Cultural Lag



Cultural Lag

Technological change occurs very rapidly in modern society—sometimes more rapidly than many people are prepared for. As a result, when new technology emerges, people may struggle for a time to adapt to it. This period of transition, when people are adjusting to technological change, is known as cultural lag. At first, people are not accustomed to the new technology and may not understand it; they may therefore have a negative attitude toward it. Over time, however, their attitudes change, and they successfully incorporate the new technology into their daily lives.

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    <-NARRATOR:-> Now listen to part of a lecture from a sociology class.
    <-MALE PROFESSOR:-> Now, the invention of the telephone was revolutionary.
    It was a much easier and faster way of communicating
    than anything else available at the time.
    However, when the telephone first became widely available, towards the end of the nineteenth century,
    only businesses used telephones, because businesses realized how the telephone could benefit them,
    how it could help them be more productive.
    But a lot of people in the general public didn¡¯t think the phone should be used for personal communication.
    Some people didn't like to listen to someone¡¯s voice without being able to see them.
    Also, a lot of people thought that it was rude to call someone on the telephone instead of visiting them in person ...
    they missed the sense of personal connection they got from meeting someone.
    However, as we all know,
    people gradually changed their minds about the telephone.
    It took about 30 years,
    but eventually
    most homes came to have telephones, and everyone came to depend on them.
    Talking to someone you couldn¡¯t see
    began to seem more and more normal... .
    Friends began to call each other just to chat,
    just for fun.
    And after everyone agreed on certain rules of politeness, such as not calling someone late at night,
    no one considered it rude any more to make personal phone calls.


Using the example of the telephone, explain the concept of cultural lag.


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