social and cultural change in Nepal

  • Political instability
  • Illiteracy
  • Weak economic conditions of people
  • Poor economy and technology
  • Vested interest of some so-called elites and socio-political leaders
  • Desires for stability
  • Generation gap
  • Fear of new experiment


Kharel, Durga, Elementary Sociology and Anthropology-XII

Sharma, Kamal Raj, Introduction to Sociology and anthropology in Nepal-XII, Sunrise Prakasan Pvt., Ltd., Kathmandu

Pokharel, Ishwor, Sociology-XII, Ekta Books and Distributors, Kathmandu

  1. The process of social and cultural change occurs through natural planning and revolution.
  2. Modernization discourages the preservation of traditionally and culturally valued aspects of developing states.
  3. Sanskritization has neglected the typical cultural, characters of various ethnic groups and their preservation.
  4. Hinduization allows supremacy of some high caste, Hindus over the rest.
  5. Urbanization is the process of developing rural areas into urban areas where people can enjoy almost all modern facilities.



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