Social Transformation

One definition of Social transformation is the process by which an individual alters the socially ascribed social status of their parents into a socially achieved status for themselves. However another definition refers to large scale social change as in cultural reforms or transformations. The first occurs with the individual, the second with the social system.

The Individual

This is different from social reproduction and social mobility because instead of looking at the intergenerational mobility or the measure of the changes in social status which occur from the parents' to the children's generation, social transformation focuses on how an individual can alter the class culture to which they feel aligned. One socially transforms in three steps: by associational embracement, associational distancing, and the distinct presentation of self.

Social transformation is considered an interpersonal negotiation because it requires that the individual have their social position be validated by others for transformation. It is a reciprocal relationship in which people have to be embraced and correctly identified with the cultural expectations of their particular class membership. This is the only way that persons can move from their own ascribed status to a new achieved status.

The Social System

Social transformation in this context requires a shift in collective consciousness of a society - local, state, national or global - so that reality is refined by consensus. This often happens by external stimulus and sometimes intentionally. Scientific discoveries have triggered many social transformations throughout our history as have religious and royal edicts.

Cities which have reinvented themselves serve of examples of conscious transformations of a social type resulting in reinvigorated and revitalized populations, economic prosperity and restored civic pride. Some countries have achieved these intentional social transformations, one such example being South Africa in 1994 when it ended apartheid.

Social transformations are such when they sustain over time where attitudes and values are held in a completely new context (or paradigm) based upon different assumptions and beliefs.

Read more about Social TransformationAscribed Status Versus Achieved Status, Other Forms of Class Identification, Class Culture and Cultural Capital, Associational Embracement, Associational Distancing, Passing and The Presentation of Self, Social Transformation and Class-passing in Popular Culture

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