Relation Of Population With Social Change

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Population and Social Change

Question Set 1: Compare and contrast how structural-functionalists, symbolic-interactionists, and social-conflict theorists examine urban growth.

The growth of urban areas plays a vital role in the study of sociology because it is in these urban cities that different aspects intersect. From a sociological perspective, town and cities are defined. They are defined in terms of their ecological structure, political economy, and urban residents’ interaction with each other. The three major sociological perspectives provide valuable hints that assist in the understanding of urbanization. These perspectives include structural functionalism, symbolic interaction, and social conflict perspectives.

How Structural Functionalists Examine Urban Growth

Structural functionalists regard the developments of urban centers to be functional for the development of society. Cities and metropolitan areas nowadays serve as centers for finance, administrative centers, education centers, and information and communication centers. However, others view the growth and expansion of towns to be leading to weak relations between individual and social groups. In urban areas, social integration is an outcome of specialism. On the other hand, in rural areas, social interaction is a result of sharing cultural values and beliefs. Urbanization leads to increased rates of crimes and other immoral behaviors, such as prostitution. Therefore, functionalists claim that these unethical behaviors indicate how morals have eroded in the town.

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How Symbolic Interactionists Examine Urban Growth

Sociologists view urban centers as the best places for social interaction because they have parks and other public areas where people from different racial and social backgrounds meet daily. Also, they argue that through this interaction, urban dwellers can overcome racial tension, which is a common vice nowadays (Pickvance, 2016). Urban centers, therefore, are said to be stimulating and shapes people’s lives and thoughts by their commonness in economic situations. Although people get freedom and privacy by living in the city, they lose primary friends since they live independently.

How Social-Conflict Theorists Examine Urban Growth

Conflict theorists say that “cities do not grow or decline by chance” (Kendall, 2018). They argue that politicians and economic leaders are the ones who control the growth of urban centers. Therefore, these leaders work together to facilitate urban growth and determine how the money will flow or how land is used. Also, theorists say that there is a conflict that grows between those who have and those who don’t have. This is thought to be because those who have land are forced to relocate as rich politicians take their land. This conflict manifests when rich men live in luxurious apartments while poor people live in dilapidated housing and struggle to make ends meet. Conflict theorists add that different backgrounds of urban dwellers also lead to conflict because their beliefs clash with those of others, and thus results in a crime (Pickvance, 2016).

Question Set 2: How do deprivation theory and resource mobilization theory explain social movements?

Deprivation Theory

Deprivation theory is about social change and movements through which people take action(s) for change to get something that others have. People who are happy with their current situations are less likely to seek out social changes (Kendall, 2018). This theory points out that people who feel that they are alienated from what is essential in society organize themselves to obtain what they think they are deprived of. According to this theory, some social movements are formed when certain people in society feel that they are discriminated against from accessing useful resources or services (Kerbo, 2015). Therefore, this theory explains why some social movements are mostly formed after a particular incidence. However, this theory is criticized because it does not explain why some people join movements that don’t benefit them.

Resource Mobilization Theory

Resource mobilization theory explains the importance of the availability of resources in the formation of a social movement. This theory points out that social movements develop when some people in a society have certain grievances and can mobilize certain resources to act. In this context, resources are things like social status, money, labor, solidarity, support from powerful elites, and knowledge (Kerbo, 2015). This idea of resources explains why some individuals who are discontented can organize themselves, but others are not. Resource mobilization theory classifies social movements according to the position they take among other social movements. This theory provides a good explanation as to why, in some cases, some grievances give rise to a successful social group, but in other instances, the same complaints don’t give rise to anything related. However, this theory has been criticized for putting more emphasis on resources like finances because other movements depend on time and labor and not only money.


Studying urbanization and associated social changes involves analysis of how towns develop and how people interact among themselves in these towns. Urban centers are not self-contained social entities, but they hold a space in the broader aspect of sociological relationships. Societies also change as people change because some of the changes are a result of urban life influence. As societies become modernized, they start differing from traditional cultures in different ways. This makes them lose their traditional styles of dress, worship, and other moral values.


  • Kendall, D. (2018). Sociology in our times: the essentials. 11th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning, p.474, p.502
  • Kerbo, H. R. (2015). Movements of “crisis” and movements of “affluence” a critique of deprivation and resource mobilization theories. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 26(4), 645-663.
  • Pickvance C. (2007). Urban sociology: critical essays. Progress in Human Geography, 31(4), 537-549. doi:10.1177/0309132507079504


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