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Discuss The Main Features Of Two Theories Of Development

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Autor:   •  April 3, 2011  •  1,069 Words (5 Pages)  •  886 Views

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Modernity is defined as the state or quality of being modern and the theories of development have emerged as a result of this concept. Sociology and Modernity developed hand in hand and were based on similar foundations. Rational forms of thought and organisation; a belief in the ability and right of humans to shape and control their own lives; faith that technology and science could fix human problems and reliance upon manufacturing industries to improve living standards are some of the concepts involved in Modernity. Life in the present through improvement and progress is fundamentally different than life in the past. For most of its history, sociological thinking has been dominated by this approach, however, some analysts, including sociologists, believes that the era of Modernity is or has been replaced by the post - modern era.

Two of theories I will discuss emerged from Modernity, they are the Modernisation and Dependency theories.

Modernisation Theory

Modernisation is the term used for the transition from traditional societies of the past to modern societies as they are found today in the West. Modernisation theory refers to the perspectives put forward to explain the development or underdevelopment of countries. Modern societies are marked by high production, high consumption,

individualism, liberal democracy, specialisation, the model of modernity is

the West, in particular the USA.

Modernisation Theory employs a fundamental distinction between traditional and modern society - all societies can be located on an evolutionary scale which runs from traditional feudal type societies to modern industrial societies - a society can be positioned on this scale according to its stage of development. Underdevelopment is located internally within an undeveloped country.

Modernisation theory offers an account of the common features of the process of development drawing on the analysis of Durkheim and Weber. Development implies the bridging of these gaps by an imitative process, occurring in stages, such that traditional societies gradually assume the qualities of the modern western countries.

All societies follow a common, linear path to modernity, passing through according to W W Rostow 5 recognizable stages along the way.

Traditional Modern

Sudan____________________________________________ USA

Simple Highly complex

Society Industrial Society

Social change is unidirectional, from primitive to an advanced state; the fate of human evolution is predetermined. The movement towards the final phase is good because it represents progress, humanity and civilization defined in accordance with Western cultural parameters. Social change is evolutionary not revolutionary.

Modernisation theory may be useful in helping us to understand a society better if we can identify its stage of development. Governments may develop polices and identify and remove barriers to development. Imitation of modern countries will eventually see a rationally society progress into a modern more advanced society.

However a persistent feature of this theory is that traditional societies are


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