Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Paul Kamolnick

Committee Members

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.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.