Folk theory of social change

Yoshihisa Kashima, Paul Bain, Nick Haslam, Kim Peters, Simon Laham, Jennifer Whelan, Brock Bastian, Stephen Loughnan, Leah Kaufmann, Julian Fernando

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


People have a folk theory of social change (FTSC). A typical Western FTSC stipulates that as a society becomes more industrialized, it undergoes a natural course of social change, in which a communal society marked by communal relationships becomes a qualitatively different, agentic society where market-based exchange relationships prevail. People use this folk theory to predict a society's future and estimate its past, to understand contemporary cross-cultural differences, and to make decisions about social policies. Nonetheless, the FTSC is not particularly consistent with the existing cross-cultural research on industrialization and cultural differences, and needs to be examined carefully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-246
Number of pages20
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date30 Nov 2009
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Culture
  • Folk theory
  • Individualism
  • Stereotype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Kashima, Y., Bain, P., Haslam, N., Peters, K., Laham, S., Whelan, J., ... Fernando, J. (2009). Folk theory of social change. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 12(4), 227-246.