Social Change and Development: A Critical Comparison of Classical with Contemporary Sociological Theory

Idris Guclu


This study re-examines the prevalent view of classical social theorist, Auguste Comte and contemporary social theorist,
Gerhard Lenski. Both social theorists are important figures in terms of social change and social development.
Therefore, within context, the notion of social change theories, its relations and cause of social change are discussed,
followed by an outline of the concepts of both theorists. Next, it deals with what the two perspectives share in common
and compares the differences between them. The study revealed that the two perspectives are fundamentally different
because Comte focused on the development of human thought while Lenski focused on social change and development
as a result of technology. In this respect, the determinants of social change and development emerge from within
society itself; the deepest and the most important disagreement lies between those who see the mental or spiritual
evolution of society as the main driving force of history and those who see the role of technology as its root cause.

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