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Social Process

Social process is to be found in the repetitive patterns of events. Two factors are inherent in the concept of social process -continuity and change. The term is equated to dynamics. The idea of change involves one into the sequence of events taking place over a period of time when correlated and understood in logical perspective of causal connections and linkages. History is a chronological statement of events that upset the systems. Process happens all the time, but history happens all the time from time to time. History is record of events that intensify change in the cultural and social process. The concept of social evolution deals not in events but in forms and in processes even though these forms and processes are momentarily manifest in the form of events. Each institution has a number of possibilities of change depending upon its social and non-social environment and on the weaknesses and strengthens inherent in itself. The actuality of change is a historical event that can be seen as a realization of one of these alternative possibilities. The very realization creates a new process.


The fulfilment of objectives in the everyday social life involves certain actions, patterns and procedures having repetitive character. Sociologists have categorized them into three distinct social processes as cooperation, competition and conflict. While in every society all these processes are operative at any given point of time, in the long run it is the preponderance of one over the other that speaks of the difference between one society and the other. Even this difference is subject to certain cultural factors pointed out by the psychological school of cultural anthropologists. While cooperation as a social process is the hallmark of modern social systems. Conflict as a social process of resolving social problems is by no means absent though in some societies it is manifested as a preponderant social process. 


The inter relatedness of the concept of social process with that of history and evolution makes it a core concept in any study of social-cultural change. A process has to be conceptualized as a continuity over time. It acquires identity in terms of repetitive features involved in the process of change. Raymond Firth has emphasized the element of choices and decision making in conceptualization of social change. Choices and decisions are sometimes repeated over time under the pressure of cultural factors leading to the emergence of a process.



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