Contemporary Society - Social Tension and Opposition To Change

Social Tension and Opposition To Change

New international flows have diminished the role of traditional political institutions—sometimes with negative consequences for social stability. In many societies, stability (or slow evolution) has been substituted by unstoppable and irreversible transformations. As a result, individuals and communities perceive a high degree of insecurity—insecurity that touches every aspect of their lives. Growing masses of people feel threatened by the changes that affect their material (work, income, house), psychological (personal relationships), and cultural life (with the need to continuously update knowledge and professional skills) "Digital divide"). The social improvement of the masses—resulting from increasing literacy and income, universal means of communication and a new social role of women—has eroded the traditional role of the elites and have weakened the traditional regulatory role of the state. As the speed of social and cultural evolution sweeps away old life habits, religious beliefs, ancestral moral convictions and radicated political opinions, the anxiety towards a future that is mutating and unknown causes a cultural opposition that is at the root of fundamentalism. Opposition against new life conditions is justified also by increasing economic inequality: "the gap between the wealth of the North and that of the South of the world has increased by a multiple of five since the beginning of the 20th century" ((French) Daniel Cohen, "Trois leçons sur la société postindustrielle").

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