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Modernization

Modernization describes the processes that increase the amount of specialization and differentiation of structure in societies resulting in the move from an undeveloped society to developed, technologically driven society (Irwin 1975). By this definition, the level of modernity within a society is judged by the sophistication of its technology, particularly as it relates to infrastructure, industry, and the like. However, it is important to note the inherent ethnocentric bias of such assessment. Why do we assume that those living in semi-peripheral and peripheral nations would find it so wonderful to become more like the core nations? Is modernization always positive?

One contradiction of all kinds of technology is that they often promise time-saving benefits, but somehow fail to deliver. How many times have you ground your teeth in frustration at an Internet site that refused to load or at a dropped call on your cell phone? Despite time-saving devices such as dishwashers, washing machines, and, now, remote control vacuum cleaners, the average amount of time spent on housework is the same today as it was fifty years ago. And the dubious benefits of 24/7 e-mail and immediate information have simply increased the amount of time employees are expected to be responsive and available. While once businesses had to travel at the speed of the U.S. postal system, sending something off and waiting until it was received before the next stage, today the immediacy of information transfer means there are no such breaks.

Further, the Internet bought us information, but at a cost. The morass of information means that there is as much poor information available as trustworthy sources. There is a delicate line to walk when core nations seek to bring the assumed benefits of modernization to more traditional cultures. For one, there are obvious procapitalist biases that go into such attempts, and it is short-sighted for western governments and social scientists to assume all other countries aspire to follow in their footsteps. Additionally, there can be a kind of neo-liberal defense of rural cultures, ignoring the often crushing poverty and diseases that exist in peripheral nations and focusing only on a nostalgic mythology of the happy peasant. It takes a very careful hand to understand both the need for cultural identity and preservation as well as the hopes for future growth.

Summary

There are numerous and varied causes of social change. Four common causes, as recognized by social scientists, are technology, social institutions, population, and the environment. All four of these areas can impact when and how society changes. And they are all interrelated: a change in one area can lead to changes throughout. Modernization is a typical result of social change. Modernization refers to the process of increased differentiation and specialization within a society, particularly around its industry and infrastructure. While this assumes that more modern societies are better, there has been significant pushback on this western-centric view that all peripheral and semi-peripheral countries should aspire to be like North America and Western Europe.

Short answer

Consider one of the major social movements of the twentieth century, from civil rights in the United States to Gandhi’s nonviolent protests in India. How would technology have changed it? Would change have come more quickly or more slowly? Defend your opinion.

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Discuss the digital divide in the context of modernization. Is there a real concern that poorer communities are lacking in technology? Why, or why not?

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Which theory do you think better explains the global economy: dependency theory (global inequity is due to the exploitation of peripheral and semi-peripheral nations by core nations) or modernization theory? Remember to justify your answer and provide specific examples.

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Do you think that modernization is good or bad? Explain, using examples.

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References

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Center for Biological Diversity. 2014. "The Extinction Crisis. Retrieved December 18, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). n.d. "Technology and Youth: Protecting your Children from Electronic Aggression: Tip Sheet." Retrieved December 18, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Freidman, Thomas. 2005. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century . New York, NY: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux.

Gao, Huiji, Geoffrey Barbier, and Rebecca Goolsby. 2011. "Harnessing the Crowdsourcing Power of Social Media for Disaster Relief." IEEE Intelligent Systems. 26, no. 03: 10–14.

Irwin, Patrick. 1975. “An Operational Definition of Societal Modernization.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 23:595–613.

Klein, Naomi. 2008. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Picador.

Kolbert, Elizabeth. 2014. The Sixth Extinction. New York: Henry Holt and Co.

Megan Meier Foundation. 2014a. "Megan Meier Foundation." Retrieved December 18, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Megan Meier Foundation. 2014b. "Megan's Story." Retrieved December 18, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Miller, Laura. 2010. “Fresh Hell: What’s Behind the Boom in Dystopian Fiction for Young Readers?” The New Yorker , June 14. Retrieved December 26, 2011 ( (External Link) ).

Mullins, Dexter. 2014. "New Orleans to Be Home to Nation's First All-Charter School District." Al Jazeera America. Retrieved December 18, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

Robers, Simone, Jana Kemp, Jennifer, Truman, and Thomas D. Snyder. 2013. Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2012. National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education, and Bureau of Justice Statistics, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice: Washington, DC. Retrieved December 17, 2014 ( (External Link) ).

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Questions & Answers

Please help me about religious perspectives on gender development
Hafeez Reply
Religious dimension of gender development
Hafeez
outline the condition in europe during the 18th and 19th centuries that contributed to the development of sociology
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lucky Reply
discuss five factors that contributed to the emergence of sociology as an academic discipline
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Caroline Reply
What is sociology
Celestina Reply
sociology is the study of groups and their way of interaction in the society
lucky
discuss the roles the family has failed as a primary agent of socialisation?
Lotyang Reply
the family has failed as a primary agent of socialisation because it has not been able to inculcate the needed values to bring unity in the society
Damba
please what are the stages in social movement
faith Reply
social movement is the movement where people gathered and keep their own demand to fullfill it social movement generally casus by name of women,untouchbility,dominance in the country
unknown
it also cause in emergence and decline of devlopment then aslo social movement causes generally
unknown
stages in social movement involved people's coming together for the means of interaction and for the welfare of the society
lucky
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Simon Reply
factors that led to the emergence of sociology as an academic discipline
Evans
group life. historical dominancy. cultural variability, complex way of life. social classes and social crisis
Waqar
 The rise and development of sociology is based on political, economic, demographic, social and scientific changes.
Mohamed
sociology is the study of society and their behaviors and also their culture
anwar
theories of sociology
abdinur
sociology is the study of human behaviour
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sociology is the scientific study of behavioural perspective of human being towards their environmental change, cultural reliability, and all sphere of social value, norms that exhibit their socialisation in the society.
omotunde
question please? why do people deviate from societal norm
lucky
people violate the social rules and norms because they are incapable of been meet up with the societal goals. They lack means of achieving societal means to achieve societal goals.
omotunde
people deviate in society because of they belief and characters .
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social issues faced in India
Alan Reply
poverty untouchbility corruption child marraige overpopulation all this are the big issues of social in india:)
unknown
reservation system, polluted politics, people's exploration, illiteracy, etc.
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elia Reply
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family or marriage ?
asad
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?
asad
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Sukhjit Reply
family is type of relationship in this it deals with positive and negative tearms and conditions
unknown
who's a sociologist
Denis Reply
family is a group of people who are lived under one roof and they have a biological relation.
what is the origin and development of sociology?
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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