MCAT Content / Culture / Culture Lag

Culture Lag

Topic: Culture

“Cultural lag” refers to the fact that culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, resulting in social problems.

The term cultural lag refers to the notion that culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, and that social problems and conflicts are caused by this lag. Cultural lag is not only a concept, as it also relates to a theory and explanation in sociology. Cultural lag helps to identify and explain social problems and to predict future problems.

Cultural lag creates problems for a society in different ways. Cultural lag is seen as a critical ethical issue because failure to develop broad social consensus on appropriate uses of modern technology may lead to breakdowns in social solidarity and the rise of social conflict. For example, we have developed the technology to clone humans (material culture) but this has outpaced our symbolic (non-material) understanding of this technology leading to ethical debate.


Key Points

• Cultural lag is not only a concept, as it also relates to a theory and explanation in sociology.

• It helps identify and explain social problems and also predict future problems.

• Due to the opposing nature of these two aspects of culture, the adaptation of new technology becomes rather difficult.


Key Terms

culture Lag: a concept and theory related to the fact that culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, resulting in social problems.

innovation: the act of innovating; the introduction of something new, in customs, rites, and so on.

material culture: in the social sciences, material culture is a term, developed in the late 19th and early 20th century, that refers to the relationship between artifacts and social relations.

non-material culture: in contrast to material culture, non-material culture does not include any physical objects or artifacts. Examples of non-material culture include any ideas, beliefs, values, and norms that may help shape our society.



Billing Information
We had trouble validating your card. It's possible your card provider is preventing us from charging the card. Please contact your card provider or customer support.
{{ cardForm.errors.get('number') }}
{{ registerForm.errors.get('zip') }}
{{ registerForm.errors.get('coupon') }}
Tax: {{ taxAmount(selectedPlan) | currency spark.currencySymbol }}

Total Price Including Tax: {{ priceWithTax(selectedPlan) | currency spark.currencySymbol }} / {{ selectedPlan.interval | capitalize }}