Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
H. Mark Ellis
Cultural lag occurs when the proliferation of technological and material advancement outpaces the normative dimensions of a civilization's blueprint for social existence. When technology advances more quickly than the social expectations and considerations surrounding new innovations, cultural lag is present. Although technological development and knowledge for knowledge's sake are indicators of heightened human evolution, without shared rules and understandings to govern such creations, these developments can nullify any potential social improvement. Without social consensus of new folkways, mores, and laws to understand, contextualize, and utilize new technology, knowledge without immediate application or without foresight of consequences prior to its development and introduction into a society can be deleterious to a culture's well-being. For example, computerizing tollbooth collections can result in more efficient highway vehicular movement and aid in the reduction of environmental pollution, but changing the behaviors of drivers to convert and conform to this change cannot be done with ...