Sociology is the science or study of social behavior, including its origin, development, organization and institutions. Sociologists carry out research that may be applicable directly to social welfare and policy development or that relates to theoretical understandings of social behavior.
Social change refers to a change or alteration in social behavior, relationships and institutions. It may also include changes in social/cultural symbols, rules of behavior or value systems, etc. Sociologists are divided over certain aspects of social change, while united over others. For example, it is widely accepted that social change is inevitable (over time), that the rate of change is variable and this non-uniformity leads to difficulty in its prediction. How this change takes place is where the debate lies. Among the various reasons linked to social change, technological changes, economic conditions, and climate change, are dominant.
Among the contemporary sociologists, the deterministic theory of social change is widely accepted. According to this theory, the social change is a result of certain forces or mechanisms, social or natural or a combination. Examples include economic changes (say industrial revolution or changes in production levels), changes in demography, political changes, climate change, etc. It is also accepted that often consciousness is driven by social change, not the other way around. In simpler terms, change can not be brought about by conscious choice alone, but rather by a combination of a number of other factors. Social relationships are prime examples of this. We may not make a decision to like our neighboring countries, but a shift in weather patterns or political systems may mean we have to reconsider our social relations.