Ireland Research Paper

Sociology and Social Changes in Ireland

From the moment of getting its independence, Ireland had experienced a lot of social and cultural changes. Among them are erosion of the established church influence, family’s composition changes, societal recognition of certification value and economic benefits that come from high qualifications, technological explosion.

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Modernization of Ireland was a long-lasting process that it not finished so far and which brought its advantages and disadvantages to the Irish society. Ireland is frequently referred to as “Celtic Tiger” for its developed economy, but it was not always that way. Being an agricultural country, Ireland leaped to an information technology focused one without experiencing industrial revolution. There are a lot of electronic, software and pharmaceutical giants, primarily from USA, who were attracted by loyal government incentives and proximity of European market. In 1973 Ireland joined European Union and greatly benefited from this step. Speaking about qualified work force, it should be mentioned that in 1980s a wave of emigration started and many university degree graduates left for US looking for better job opportunities. But however in 1990s that boom finished with emergence of job opportunities inside the country.

Modernization also touched such aspects of social life as sex, religion and gender inequality. The influence of Catholic Church has greatly diminished in recent decades. And it was an increasing rejection of Church teachings about contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality and premarital sex. People stated to be more independent from Church in their decisions. The number of single mothers had greatly increased, as it was not already reproached do evidently by the church. Leading posts were taken by women, including last Presidents- Mary McAleese and Mary Robinson. Women became more occupied with their career.

Critical social theory refers to emancipatory function of knowledge. It presumes using critical approach to community quality education matters, through analyzing what do communities have in their disposal in education and the quality of the knowledge received. Speaking about education itself, critical social theory considers theory and practice as two divided parts of dualism. Critical social theory is aiming to material and institutional changed starting with qualified education. It calls communities to solve social problems before the answer for them is available and they can just be critical about it, but try to think creatively and find the solution that would correspond to their experiences and beliefs.

Classical social theory discusses emergence of social and historical changes and includes: social cycle theory, Marxist historical materialism and social evolutionism. Social cycle theory refers to the fact that stages and events in each society and constantly repeating. Marxist historical materialism says that that is social existence that determines men’s consciousness. Social evolutionism explains how societies and cultures developed over times and pictures patterns of relationships among technologies, values and social structures and the way they change with time. Irish community can be a bright example of classical social theory, as it evolved its own way with simultaneous using other counties experience of development, and I cannot say that it was unique.

Contemporary social theory refers to such terms as sociobiology, theory of modernization, neoevolutionism and theory of post-industrial society. Sociobiology is a combination of scientific disciplines, which study evolutionary merits of social behavior. Theory of modernization can be also called development theory and includes decolonization and striving to independence (as in case with Irish community becoming an Irish Republic in 1922 and fighting for its rights). Neoevolutionism explains reasons of evolution of societies and social changes. Theory of post-industrial society has no relation to Ireland, as it refers to the kind of society in which the economic transformation took place from manufacturing based economy to a service based one. Ireland missed industrial revolution, so this cannot be applied to it. Modern social theory is more complicated than classical one and is closer to the manner of Irish community development. It presumes free will, subjective reasoning, free will and unpredictable events to occur.

Ireland went a great way from dependant country to independent unit, experiencing many social, cultural, economical and religious changes. In many ways they were presupposed by existent social theories and now we can follow the way to success and prosperity.

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