Modernization Theory

Da Silva, Anna
April 2018
Modernization Theory -- Research Starters Sociology;4/1/2018, p1
Research Starter
Modernization theory exemplifies a functionalist approach to inequality and focuses on the transition from 'traditional' to 'modern' society; it became an interdisciplinary (drawing on economics, political science, sociology, psychology, and history) approach to development and flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. Modernization theorists argued that modernization is inevitable, irreversible, and that the transformation from traditional to modern societies will occur in a linear way. That change can be achieved through 'diffusion' of modern economic and political institutions, technology and culture through foreign investment and aid, and through education and mass media. Diffusion - or spread - of capital, technological innovations, and cultural traditions from the developed to the underdeveloped countries is the mechanism which enables modernization. Modernization theory was widely criticized by the neo-Marxists, Dependency theorists, and world-systems researchers and was largely discredited in the 1970s.


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