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In the social sciences, modernization or modernisation is an aspect of culture change refers to a model of an evolutionary transition from a 'pre-modern' or 'traditional' to a 'modern' society. The teleology of modernization is described in social evolutionism theories, existing as a template that has been generally followed by societies that have achieved modernity. While it may theoretically be possible for some societies to make the transition in entirely different ways, there have been no counterexamples provided by reliable sources.
Historians link modernization to the processes of urbanization and industrialization, as well as to the spread of education. As Kendall (2007) notes, "Urbanization accompanied modernization and the rapid process of industrialization." In sociological critical theory, modernization is linked to an overarching process of rationalisation. When modernization increases within a society, the individual becomes that much more important, eventually replacing the family or community as the fundamental unit of society.
Modernization theory and history have been explicitly used as guides for countries eager to develop rapidly, such as China. Indeed, modernization has been proposed as the most useful framework for World history in China, because as one of the developing countries that started late, "China's modernization has to be based on the experiences and lessons of other countries.".
Instead of being dominated by tradition, societies undergoing the process of modernization typically arrive at governance dictated by abstract principles. Traditional religious beliefs and cultural traits usually becomes less important as modernization takes hold.
According to theories of modernization, each society can develop from traditionalism to modernity, and that those that make this transition follow similar paths. More modern states are wealthier and more powerful, and their citizens freer, with a higher standard of living. According to the Social theorist Peter Wagner, modernization can be seen as processes, and as offensives. The former view is commonly projected by politicians and the media, and suggests that it is developments, such as new data technology or need to update traditional methods, which make modernization necessary or preferable. This view makes critique of modernization difficult, since it implies these developments control the limits of human interaction, and not vice versa.
The view of modernization as offensives argues that both the developments and the altered opportunities made available by these developments are shaped and controlled by human agents. The view of modernization as offensives therefore sees it as a product of human planning and action, an active process capable of being both changed and criticized.
Modernization emerged in the late 19th century and was especially popular among scholars in the mid-20th century. One foremost advocate was Harvard sociologist Talcott Parsons. The theory stressed the importance of societies being open to change and saw reactionary forces as restricting development. Maintaining tradition for tradition's sake was thought to be harmful to progress and development. Proponents of modernization lie in two camps, optimists and pessimist. The former view holds that what a modernizer sees as a setback to the theory (events such as the Iranian Revolution or the troubles in Lebanon) are invariably temporary setbacks, with the ability to attain "modernism" still existing. Pessimists argue that such non-modern areas are incapable of becoming modern.
The Progressives in the United States in the early 20th century were avid modernizers. They believed in science, technology, expertise—and especially education—as the grand solution to society's weaknesses. Characteristics of progressivism included a favorable attitude toward urban-industrial society, belief in mankind's ability to improve the environment and conditions of life, belief in obligation to intervene in economic and social affairs, and a belief in the ability of experts and in efficiency of government intervention.
Paul Monroe, a professor of history at Columbia University, was a member of The Inquiry--a team of American experts at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. He drew on his experience in the Philippines to assess the educational needs of developing areas such as Albania, Turkey and central Africa. Presenting educational development as instrumental to nation-building and socioeconomic development, Monroe recommended the implementation of a progressive curriculum - with an emphasis on practical, adult, and teacher training - in a national system of education, as a basis for self-development, except in Africa. His approach shaped American cooperation with developing countries in the 1920s and modernization efforts during the 1920s-1930s.
- Main article: Sonderweg
Many historians have emphasized the central importance of a German Sonderweg or "special path" (or "exceptionalism") as the root of Nazism and the German catastrophe in the 20th century. According to the historiography by Kocka (1988), the process of nation-building from above especially during the period of the German Empire (1871–1918), in the following Weimar era, had very grievous long-term implications, historians have argued. In terms of parliamentary democracy, Parliament was kept weak, the parties were fragmented, and there was a row file level of mutual distrust. The Nazis built on the illiberal, anti-pluralist elements of Weimar's political culture. The Junker elites (the large landowners in the east) and senior civil servants, used their great power and influence well into the twentieth century to frustrate any movement toward democracy. They played an especially negative role in the crisis of 1930-1933. The emphasis by Otto von Bismarck on military force amplified the voice of the officer corps, which combined advanced modernization of military technology with reactionary politics. The rising upper-middle-class elites, in the business, financial, and professional worlds, tended to accept the values of the old traditional elites. The German Empire was, for Hans-Ulrich Wehler, a strange mixture of highly successful capitalist, industrialization and socio-economic modernization on the one hand, and of surviving pre-industrial institutions, power relations and traditional cultures on the other. Wehler argues that it produced a high degree of internal tension, which led on the one hand to the suppression of socialists, Catholics, and reformers, and on the other hand to a highly aggressive foreign policy. For these reasons Fritz Fischer and his students emphasized Germany’s primary guilt for causing World War I.
Hans-Ulrich Wehler, a leader of the Bielefeld School of social history, places the origins of Germany's path to disaster in the 1860s-1870s, when economic modernization took place, but political modernization did not happen and the old Prussian rural elite remained in firm control of the army, diplomacy and the civil service. Traditional, aristocratic, premodern society battled an emerging capitalist, bourgeois, modernizing society. Recognizing the importance of modernizing forces in industry and the economy and in the cultural realm, Wehler argues that reactionary traditionalism dominated the political hierarchy of power in Germany, as well as social mentalities and in class relations (Klassenhabitus). The catastrophic German politics between 1914 and 1945 are interpreted in terms of a delayed modernization of its political structures. At the core of Wehler's interpretation is his treatment of "the middle class" and "revolution," each of which was instrumental in shaping the 20th century. Wehler's examination of Nazi rule is shaped by his concept of "charismatic domination," which focuses heavily on Adolf Hitler.
The historiographical concept of a German Sonderweg has had a turbulent history. Nineteenth century scholars who emphasized a separate German path to modernity saw it as a positive factor that differentiated Germany from the "western path" typified by Great Britain. The stressed the strong bureaucratic state, reforms initiated by Bismarck and other strong leaders, the Prussian service ethos, the high culture of philosophy and music, and Germany's pioneering of a social welfare state. In the 1950s, historians in West Germany argued that the Sonderweg led Germany to the disaster of 1933-1945. The special circumstances of German historical structures and experiences, were interpreted as preconditions that, while not directly causing National Socialism, did hamper the development of a liberal democracy and facilitate the rise of fascism. The Sonderweg paradigm has provided the impetus for at least three strands of research in German historiography: the "long nineteenth century", the history of the bourgeoisie, and comparisons with the West. After 1990, increased attention to cultural dimensions and to comparative and relational history moved German historiography to different topics, with much less attention paid to the Sonderweg. While some historians have abandoned the Sonderweg thesis, they have not provided a generally accepted alternative interpretation.
19th century France
In his seminal book Peasants Into Frenchmen: The Modernization of Rural France, 1880–1914 (1976), historian Eugen Weber traced the modernization of French villages and argued that rural France went from backward and isolated to modern and possessing a sense of French nationhood during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He emphasized the roles of railroads, republican schools, and universal military conscription. He based his findings on school records, migration patterns, military service documents and economic trends. Weber argued that until 1900 or so a sense of French nationhood was weak in the provinces. Weber then looked at how the policies of the Third Republic created a sense of French nationality in rural areas. The book was widely praised, but was criticized by some who argued that a sense of Frenchness existed in the provinces before 1870.
Many studies of modernization have focused on the history of Japan in the late 19th century, and China and India in the late 20th century. For example, the process of borrowing science and technology from the West has been explored.
China has been attempting to modernize ever since the Revolution of 1911 and the end on the Qing Dynasty, the last dynasty of China. Before the Qing Dynasty was overthrown, it attempted to reform from 1902 to 1908 to save itself and instigated reforms in infrastructure, transportation, and government. These reforms were based on Western models and even included aspects of democracy, which are often associated with the process of modernization. However, these reforms were largely unsuccessful and resulted in the Revolution of 1911. Following the Revolution of 1911, other movements such as the May 4th Movement of 1919 advocated for modernization, iconoclasm, and a rejection of foreign influence and imperialism. From the beginning of the 20th century until the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China has been delayed in efforts to modernize due to an era of warlordism, the Second Sino-Japanese War, and civil war between the CCP and KMT.
When the communist party came to power in 1949, Mao Zedong used the Soviet Union as China’s example for modernization. The Great Leap Forward from 1958-1961 was Mao’s version of the Soviet Union’s Five year Plan, and its goals were to create a modern communist society through industrialization and collectivization. Mao Zedong aimed to become a world power without foreign, mainly western, involvement, ideas, or capitalism and preached the idea of self-reliance. Mao did contribute to the modernization of China, however The Great Leap Forward is regarded as a failure and the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976 further prohibited much progress.
The economic reforms of Chinese Supreme Leader Deng Xiaoping are attributed to China’s economic success in the 21st century. Deng focused on four modernizations: agriculture, industry, national defense, and science and technology. The West was used as an example for several of these modernizations, however their management was completely Chinese. Deng began de-collectivization and allowed Township and Village Enterprises (TVE), Special Economic Zones (SEZ), foreign investment, profit incentive, and even privatization. While Mao advocated self-reliance, Deng generated foreign exchange to finance modernization. His famous quote is, "It doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice." Post Deng Reforms continued on this path which is acknowledged as a shift from the iron rice bowl to the porcelain rice bowl, or government owned to privatized. Although China’s economy has shifted towards privatization and capitalism, the PRC remains an authoritative regime, which is contradictory in comparison to other examples of countries that have modernized. Democracy is the political characteristic that has defined modernized nations in the past and the modernization theory suggests democracy follows with the development of a modernized state. China was late in modernization and has thus had many other countries as examples to base its model of modernization off of.
The One-Child Policy has also been a technique to contribute or even force the modernization of China. Instigated in 1978, the one-child policy has created a generation known as "singletons" or "little emperors" (xiao huangdi). "The Chinese state enforced a rapid fertility transition designed to cultivate a generation of "high-quality" people with resources and ambition to join the global elite." These little emperors are expected to compete with the first-world countries having no siblings to compete with for parental investment. Normally with modernization and urbanization smaller or nuclear families evolve as the result. China has switched this logic, hoping that creating the culture of the nuclear family with the one-child policy it will produce modernization.
At the beginning of the 21st century, China is still in the process of modernization. In 2010 it had the third greatest GDP and GDP (PPP) in the world with the world’s largest labor force, and is acknowledged as the world’s second largest economy. In 2010 its economy was still increasing in growth at 10.3%. China has also successfully joined the largely Western international arena with its membership of the UN in 1971, the WTO in 2001, and hosted the Olympics in 2008. China’s goal is to continue modernizing until it joins the first-world and becomes the core instead of the semi-periphery or periphery, from the core-periphery model.
The modernization of China through urbanization, industrialization, and economic policy has benefited the country economically as it rises as a world power in the 21st century. However it now is experiencing the problems associated the other modern countries and capitalism. These problems include the growing disparity between the rich and poor, urban vs. rural and migration, and ecological issues.
Modernizers in Korea in the late 19th century were torn between the American and the Japanese models. Most of the Koreans involved were educated Christians who saw America as their ideal model of civilization. However, most used Japan as a practical model - as an example of how a fellow East Asian country, which 30 years before was also backward, could succeed in civilizing itself. At the same time, reformists' nationalist reaction against the domineering, colonial behavior of the Japanese in Korea often took the form of an appeal to international (Western) standards of civilization. The Western-oriented worldview of the early Christian nationalist reformers was complex, multilayered, and often self-contradictory - with 'oppressive' features not easily distinguishable from 'liberational' ones. Their idealized image of the West as the only true, ideal civilization relegated much of Korea's traditional culture to a position of 'barbarism'.
The self-image of Koreans was formed through complex relationships with modernity, colonialism, Christianity, and nationalism. This formation was initiated by a change in the notion of 'civilization' due to the transformation of 'international society' and thereafter was affected by the trauma of Japanese colonization. Through the process of transition from a traditional Confucian notion of civilization to a Western notion of acceptance and resistance, Koreans shaped their civilization as well as their notions of the racial, cultural, and individual modern self. Western Orientalism, in particular, accompanied the introduction of the Western notion of civilization, which served as the background for forming the self-identity of Koreans. The fact that the Japanese version of Orientalism emerged from the domination of Korea by Japan played a critical role in shaping the self-identity of Koreans. Consequently, Korea still maintains an inferiority complex toward Western culture, ambivalent feelings toward Japanese culture, and biased - positive or negative - views of their own cultural traditions. Thus both modernization and colonization have shaped the formation or distortion of self-consciousness of non-Western peoples.
The US launched a decades-long intensive development starting in 1945 to modernize South Korea, with the goal of helping it become a model nation-state and an economic success. Agents of modernization at work in Korea included the US Army, the Economic Cooperation Administration, the UN Korean Reconstruction Agency, and a number of nongovernmental organizations, among them the Presbyterian Church, the YMCA, Boy Scouts and the Ford Foundation. Many Koreans migrated to California and Hawaii, and brought back firsthand accounts of modern business and governmental practices that they sought to adapt to Korean conditions.
Turkey, under Kemal Atatürk in the 1920s and 1930s, engaged in a systematic modernization program called "Kemalism". Hundreds of European scholars came to help. Together with Turkish intellectuals they developed a successful model of development.
Since independence, modernization has been a driving force for Chile's political elites. Ree (2007) analyzes projects of modernization that have been implemented from above since 1964. Despite their ideological differences and very different understandings of what modernity is, these projects shared key characteristics in their construction and implementation, such as the use of developmental theories, their state-orientation, the prominent role of technocrats and state-planning, and the capacity of adaptation in sight of civil unrest. These projects have produced patterns of modernity that have proven to be particularly stable.
The 60's is a time of liberation and vitality, with doubts and against conformism, the youth was activated in many activities by creating various groups which support new ideologies.And this picture is reflected to the music,art and cinema,the urban landscape was being tansformed and the technology was being developed very quickly. In the Greek reality of 1960 the arts were dominating and many artists influenced by the American culture. Also in the literature the developments were many and more specific. But developments in the literature was rich and multifarious adding colorful touches to the striking range of the decade. The first years of valuation of Greek modernism begins with the award of Elytis' "Axion Esti" (1960).The industrial revolution and the radicalization of society played a key role in the development of a new rationality in relation to the dominant. The zenith of Modernism was in all forms of art as in painting, poetry, literature, architecture, politics and religion, after the second World War.
Modernization has been attributed with creating positive development around the world, but in Modern times its ability to promote development, specifically in Africa, has been less than so. Modernization that has taken place in Africa can be described as something that has yet to benefit most of the African countries.
Modernization through development has led to problems in Nigeria by bringing in private, foreign owned oil companies that have been exploiting the natural resource wealth of the country. Because the oil companies are generally owned by a different nation, the profits are mostly being exported from Nigeria with only one fifteenth of the wealth produced in the region returning to it. Shell, the oil company operating in Ogoniland, Nigeria has helped the country develop and industrialize on a small scale, but it has primarily challenged the sovereignty and autonomy of Nigeria.
Modernization can be seen as a sort of westernization where western institutions such as national parks and industries are brought into existing cultures where their use does not make as much sense. Along with modernization comes a loss of culture and society, and the individual is strengthened. An African tribe known as the Ik was forced to change their habits due to modernization and the creation of individual countries caused by colonialism. Nationalization, as a tool of modernization, was imparted on Africa by colonialists who wanted to westernize and modernize tribal Africa. The creation of individual countries made life for the tribal Ik more difficult because they were forced out of their nomadic lifestyle into a settlement based around a newly founded national park that practically destroyed their livelihood by restricting their hunting grounds to specific non-park areas. The creation of national parks have had the effect of increasing cultivation which can be seen as good development because the people are no longer solely dependent on livestock. This creation of a new sort of livelihood has mixed improvements, because the tribal setting is not removed, rather it is put into a single place.
Scholars have long argued that democracy follows modernization, perhaps with a time lag. As Seymour Martin Lipset put it, "All the various aspects of economic development--industrialization, urbanization, wealth, and education--are so closely interrelated as to form one major factor which has the political correlate of democracy. In the 1960s some critics said the link each was too much based on European history, neglecting the Third World. Recent demonstrations of the emergence of democracy in South Korea, Taiwan and South Africa have tended to bolster the thesis.
The historical problem case has always been Germany, in which economic modernization in the 19th century came long before the move to democracy after 1918. Berman, however, concludes that a process of democratization was underway in Imperial Germany, for "during these years Germans developed many of the habits and mores that are now thought by political scientists to augur healthy political development.".
Inglehart, and Welzel (2009) contend that the realization of democracy is not based solely on an expressed desire for that form of government, but that democracies are born as a result of the admixture of certain social and cultural factors. They argue the ideal social and cultural conditions for the foundation of a democracy are born of significant modernization and economic development that result in mass political participation.
Peerenboom (2008) explores the relationships among democracy, the rule of law and their relationship to wealth by pointing to examples of Asian countries, such as Taiwan and South Korea, that have successfully democratized only after economic growth reached relatively high levels and to examples of countries such as the Philippines, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and India that sought to democratize at lower levels of wealth but have not done as well.
Adam Przeworski and others have challenged Lipset argument. They say political regimes do not transition to democracy as per capita incomes rise. Rather, democratic transitions occur randomly, but once there, countries with higher levels of gross domestic product per capita remain democratic. Epstein et al. (2006) retest the modernization hypothesis using new data, new techniques, and a three-way, rather than dichotomous, classification of regimes. Contrary to Przeworski, this study finds that the modernization hypothesis stands up well. Partial democracies emerge as among the most important and least understood regime types.
Highly contentious is the idea that modernization implies more human rights, with China in the 21st century being a major test case.
Development, like modernization, has become the orienting principle of our time. Countries that are seen as modern are also seen as developed, and that means that they are generally more respected by institutions such as the United Nations and even as possible trade partners for other countries. The extent to which a country has modernized or developed dictates its power and importance on the international level.
Modernization theory has been criticized, mainly because it conflated modernization with Westernization. In this model, the modernization of a society required the destruction of the indigenous culture and its replacement by a more Westernized one. Technically modernity simply refers to the present, and any society still in existence is therefore modern. Proponents of modernization typically view only Western society as being truly modern arguing that others are primitive or unevolved by comparison. This view sees unmodernized societies as inferior even if they have the same standard of living as western societies. Opponents of this view argue that modernity is independent of culture and can be adapted to any society. Japan is cited as an example by both sides. Some see it as proof that a thoroughly modern way of life can exist in a non-western society. Others argue that Japan has become distinctly more western as a result of its modernization. In addition, this view is accused of being Eurocentric, as modernization began in Europe with the industrial revolution, the French Revolution and the Revolutions of 1848, and has long been regarded as reaching its most advanced stage in Europe (by Europeans), and in Europe overseas (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.). Anthropologists typically make their criticism one step further generalized and say that this view is ethnocentric, not being specific to Europe, but Western culture in general.
There is a strong criticism of Modernization in Africa due to a major problem with governmental corruption that has ultimately slowed the development of African countries through wars and illegitimate financial activities that keep money out of the hands of the people. Modernization in theory, should lead to wealthier more economically productive countries, however, the corruption that runs rampant through Africa’s nations has not allowed for much of this prosperity and growth to take place. The destruction of the tribal identities of Africans into national identities has also helped lead to problems with development bubbles. These development bubbles occur when cities rise into the position of industrialization, but the areas outside of the city do not develop and therefore a big inequality of wealth distribution becomes apparent. Therefore many of the people who once worked the agricultural areas in Africa, move to cities where they are expecting to find jobs that will sustain them.
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<ref>tag; name "One-Child Policy" defined multiple times with different content
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- Andre Gunder Frank, Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution (1969)
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- Randall Peerenboom, China Modernizes: Threat to the West or Model for the Rest? (2008) p, 63. He suggests China will grant democracy human rights when it is as modern and as rich as the West per capita.
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