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MCAT 2017: HIGH YIELD PSYCHOLOGY/SOCIOLOGY Society and Culture - practice test 2

Terms in this set (121)

Cultural lag — also called culture lag — describes what happens in a social system when the ideals that regulate life do not keep pace with other changes which are often — but not always — technological. Advances in technology and in other areas effectively render old ideals and social norms obsolete, leading to ethical conflicts and crises.

The cultural lag concept was first theorized and the term was coined by William F.

Ogburn, an American sociologist, in his book Social Change With Respect to Culture and Original Nature, published in 1922. Ogden felt that materiality — and by extension, the technology that promotes it — advances at a rapid pace, whereas societal norms tend to resist change and advance much more slowly. Innovation surpasses adaptation and this creates conflict.

Medical technology has advanced at such a pace as to put it in conflict with several moral and ethical beliefs. Here are a few examples:

Life Support: Medical technology is now being used to keep people's bodies functioning long after they would otherwise have been declared dead. This raises cultural and ethical questions about when life ends and who has the right to end artificial life support or to prolong existence. The development of new cultural beliefs, values and norms lags behind the dilemmas posed by the technological change.
Stem cell research and therapies: Stem cells have been proven to defeat a host of diseases, yet they must come from unborn fetuses. Some types of abortion remain illegal on several state and federal levels, creating a conflict between medical advancement, the law, and ethical and religious beliefs.

Cancer vaccines: A vaccine against cervical cancer became available in the 21st century, but some oppose it because it is given to preteens. This is seen in some quarters as encouraging youngsters to engage in sexual activity. Again, medical advancement has outpaced cultural and moral considerations.