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

37 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., Bastian, B., Loughnan, S., Kaufmann, L., & Fernando, J. (2009). Folk theory of social change. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 12(4), 227-246.