Are we living in a time of particularly rapid social change? And how might we know?

Kavanagh, Donncha, Lightfoot, Geoff and Lilley, Simon (2021) Are we living in a time of particularly rapid social change? And how might we know? Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 169 . ISSN 0040-1625

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2021.120856

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Are we living in a time of particularly rapid social change? And how might we know?
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Abstract

n an editorial for this journal a decade ago, then-Editor-in-Chief Fred Phillips asserted that social change was
proceeding at hyper-speed and, moreover, that it had consequently come to outpace technological change. This
paper submits these claims to empirical assay. In so doing, we address the myriad problems attendant upon
determining and interpreting the sort of data that might support us in our cause. Notwithstanding the innu�merable caveats that this necessarily entails, and restricting ourselves to considering US data, we conclude that a
wide range of indicators suggest that millennial Americans are not living in a time of particularly rapid social
change, at least not when compared to the period 1900–1950. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the data
that we have considered does not easily support a contention that significant variation in social change occurs in
long wave-like cycles. The evidence is more supportive of a punctuated equilibrium model of change.

Keywords:Speed, Kondratieff waves, Technological change, Measurement, Acceleration
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:46581
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 11:50

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