Abstract—The present paper attempts to lay the foundations of a cultural approach for the study of social change, in which change is understood as a result of a conflict of self-interpretations between different groups or spheres in a society. This cultural approach seems to be particularly useful in explaining the emergence of social movements, which always presuppose a clash of views, say, between the aspirations of the people and the official doctrine of the state, just to mention the most typical case. The concepts and methodological principles offered here owe a great debt to the work of the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor – although he never clearly spelled out a meta-theory on change. The paper will then try to show in what would consist such a Taylorian theory of social change, and this we do not only by reconstructing Taylor’s views on this issue, but also through a critical examination of range of key assumptions found both in mainstream social science and, more specifically, in existing theories of social change.
Index Terms—Cultural identities, identity crisis, self-interpretation, social change, social imaginary, social movements, Charles Taylor
D. Montero is with the University of Jena, Germany. He is a Doctoral Fellow at the Jena Graduate School “Human Behavior in Social and Economic Change” (GSBC), Carl-Zeiss-Straße 3, 07743 Jena, Germany. Tel. +49 3641 930435, Fax +49 3641 943202, email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cite: Darío Montero, "Some Elements of a Cultural Theory of Social Change," International Journal of Social Science and Humanity vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 52-58, 2012.