ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of industrial capitalism in the late eighteenth century, all societies have been transformed, often at incredible speeds. Societal change in the capitalist era is uneven, producing tremendous inequalities often within the same city, region, and country (Harvey 2013). Change also proceeds erratically over time, with periods of economic and liberal-political expansion punctuated by periods of economic crisis/decline and liberal-political retrenchment. These rapid, uneven, and erratic societal changes create a range of social problems such as urban crowding, poverty, crime, vulnerability to new disease, epidemics, or worsened mental health. To a large degree, the social sciences emerged to describe and explain these social problems and, hopefully, to offer workable solutions.