Cultural Lag Does Not Exist: An Exposition and Critical Evaluation of W.F. Ogburn’s Hypothesis
MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Martha Copp, Kelly N. Foster
Despite a century of scholarly critique, William Fielding Ogburn’s cultural lag hypothesis (CLH) endures. The inclusion of Ogburn’s hypothesis in introductory sociology textbooks, reference books, and histories of technology lends an unwarranted authority to its scientific credibility. I critically assess Ogburn’s CLH and find that it is neither scientifically nor theoretically sound. Specifically, I discover presumptions of cultural integration and normative progressivism, the fallacy of ambiguity, problems of causal explanation, operationalization, and selective bias, which renders the CLH unmeasurable, unfalsifiable, and non-replicable. Finally, I briefly discuss the implications and make suggestions for future research.
Thesis - unrestricted
Osborne, Heather L., "Cultural Lag Does Not Exist: An Exposition and Critical Evaluation of W.F. Ogburn’s Hypothesis" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 4182. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/4182
Copyright by the authors.
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