Modernisation theory and development pdf

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modernisation theory and development pdf

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Nils Gilman is an intellectual historian, vice president for programs at the Berggruen Institute, and former associate chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley.

A Brief Guide to Modernization Theory

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This article examines the link between economic development and democracy. Drawing on modernization theory, it considers whether democracy is more likely to emerge in a country that modernizes economically. After discussing various criticisms against modernization theory, the article reviews statistical evidence to determine whether economic modernization gives rise to democracy. It argues that the correlation between economic development and democracy stems from the survival of democracy and that a poor authoritarian regime is not likely to turn into a democracy even if it receives economic assistance, either in the form of foreign aid or access to markets through trade. The article highlights the correlation between economic level and survival, rather than between economic growth and survival, noting that economic growth can be helpful only if it is sustained. Keywords: economic development , democracy , modernization theory , economic assistance , foreign aid , trade , economic level , economic growth.

Modernization theory

Modernization theory is used to explain the process of modernization within societies. Modernization refers to a model of a progressive transition from a 'pre-modern' or ' traditional ' to a 'modern' society. Modernization theory originated from the ideas of German sociologist Max Weber — , which provided the basis for the modernization paradigm developed by Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons — The theory looks at the internal factors of a country while assuming that with assistance, "traditional" countries can be brought to development in the same manner more developed countries have been. Modernization theory was a dominant paradigm in the social sciences in the s and s, then went into a deep eclipse. It made a comeback after but remains a controversial model. Modernization theory both attempts to identify the social variables that contribute to social progress and development of societies and seeks to explain the process of social evolution.

Modernization theory emerged in the s as an explanation of how the industrial societies of North America and Western Europe developed. The theory argues that societies develop in fairly predictable stages through which they become increasingly complex. Development depends primarily on the importation of technology as well as a number of other political and social changes believed to come about as a result. Social scientists , primarily of white European descent, formulated modernization theory during the midth century. Reflecting on a few hundred years of history in North America and Western Europe, and taking a positive view of the changes observed during that time, they developed a theory that explains that modernization is a process that involves:.

By the end of the Second World War many of the countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America had failed to develop and remained poor, despite exposure to capitalism. There was concern amongst the leaders of the western developed countries, especially the United States, that communism might spread into many of these countries, potentially harming American business interests abroad and diminishing U. In this context, in the late s, modernisation theory was developed, which aimed to provide a specifically non-communist solution to poverty in the developing world — Its aim was to spread a specifically industrialised, capitalist model of development through the promotion of Western, democratic values. There are two main aspects of modernisation theory — 1 its explanation of why poor countries are underdeveloped, and 2 its proposed solution to underdevelopment. In order to develop, less developed countries basically needed to adopt a similar path to development to the West. They needed to adopt Western cultural values and industrialise in order to promote economic growth.


four major theories of development: modernization, dependency, world- systems and globalization. These are the principal theoretical explanations to interpret.


Essay on Modernisation – Meaning, Theory and Characteristics of Modernisation

Modernization theory is a description and explanation of the processes of transformation from traditional or underdeveloped societies to modern societies. In the words of one of the major proponents, "Historically, modernization is the process of change towards those types of social, economic, and political systems that have developed in Western Europe and North America from the seventeenth century to the nineteenth and have then spread to other European countries and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the South American, Asian, and African continents" Eisenstadt , p. Modernization theory has been one of the major perspectives in the sociology of national development and underdevelopment since the s.

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The following information is quoted from Jacobs, J. Retrieved March 26, Geographers often seek to categorize places using a scale of development, frequently dividing nations into the "developed" and "developing," "first world" and "third world," or "core" and "periphery. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, geographers and those involved with the vast field of Development Studies have sought to answer this question, and in the process, have come up with many different models to explain this phenomenon. One of the key thinkers in twentieth-century Development Studies was W. Rostow, an American economist, and government official. Prior to Rostow, approaches to development had been based on the assumption that "modernization" was characterized by the Western world wealthier, more powerful countries at the time , which were able to advance from the initial stages of underdevelopment.

David C. Engerman, Corinna R. The ironic tone of historians of modernization theory in the s, as Africanist Frederick Cooper suggests, inverted the earnestness of the modernizers themselves. Economist and impresario Walt Whitman Rostow remains, much as he would have liked, a larger-than-life symbol of modernization programs. He fit the earnest believer role perfectly, promoting economic modernization as the cure to all ills in the newly named third world. Western capital and technical know-how, in this simplified model, would provide all countries with the chance to achieve the same prosperity and political freedoms that he identified with the United States.

Modernisation and the aspirations to modernity are probably the most overwhelming theme which has engaged the attention of sociologists, political scientists, economists and many others. Image Courtesy : news.

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