Creating alternative society

Managing social transformation

Creating social forms which reject the existing status quo or offer the present society positive options.


A society has a variety of meanings, including: (a) a group of people having a common body and system of culture for example, a physical community, or an aggregate of communities; (b) a voluntary association of individuals for common ends, especially an organized group living or working together, or periodically meeting or worshipping together, because of a community of interests, beliefs, or a common profession; (c) An enduring and cooperating social group whose members have developed organized patterns of relationships through interaction with one another. The term may also be applied to the complex structures of institutions of such a group; and (d) a broad grouping of people having common traditions, institutions, collective activities, and interests, particularly an international social order or community of societies.

In its social aspects, distinction may be made between planned change (as a designed, or purposive attempt by an individual, group, or larger social system to influence directly the status of itself, another system, or a situation), and unplanned change. A distinction also may be made between the transmission of culture (evolutionary changes of concern to the historical sciences and anthropology) and the transformation of social patterns. The former is neither planned nor intended, whereas through the latter, individuals, groups, or organizations change themselves or others through directive action or decisions.

Creating alternative societies has been practised throughout history. Most notably during the decline of the Roman Empire, the 17th century movement of European people to North America, and 20th century holism, human development and spiritual movements. It requires a (more or less) large number of people who are either consciously or unconsciously dissatisfied with the status quo. It also requires that the alternate forms are attractive enough to interest people in changing present habits and modes of operation. It requires that a group of people continually refine the forms to respond to the needs of change.

Mahatma Gandhi promoted positive social change Sarvodaya, meaning "welfare for all", could be attained through action which was based upon truth Satyagraha and non-violence Ahimsa.


Be the change you want (Ghandi).


Counter Claim:

(a) Alternative societies take a generation or more to implement and the results of this activity are very subtle and difficult to discern. (b) They require a large number of people who are self-conscious of this process and willing to make extreme sacrifices, a very scarce resource. (c) Alternative societies are often simply negations of existing social values, dependent upon the society they condemn.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and Production