Ibn-i-Khaldun Cyclic theory of Social Change


Ibn-i-Khaldun Cyclic theory of Social Change:

Ibn-i-Khaldun propounded that the change in human society follows are clockwise pattern and a circle is completed and repeated after almost 120 years in a given society. He observes that there are fixed, definite, clear and standardised stages of the cycle, each stage having a peculiar economic, social, demographic, religious, and political characteristic. These stages are “growth”, “development” and “decay”. Each stage having an average duration of about 40 years. He was of the view that society faces are cyclic change. Ibn-i-Khaldun gave many historical facts in support of his theory. The characteristics of each stage are briefly discussed below:

First stage: Growth

When a society is in its initial stage of growth, its population is not politically conscious, creative leadership is emerging, while their people have primary group relationships in most of their daily life situations. There is no regular military force or an established state. Kinship loyalties dominate over individual interests. At this stage, there are potentialities in the population for making society stronger and richer in all walks of life. There is solidarity and unity among the members of the society.

Second Stage: Development

During the second stage of development the society becomes stronger in economic, political, social and such other fields. Population is no longer a liability. There is the presence of a strong government with a well organised military force, trade, commerce and other economic activities flourish in such societies. There is a hold of primary groups over the behaviour of an average person. The commoners enjoy amenities of life to a reasonable extent. The society is strong enough to face any outside aggression and people try to extend their political power over neighbouring societies.

Third stage: Decay

When a society enters the third stage, Ibn-i-Khaldun says the process of decaying start. The commoners start considering that the taxes are a burden. The rulers and chiefs do not have real political hold over an average person; thereby unity and cohesion are slackened. At this stage, people start thinking individually and there is a decline in all the social institutions of the society. This depression results in the creation of a sense of disorganisation and confusion in the minds of people. Thus, the society attains the same position from where it started 120 years back.

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