Social change is a mess - and that's good news!

Sebastian Bock (7.1) preferred.jpg

Sebastian Bock

2017-18 Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity

Change is inherently messy, and so are explanations for it. Over a series of six blog posts in the coming weeks, I intend to add to this mess by looking at a few cases of transformative social change that are somewhat off the beaten path.

If you have ever asked yourself how we went from referring to children created through in vitro fertilisation as “Frankenstein babies” to seeing them simply as the fiercely loved newborns they are (and possibly, for the under-45 crowd, the children of some of your best friends) read on.

Similarly, if you wonder whether we’re really that different from our primate ancestors, and what on earth that has to do with social change, you can find out my thoughts over the course of six blog posts I’ll be publishing over the coming weeks, starting today.

In addition, I’ve got some surprises in store for you about the media. While it’s clear that media ownership affects the spread of new ideas, recent research about the Protestant Revolution suggests it is even more complicated than we thought. And Google is teaching us in that even in the 21st century, pressure from the streets still matters.

I’ll end this series of posts with a story of hope from China, where a practice that caused incredible suffering for millions of women for almost 1,000 years came to an end within one generation.

What I hope is that these blogs will become the start of a conversation, where each post triggers responses as well as questions. Please use the comment section to share any thoughts, or find me on Twitter @sebastianbock .

Post 1: Selling blasphemy: is competition good for heretics?
Post 2:
Want to change the world? Go out and protest (says Google)
Post 3:
A primate brain in a human world: evolutionary biology and social change
Post 4:
Bringing new technology into a world of old ideas
Post 5:
How we came to love Frankenstein
Post 6:
How to overcome a millennium of pain in one generation


Sebastian Bock is a 2017-18 Atlantic Fellow for Social and Economic Equity at the International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and a Senior Strategist at Greenpeace International. He tweets at @sebastianbock

The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, the International Inequalities Institute, or the London School of Economics and Political Science.