What are the consequences of social transformation?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The consequences of social transformation can be profound in most regions of the world.  In the United States, the political and social turbulence of the 1960s and early 1970s witnessed a younger generation asserting itself more vigorously -- in many instances, violently -- than ever before, and in a way that had long-term political and cultural consequences for how the country is governed and for how the American family sees itself and how its members interact.

A link below to an essay on the transformative aspects of the proliferation of computers throughout society presents an interesting case of the effects of social transformation.  Human interaction has been affected by the introduction of computers into every facet of life, including cell phones and social networking.

Around the world, the effects of social transformations can be even more consequential.  China presents a classic case of the psychological ramifications of major social transformations.  An ancient culture with thousands of years of traditions, including how individuals view themselves within the broader society and how families interact, the social transformations that accompanied Deng Xioping's post-Mao modernizations programs, starting in the early 1980s, presented formidable psychological challenges for older generations.  One of the most visible manifestations of the psychological effects of the social transformation underway in China was the creation of a "cult" called Falun Gong, or "Dharma Wheel."  Founded by Li Hongzhi, Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that utilizes meditation and exercises together with indoctrination into a philosophy of compassion, forbearance, and truthfulness.  

Falun Gong's rise -- it grew to include hundreds of thousands of members, including prominent political and military officials -- was seen as a political challenge to Chinese Communist Party control, with a subsequent governmental crackdown involving the torture and imprisonment of thousands of followers.  Falun Gong is believed to have been founded, and to have prospered and grown, as a result of the psychological difficulties many Chinese were experiencing under the newer, more open, and less repressive atmosphere that accompanied Deng's modernization policies.  In other words, an ancient, and historically repressive society was suddenly facing newfound economic and social freedoms, and many had trouble adjusting.

Similarly, the radical social transformation that occurred, and continues, in South Africa following the abolition of apartheid has seen that country undergo a protracted and difficult period of adjustment, with numerous social problems resulting, especially in the area of crime.  As the social order that prevailed was replaced with a less repressive system that wasn't prepared to govern -- due to the previous white-led government's repression of the country's black population --  the transformative ramifications have been enormous for all South Africans.