modernization, modernization theory
A term and approach that came into widespread use in the early 1960s, as a consequence of the efforts by a group of development specialists in the United States to develop an alternative to the Marxist account of social development.
In its most sophisticated variants, modernization theory explains modernization by reference to the onset of the process that Talcott Parsons refers to as structural differentiation . This is a process which may be triggered in many different ways, but which is most likely to be initiated by changes in either technology or values (as in Parson's ‘pattern variable’ schema). As a result of this process, institutions multiply, the simple structures of traditional societies are transformed into the complex ones of modern societies, and values come to bear a striking resemblance to those current in the United States of the 1960s.
A good example of the genre is the work of the American comparative sociologist Alex Inkeles, best known for his many studies of the attitudinal aspects of modernization, mostly using survey data and psychological tests to explore ‘the process whereby people move from being traditional to become modern personalities’ (see, for example, his article on’Industrial Man’ in the American journal of Sociology, 1960, and the jointly authored Becoming Modern, 1974). These sorts of studies of national character and personality type are also now thought to be contentious. See also development, sociology of.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

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  • modernization — UK US (UK also modernisation) /ˌmɒdənaɪˈzeɪʃən/ US  /ˌmɒdərnəˈzeɪʃən/ noun [U] ► the process of starting to use the most recent methods, ideas, equipment, etc. so that something becomes or seems more modern: »The modernization of the 100 year old …   Financial and business terms

  • Modernization — Mod ern*i*za tion, n. The act of rendering modern in style; the act or process of causing to conform to modern of thinking or acting. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • modernization — index development (progression), innovation, renewal Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • modernization — (n.) 1770, from MODERNIZE (Cf. modernize) + ATION (Cf. ation) …   Etymology dictionary

  • modernization — (Amer.) mod·ern·i·za·tion || ‚mÉ‘dÉ™rnəɪ zeɪʃn /‚mÉ’dna n. advancement; process of becoming modern (also modernisation) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Modernization — Sociology …   Wikipedia

  • modernization — See modernize. * * * Transformation of a society from a rural and agrarian condition to a secular, urban, and industrial one. It is closely linked with industrialization. As societies modernize, the individual becomes increasingly important,… …   Universalium

  • modernization — UK [ˌmɒdə(r)naɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n] / US [ˌmɑdərnɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n] noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms modernization : singular modernization plural modernizations the process of modernizing something …   English dictionary

  • modernization — noun Modernization is used before these nouns: ↑programme …   Collocations dictionary

  • modernization — mod|ern|i|za|tion [ ,madərnı zeıʃn ] noun count or uncount the process of modernizing something: an ambitious modernization program …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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