Cultural Lag - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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Cultural Lag

The U.S. sociologist William F. Ogburn (1886–1959) developed the concept of cultural lag, which occurs when unequal rates or degrees of change between interdependent parts of culture leads to "maladjustment" (1922). According to Ogburn, as new inventions are introduced into society, a maladjustment occurs and a period of adjustment is required. Most often these inventions are technological in nature, and are part of what he termed "material culture." However, Ogburn noted that "non-material culture" can also drive change. For example, he cites India in the early years of Buddhism as a case where religion was driving change in other areas of culture (1964).

Ogburn's classic description of technologically-driven cultural lag was the period required for society to adapt to the speed of the automobile (1964). It took some time for the social institutions and customs of road building to adapt to the ability of new cars to travel...

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This section contains 1,097 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Cultural Lag Encyclopedia Article
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Cultural Lag from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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