Home » Social Pathology » Causes of Social Disorganization

Causes of Social Disorganization

Elliott and Merrill has ascribed the four main causes for the disorganization-

  • The social processes under the three main heads-cultural, political and economic
  • Cultural lag
  • Conflicting attitudes and values
  • Social crises
Sorokin is of the opinion that disorganization is mainly due to cultural degeneration of values in various spheres such as art, science, philosophy, religion, law and politics. In brief change from the idealistic and ideational culture to sensate culture is the main cause of social disorganization.

According to Karl Mannheim unplanned capitalism and policy of laissez faire are responsible for social disintegration in the present age which Bertrand Russell observes that the lack of adjustment in institutions based on authority in the past is responsible for the present social disorganization.

G.R Madan has listed a few factors responsible for disorganization.

  • Psychological factors-The cause of social disorganization is to be found in the human psychology itself. Psychological factors contribute to disorganization in two ways:-
      Failure to maintain proper communication among fellow beings.
      Failure to modify or change one's attitudes in tune with demands of time.
  • Cultural lag- Cultural lag the concept used by W.E.Ogburn refers to the imbalance in the rate and speed of change between the material cultural and non-material culture. Objects of material culture such as mode of housing, means of transport and communication, types of dresses, patterns of ornaments, technical and mechanical devices, instruments change very quickly. But ideas, beliefs, attitudes, taste, philosophies, habits, ideologies, instiutional structures and such other aspects of non-material culture change slowly and gradually. Hence a gap or a lag arises between the material and non-material culture. This lag referred to as cultural lag invites the process of disorganization to set in.
  • Physical or geographic factors-The maladjustment of man and his culture to certain extraordinary physical or geographic conditions or situations may cause disorganization in society. This is especially true in the case of natural calamities such as storms, cyclones, hurricanes, famines, floods, epidemics etc which upset the social balance and bring in social disorganization.
  • Biological factors-Population explosion or extreme scarcity of population the instances of racial intermixture, defective hereditary traits and such other biological factors may also cause disorganizing effects upon society.
  • Ecological factor-Social disorganization is related to environment in terms of regions and neighborhoods.
  • Social problems leading to social disorganization-Social problems and forces such as a revolution, social upheaval, a class struggle, a financial or economic crisis, a war between nations, mental illness, and political corruption threaten the welfare of the society.
  • Degeneration of values-Social values is often regarded as the sustaining forces of society.They contribute to the strength and stability of social order. But due to rapid social change new values come up and some of the old values decline. At the same time people are not in a position to reject the old completely and accept the new altogether. Hence conflict between the old and the new is the inevitable result of which leads to the social disorganization.
  • Disintegration and confusion of roles-Members of society are expected to perform certain definite roles in accordance with their placements in society. Due to profound social changes these expectations also undergo change. Consequently people are confused with regard to their new roles.
  • Political subservience-Political subordination of a country will result in social disorganization. The subordinate country is not permitted to develop its economy and institutions independently and is made as a means to serve the interest of the dominant country.
  • Conflict of goals and means-Conflict of goals and means for achieving them may also cause disorganization. Most of the individuals share the dominant goals of the society and act accordingly. But lacking the means for achieving the goals by legitimate means some may resort to illegitimate and illegal means resulting in vice, crime and other expression of social disorganization.
  • Decline of social control-The declining control of religion, morals, customs, traditions and other institutions on the behavior of men has also enhanced the process of disorganization. There is an increase in interpersonal conflicts, crimes, tensions, divorce, delinquency, mental derangement etc.According to Thomas and Znaniecki the very decrease of the influence of existing rule of behavior upon the individual members of the group itself indicates social disorganization.
  • Extreme divisions of labor-According to Durkheim social disorganization is often brought about by extreme division of labour.In normal course according to him division of labor leads to social solidarity may become disturbed.
  • Disruptive social change-Society undergoes change mainly due to the operation of physical, biological, technological and cultural factors. Sudden and radical social changes may disrupt the stability and the organization of the society. The result is social disorganization.
Current Affairs Magazine