Our history is marked by social change, both subtle and extreme. There are specific periods of physical change that we recognise as major contributors to how we live our lives today, most notably the Industrial Revolution; but social change is often more subtle. Arguably in the last 20 years we have seen the biggest change of all due to the newest disease on the planet – no not Covid-19 but social media. Whether using it to research, connect, shop or push the boundaries of generally accepted social norms whether consciously or subconsciously, everybody now has the capacity to quick click their contribution towards the new normal.
What is social change?
The following extract from an online article by Shelly Shah on theories of social change is a nice summary …
“Individuals may strive for stability, societies may create the illusion of permanence, the quest for certainty may continue unabated, yet the fact remains that society is an ever-changing phenomenon, growing, decaying, renewing and accommodating itself to changing conditions and suffering vast modifications in the course of time. Our understanding of it will not be complete unless we take into consideration this changeable nature of society, study how differences emerge and discover the direction of change.”
It is unsurprising that an event such as a global pandemic has the ability to spark much unrest because it questions everything that makes us feel secure. The shockwaves are still very much being felt and probably will be for some time yet. In an attempt to maintain some levels of calm and to avoid mass destruction, responses, when they occur, have to sometimes be extreme. Civil liberties and freedom of movement brings with it vast opportunities for a virus to take hold and reaction times have to be speedy. Industries such as retail and hospitality have already faced adapt to survive and we have seen a seismic shift in our already huge appetite for online shopping. We keep on hearing about the ‘new normal’ but even this is a constantly changing beast right now.
Did 2020 offer us a revolution in terms of our buying habits? Have there been changes in our thought processes behind our gifting this festive season? An online virtual craft fayre set up in my local town saw over 1,000 people join in the space of just a few weeks seemingly motivated by the desire to support local, acquire personal and meaningful mementos and reduce time spent aimlessly wandering around city centres succumbing to last minute pressure buying.
Has the mass crafting of local and personal items resulted from a desire to feed the appetite of the masses or from more time and energy for creativity, a desire to distract from the chaos surrounding us or something else? Are there enough people out there, getting their side hustle on, to call this a crafting revolution? Only time will tell; for now let’s keep on keeping on, firing up our glue guns, clicking our needles and doing whatever it is that we need to do to get through this and if we can make someone smile while doing it then all the better for it.