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Social Change and Modernity
Edited By Hans Haferkamp and Neil J. Smelser

© 1992 The Regents of the University of California

Hans Haferkamp and Neil J. Smelser
Haferkamp is grateful to Angelika Schade for her fruitful comments and her helpful assistance in editing this volume and to Geoff Hunter for translating the first German version of parts of the Introduction; Smelser has profited from the research assistance and critical analyses given by Joppke.

1. Social Change and Modernity
Those who organized the conference on which this volume is based—including the editors— decided to use the terms "social change" and "modernity" as the organizing concepts for this project. Because these terms enjoy wide usage in contemporary sociology and are general and inclusive, they seem preferable to more specific terms such as "evolution" "progress," "differentiation," or even "development," many of which evoke more specific mechanisms, processes, and directions of change. Likewise, we have excluded historically specific terms such as "late capitalism" and "industrial society" even though these concepts figure prominently in many of the contributions to this volume. The conference strategy called for a general statement of a metaframework for the study of social change within which a variety of more specific theories could be identified.

2. Theories of Social Change
Change is such an evident feature of social reality that any social-scientific theory, whatever its conceptual starting point, must sooner or later address it. At the same time it is essential to note that the ways social change has been identified have varied greatly in the history of thought. Furthermore, conceptions of change appear to have mirrored the historical ―2― realities of different epochs in large degree. In his essay...

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