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An Essay on Modernization

It has been very aptly said that “modernization is the current term of an old prices – the process of social change where by less developed societies acquire characteristics common to more developed societies. The process is facilitated, sometimes hastened by international, or intersocietal, communications. The developed societies transmit images of their developed states to traditional societies. Such transmission has became very frequent and efficiencies since World War II, thanks to the expansion of mass media. The mass media have been called the mobility multiplier, because these images of developed societies arouse among people of traditional societies a hankering for a better or higher standard of living. The mechanism by which such expectations are aroused is known as empathy. Empathy is the psychic mechanism that enables a person to put himself in another person’s situation – to identify him with a role time or place difference from his own. Among the range of psychic mechanisms that supply imaginations, empathy is distinctively the one that nourishes upward mobility. The mechanism may or may not be innate, but it can certainly be trained to operate more efficiently in people with a desire to better themselves. Since World War II such training has been supplied by the mass media of print film and radio. Karl Marx noted over a century ago in the preface to Das Kapital. The country that is more developed industrial only shows, to the less developed the image of its own future.

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Criteria of Modernity

If modernization is the process whereby less developed societies acquire characteristics common to more developed societies, the next important task is to identity the characteristics which are common to more developed societies that is, to identify the criteria of modernity.

Sociologists have not yet arrived at a consensus about the criteria of modernity. But there has been a broad agreement among scholars on certain key points concerning modernization. These key point are

  • A degree of self-sustaining growth in the economy or at least growth sufficient to increase both production and consumption regularly
  • A measure of public participation in the polity – or at least democratic representation in defining and choosing policy alternatives
  • A diffusion of secularization norms in the culture – understood approximately in librarian – personalize terms
  • An ingredient of mobility in the society, understood in terms of urbanization, spread of literacy and media participation and
  • A corresponding transformation in the modal personality that equips individuals to functions effectively in social order that operates according to foregoing.
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