Essay on the Causes of Social Disorganisation

G.R. Madan has listed a few factors that invite the problems of disorganisation. They may be briefly explained below:

1. Psychological Factors:

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Sometimes, the cause of social disorganisation is to be found in the human psychology itself. Psychological factors contribute to disorganisation in two ways: (i) Fail­ure to maintain proper communication among fellow beings, and (ii) Failure to modify or change one’s attitudes in tune with the demands of time.

(i) Communication is an essential psychological process among human beings. It is maintained through the social processes such as imitation, cooperation, competition, suggestion, conflict, accommodation, assimilation, etc., which are also psychological in character.

Common understanding and common consciousness help the people to maintain communication. Due to lack of common consensus regarding values and due to divergent attitudes people may fail to maintain proper com­munication among themselves.

Words, ideas, phrases and symbols that they use in their communica­tion may sound different things to them. Thus, lack of appropriate communication or its total failure may create ill-will, prejudice and lot of psychological distance among people.

(ii) The problem of attitudes. Human tendencies and attitudes are modified very slowly whereas culture is modified with comparative rapidity. The sociocultural environment may impose much requirements on individuals which they find it difficult to fulfil.

For example, the modern industralised and urbanised society is so competitive that some find it extremely difficult to cope with. Similarly, the cultural conflict between the older and the younger generation may result in disorganisation of the adolescents, juvenile delinquency, and sometimes in family disorganisation. Conflicts of atti­tudes between the old and new values are always pregnant with trends of disorganisation.

2. Cultural Lag:

‘Cultural lag’, the concept used by W.E. Ogburn, refers to the imbalance in the rate and speed of change between the material cultural and non-material culture. Objects of material culture such as mode, of housing, means of transport and communication, type of dresses, patterns of ornaments, technical and mechanical devices, instruments, etc., change very quickly. But ideas, beliefs, attitudes, tastes, philosophies, habits, ideologies, institutional structures and such other aspects of non-material culture change slowly and gradually.

Hence a ‘gap’ or a ‘lag’ arises between the material and non-material culture. This lag, referred to as ‘cultural lag’ invites the process of disorganisation to set in.

For example, though a good number of Indians have adopted Western technology, they have not very much changed their traditional beliefs, attitudes and customs, etc. This quality has often led to some conflicts which have opened the doors for disorganisation.

3. Physical or Geographic Factors:

The maladjustment of man and his culture to certain extra-ordinary physical or geographic conditions or situations may cause disorganisation in society. This is especially true in the case of natural calamities such as storms, cyclones, hurricanes, famines, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, epidemics, etc., which upset the social balance and bring in social disorganisation.

4. Biological Factor:

Population explosion or extreme scarcity of population, the instances of racial intermixture, defective hereditary traits and such other biological factors may also cause disorganising effects upon society.

For example, if overpopulation has caused the problems of pov­erty and unemployment in some countries, the fact of under population has created a psychological crisis manifested in what is known as “race extinction”.

5. Ecological Factor:

Social disorganisation is related to environment in terms of regions and neighbourhoods. Professor Shaw and his associates at the institute of Juvenile Research in Chicago found that the delinquency was unevenly distributed in the city of Chicago.

They observed that the delinquents mostly concentrated in the areas of poor housing, overcrowding, and the areas in which cinema houses, hotels, night clubs, liquor shops, gambling centres were found in a large number. Some findings have revealed that per capita crime rate is relatively higher in larger cities than in smaller ones.

6. Social Problems Leading to Social Disorganisation:

Social problems and forces such as – a revolution, a social upheaval, a class struggle, a financial or economic crisis, a war between nations, mental illness, political corruption, mounting unemployment and crime, etc., threaten the smooth working of society. The social problems are the diseases of the society and they threaten the welfare of the-society. They may bring in disorganisation.

7. Degeneration of values:

Social values are often regarded as the sustaining forces of society. They contribute to the strength and stability of social order. But due to rapid social change new values come up and some of the old values decline.

At the same time, people are not in a position to reject the old completely and accept the new altogether. Here conflict between the old and the new is the inevitable result of which leads to the social disorganisation.

Changes in social values necessitate new social institutions and associations. These come into conflict with the older existing ones. This creates disorder in society. The statuses and roles of people will have to change in accordance with the changes in social values. But they take time to adjust themselves to new situations. In this way, disorganisation spreads.

According to Sorokin, the cause of social disorganisation is nothing but degeneration of values in various spheres such as art, science, philosophy, religion, law, politics, economics, family, etc., which has lead to more wars, criminality, revolution, suicide, mental diseases, etc.

8. Disintegration and Confusion of Roles:

Members of society are expected to perform certain definite roles in accordance with their placements in society. Due to profound social changes these expectations also undergo a change. Consequently, people are confused with regard to their new roles. Professor Faris considers this as the most important cause of disorganisation. According to him, it is due to the transition from pre-industrial folk society to modern complex society.

For example, children are to be cared for and essential cultural education be given to them by the family members. The economic order is assumed to provide for the production and distribution of goods and wealth.

The religious institutions are expected to maintain the religious heritage and to pass on the same to succeeding generation. When any of these functions are not properly fulfilled, disorganisation may be the result.

9. Political Subordination:

Political subordination of one country to another leads to social disorganisation in the former. The vanquished country is not allowed to develop its economy and institution in its own ways. It is made a means to serve the interests of the dominant country. India suffered under the British rule in the same manner.

The dominant country may not even care for the basic needs such as — food, clothing, shelter, basic education, medical facility, etc., of the people of slave country. As a result, the slave country may have to face a number of socio-economic problems.

Other Factors:

In addition to the above, a few other factors may also cause disorganisation.

(a) Conflict of goals and means:

Conflict of goals and the means for achieving them may also cause disorganisation. Most of the individuals share the dominant goals of the society and act ac­cordingly. But lacking the means for achieving the goals by legitimate means, some may resort to illegitimate and illegal means resulting in vice, crime and other expression of social disorganisation.

(b) Decline of social control:

The declining control of religion, morals, customs, traditions, and other institutions on the behaviour of men has also enhanced the process of disorganisation. Hence we witness an increase in interpersonal conflicts, crimes, tensions, divorce, delinquency, mental derangement, etc. In fact, according to Thomas and Znaniecki, the very “decrease of the influence of existing rule of behaviour upon the individual members of the group” itself indicates social disorganisation.

(c) Extreme divisions of labour:

According to Emile Durkhem, social disorganisation is often brought about by extreme division of labour. In normal course, according to him, division of labour leads to social solidarity, but when it becomes extreme and very complex, solidarity may become disturbed.

(d) Disruptive social change:

Society undergoes change mainly due to the operation of physi­cal, biological, technological and cultural factors. Sudden and radical social changes may, some­times, disrupt the stability and the organisation of the society. The result is social disorganisation. Remedial Measures

To face the challenges of social disorganisation it is necessary first of all to study the nature and gravity of social disorganisation. Depending on its nature steps should be taken to counteract its influence. In this connection we may suggest the following remedial measures:

1. Able and efficient administration to flight against the disruptive forces.

2. Proper and comprehensive social and economic planning and policies.

3. Proper implementation of the plans and policies.

4. Organised social work and social welfare activities and social security measures.

5. Appropriate steps to rehabilitate and reform the beggars, criminals, juvenile delinquents, prostitutes mentally and physically handicapped, the aged and the diseased persons,

6. Effective enforcement of land reforms and fixing a ceiling on urban property,

7. Making effective and attractive family planning and welfare programmes and projects,

8. Providing ample educational and employment opportunities especially for the spread of diseases;

9. To create a psychological atmosphere of security and confidence, assuring and providing social equality, justice, and liberty to all.

10. Taking steps to mobilise public opinion against the evil practices of bribery, corruption, casteism, communalism, racism, exploitation, etc.

11. Instilling in the minds of people sentiments of unity, solidarity, patriotism and nationalism by making use of mass media of communication in the best possible manner.