This best-selling text offers an integrated social science view of the world, emphasizing that social and cultural change are the pervasive realities of our era. One of the main themes of Contemporary Society is that the transition from an industrial to a post-industrial order in the modern world is fraught with difficulties, as was the transition from an agricultural to an industrial order in an earlier era. Within this framework, we can observe the increasing fragmentation of the social order, which tends to lead people away from community and a common purpose and often invites conflict and disunity. At the same time, countervailing social forces are also at work, providing some stability, some shelter in the storm. Finally, societies are faced with the rapid and transformative power of information technology, a fact that propels separate groups of people into a global entity.