Understanding / Protocol
The average human is no longer capable of understanding, or are the born with the necessary temporal or material resources to be able to develop within society understanding of, the vast technosocial infrastructure(s) that underlie and structure most of today’s quotidian practice—internets, mobile phones, traffic regimes, social regimes, law and legality, currency and finance, etc.
Each of these concepts is bound to massive networks of social actors, volumes of institutionalizations, regularizations, and concept constructions, imponderable technical resources of previously unimaginable complexity, etc.
For the average person, therefore, for which all of this is little other than magic and mysticism, the only way to function is to be supplied with a series of circumstantially dictated and ordered rules and behaviors that are credited with a normative rationality. They are, in essence, given an API/ABI or a protocol to their little corner of the world, and cannot be expected to act other than accordingly if the API/ABI or protocol breaks in some way.
Action is a central sociological concept that appears to rely on a number of assumptions for its utility. These seem to be (1) measurement of ends as comparable or linked in some way to means, (2) means deployed by intentionality/rationality, and (3) a locus for this intentionality/rationality that is fully elaboratable and bounded, the model for this being the embodied self.
All of these things need to be called into question in a world in which selves are often external to the body in any recognizable way, even for the meanings and phenomenal experiences of said bodies, and in which what is traditionally conceived of as “inaction” is equally likely to produce measurable ends, despite the “actor’s” intention not to “act,” intention not to “indend,” or even lack of any intentionality or conscribable discrete consciousness to which to attribute any such intentionality.
Time for something new; the world has shifted under our feet and we are still schematizing it and “acting upon it” in ways that are congruent to other architectures, conceptual, technical, and social.
That’s how we get into unexpected crises of various kinds.
That’s another way to approach the causal factors implicated in “social change.”