Modernization is a new word for an
Smelser (1966) identified four distinct but
old phenomenon: the many- layered all inter-related processes of modernization
embracing process of social change in the in the areas of technology, agriculture,
developing areas. Social scientists con-
industry and ecological arrangements.
cerned with modernization have employed Marion Levy (1966) has presented a holistic
advanced, industrialized societies of the approach to modernization touching on a
West as a standard of reference to which whole gamut of structural variables and
developing societies are compared in an functional prerequisites which differentiate
attempt to delineate the processes of between relatively modernized and relative-
change that tend to transform the tradi-
ly non-modernized societies — a general
tional institutions and values in a way they taxonomy he developed. Rostow's (1960)
approximate the Western model of "Non-Communist Manifesto" lists five
modernity. And it appears that the stages of economic development through
numerous studies in this area fall into which every society will pass one day or
one of four general models of moder-
another. He has compressed epochs of
economic struggle in the history of
nations into a neatly drawn five-stage
1. Structural Models
model of transition that does not extend
a) Social system model
more than two centuries at the most.
b) Cultural system model
Rostow's historical evidence is based on
2. Social-Psychological Model
the limited experience of a few countries
3. Process Model
that constituted a highly homogeneous
4. Conflict Model
sample (excluding Japan). His thesis shows
several properties of the discredited uni-
Social System Model
linear evolutionary model: every society
will pass through five specific stages of
Smelser (1959), Rostow (1960), Apter economic growth leading eventually to the
(1965), Marion Levy (1966, 1972) Eisen-
golden age of mass consumption. But the
stadt (1966), Nettl and Robertson (1968), economic history of nations does not
Hunter (1969) and Huntington (1968) have necessarily support the Rostowian thesis.
all used some form of macrosociological
approach to explain the process of Cultural System
modernization as it alters and articulates
the institutional arrangements, systemic
The Cultural System model portrays the
attributes and structural concomitants of a dynamics of modernization in term of
given society. In this approach social changes in the normative structure of the
system is taken as the unit of analysis and community. Following the Weberian thesis
values are relegated to the background.
on protestant ethic and the rise of
* Prof. M. Francis Abraham is Associate Professor of Sociology, Grambling State Univer-
sity, Grambling, Louisiana.
** This Paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Anthropological
Society, Atlanta, April 2, 1976.

capitalism, several generations of socio-
that certain particularistic orientations such
logists have sought to determine a set of as joint family system in India have con-
cultural values that are crucial to tributed to successful entrepreneurship
modernization. Of course, these values are and rational bureaucracy.
the abstracted quintessence of the norma-
Moreover, categorization of values into
tive system of modern industrialized modern and traditional raises a host of
societies of the West. Exponents of the theoretical problems. Since the sociologist
model argue that traditional societies can is eager to avoid making value judgements,
be modernized only by the diffusion of he assumes that the values associated with
those values and cultural traits that modern societies are modern and those
characterize contemporary advanced
associated with underdeveloped societies
societies. Hoselitz (1963) used Parsonian are traditional. Now, how do we explain the
pattern variables to differentiate between fact that slavery was prevalent only in
traditional and modern societies and con-
civilized societies, while it was unknown
tend that the former is characterized by to preliterate, primitive societies?1 Simi-
the norms of ascription, particularism and larly, the "traditional orientation" of an
emphasize the norms of achievement, uni-
orthodox Hindu is characterized by uni-
versalism and specificity. Lipset (1967:6) versalism of the highest order reflected in
considers the combination of universalism his religious tolerance and the faith that
and achievement "most favourable to the all religions lead to the same ultimate
emergence of an industrial society since it destination. But the "progressive orienta-
encourages respect of deference towards tion" of "religious" men in the most
others on the basis of merit and places senate cultures is characterized by aggres-
emphasis on achievement." Cochran (1959), sive particularism reflected in their con-
Fillol (1961), Richard Morse (1958) and certed attempts' at proselytizing and con-
Willems (1953) show how strong kinship version. The popularity of local news-
ties and the tendency to view business papers in the U. S. towns and corres-
property very much like a family estate pondingly the absence of a community
tend to impede growth of technological press in the developing societies have
significant impact on the value-orienta-
efficiency and a rational bureaucracy in tion of people: the average American
Latin America.
tends to be a localite in his newspaper
It must, however, be pointed out that exposure whereas the average 'traditional'
the exponents of cultural system model man is — though not by choice — uni-
have taken the analytical categories of versally-oriented since his regional news-
pattern variables too seriously and over-
paper is more national and international
simplified the variegated normative struc-
than local. The political system in the
ture of societies by dichotomizing them in United States is predominantly particu-
bivariate terms. While Granick (1960) and laristic in at least three ways: family tradi-
Frank (1969) question the assumption that tion of voting preference of individual
industrially advanced nations are basically candidates over political parties and the
achievement-oriented, Herschman (1965) system of administrative appointments
and Weiner (1966) have convincingly argued
1. Of course, slavery could be interpreted in terms of rational economic orientation but,
then, its absence will have to be explained as a negation of that orientation. Or, it is
at least as plausible to contend that every rational orientation is not consistent with
the "ethic" of modernity.

which enable elected officials — Mayor or all, the so-called traditional values and
President — to confer political favours on belief systems are often a symptom of the
hundreds of thousands of people. In many general backwardness of the society and
developing societies which have inherited to explain them as the cause of their
the British system of parliamentary demo-
backwardness is as erroneous as to think
cracy and civil service administration, that a man's fever is the cause of his
candidates are elected on the basis of their disease.2
party affiliation and administrative posi-
tions are filled by an independent agency Social-Psychological Models
on the basis of merit. In addition, univer-
sities in these societies have a univer-
According to this perspective, favor-
salistic system of examination and compe-
able change in the personality structure
tition whereby examiners from other uni-
of social actors in the open sesame to
versities are enabled to determine the final modernization of a given social system.
grades of students. These observations are Here the emphasis is on changing life
merely intended to show that a blanket styles, belief systems and personality
label of bivariate value-orientations to attributes.
differentiate between traditional and McClelland (1961, 1963) explain not
modern societies is not always helpful.
only the dynamics of modernization but
Moreover, the advocates of pattern also the rise and fall of empires in terms
variable analysis occasionally resemble of child-rearing practices which induce or
Comte's secular priests in a curious fashion inhibit achievement motivation and con-
because of their assertion that traditional sequent entrepreneurial ability leading
societies, in order to modernize themselves, eventually to national economic develop-
must internalize the ethics of modernity ment. This theory of modernization in-
characteristic of advanced societies and volves numerous conceptual and metho-
meticulously follow their footprints. This dological problems. According to Mc-
assertion is a negation of historical reality. Clelland, achievement motivation is in-
A very significant association between consistent with the concern for affiliation
certain cultural values and technological and for power. In other words, if a man
progress in Western societies does not "worries a lot" about his family and
necessarily mean that these values are friends, or speculates on power, instead
essential prerequisites to the modernization of spending his time thinking about do-
of peasant societies. Lauer (1971) and ing things better he is low on achieve-
Fairbank et al (1965) show how countries ment motivation. This assertion is heavi-
in East Asia which are on the threshold ly loaded with the cultural bias of the
of modernization are at once maintaining Western social system where family and
and exploiting traditional cultural systems kinship ties are weak. Only in highly in-
in the wake of development and change. dividualistic societies is it possible to
Gerschenkron (1966) suggests the 'principle measure achievement motivation in terms
of substitutability' according to which dif-
of an individual's personal ambitions with-
ferent sets of values induce or impede out reference to his family obligations.
social change in different societies de-
Yet Rogers and his associates (Prodipto
pending on their structural situation. Above Roy, Fliegel et al 1968, 1969) have used
2. The author is indebted to Davis and Moore for this expression.

such a crude index of achievement moti-
in total societies and argued that the
vation in their study of modernization economic system of production and dis-
among Indian farmers. They operationaliz-
tribution could determine the social, cul-
ed the concept of achievement motiva-
tural and political structure of the
tion on the basis of peasants' responses society.
to three statements of which this one de-
Barrington Moore (1966) has made a
serves particular mention here: "One seminal contribution to our understand-
should succeed in one's occupation even ing of change in total societies through
though one has been neglectful of one's a systematic analysis of class antagonisms
family." Kumar (1970) and this author and class alliances. Moore has sought to
(1973) used the same data to study the identify the historical constellations and
dynamics of modernization in India and structural concomitants which produce or
found little relationship between n prevent peasant revolutions. And Di Tella
achievement scores and other variables (1969:68) has singled out three bases for
of modernization. In the kinship-centered social revolutionary movements in under-
Indian rural community, the test of an developed countries: (1) Elements drawn
individual's achievement motivation does from the poorly organized urban working
not lie in his self-seeking or high occupa-
class, (2) poorer sections of the peasantry
tional aspirations at the expense of his and (3) discontented segments of lower
family; rather the real test of achievement middle class and intelligentsia who con-
motivation in the Indian context lies in stitute an elite of professional revolu-
the extent to which an individual is will-
tionaries. He explains how demonstration
ing to make sacrifices for the success of effect, revolution of rising expectations
his own family. For instance, asking the and status incongruence produce discon-
respondent if he is willing to sell part of tent among various classes leading even-
his landed property in order to keep his tually to types of populist movements.
son in college (which many parents do)
Despite the few studies reviewed here,
could provide a better index of one's the conflict theory is inadequately deve-
achievement motivation than asking him loped to account for the process and
if he wanted to succeed in his occupation dynamics of change in the developing so-
even though he is neglectful of his cieties and sociology has not yet develop-
ed a generalized conflict model of moder-
nization. But the potentials of a conflict
Conflict Models
model as a tool for the analysis of
modernization cannot be overemphasized.
Conflict theories seek to analyze the Speaking in broad terms, the areas of con-
processes of modernization in terms of flict in the developing societies could be
descensus, disequilibrium or revolutionary outlined as follows:
upheavals. Marx is undoubtedly a pioneer-
ing theorist of social conflict who develop-
1. Conflict of classes. The landless
ed the evolutionary theory of revolution
peasantry, landed aristocracy, com-
to explain how various socio-economic
mercial and industrial middle classes,
systems like feudalism, capitalism and
incongruent groups among the
socialism emerge and transform them-
salaried professionals and bureau-
selves. He made extensive use of class
crats, and the political and military
struggle as a tool for the analysis of change
elites represent possibilities of re-

volution and counter revolution well as conceptual analyses — under-
through expedient alliances and bit-
taken from this perspective is quite large.
ter class struggles.
One of the most important process
2. Conflict of values. The cultural model analyses is the communication
system of every developing society theory of modernization exemplified in the
is a perpetual battle-field where the works of Lerner (1958), Pye (1963), Pool
forces of modernity and tradition (1967), Rogers (1969), Schram (1964)
meet. The conflict of values creates Lerner and Schram (1967), Deutchmann
structural strain, dissensus, dis-
(1963), Doob (1961) and Frey (1966).
equilibrium, and the erosion — if Mass communication is deemed to be a
not the complete breakdown — of catalytic agent in the process of moderni-
some of the old normative struc-
zation. Rogers (1969:37) has termed mass
tures and facilitates the emergence media as the 'magic multiplier.' "Attend-
of new norms and value-orienta-
ance to the mass meda is a broadener of
horizons, an informer, and a persuader
3. Conflict of personality. The con-
for change." The conceptual model under-
cepts like demonstration effect, re-
lying Rogers' (1969:102) communication
volution of rising expectations, theory of modernization is the paradigm
status incongruence, relative depri-
that certain antecedents like literacy,
vation and achievement motivation education, social status, age and cosmo-
illustrate variations of personality politeness are mediated and processually
conflict within the individuals. articulated by mass media exposure
Educational revolution, gap between which transforms these antecedent vari-
aspirations and achievement, con-
ables into traits of modernity such as
flict of loyalties and the absence of empathy, agricultural and home innova-
adequate opportunities would in-
tiveness, political knowledge, achievement
crease frustration leading to wide-
motivation and educational aspirations.
spread social discontent.
Srinivas (1966) analyses social change
in modern India in terms of four univer-
New theories of social conflict are need-
sal processes: Westernization, Sanskriti-
ed for the meaningful analyses of these zation, Secularization and Politicization.
conflict areas.
Secularization is, perhaps, the most effec-
tive single process underlying Socio-cul-
Process Model
tural change in developing societies. This
assertion is supported by Fals Borda's
Whereas the previous models deal with (1962) evidence from the Colombian
the relevance of systems, conflict between rural community and Halperin's (1963 :19)
systems or personality structure for so-
report from the middle East which has
cietal change, process model seeks to ex-
witnessed "the disintegration of a "social
plain modernization in terms of certain system founded in God's final word."
pervasive processes like secularization, Whereas Hoselitz and Moore (1963) and
communication, industrialization, urbani-
Moore (1965) find industrialization as the
zation and Westernization which set in prime mover of modernization, Breese
motion a chain of disruptive consequences (1966) treats urbanization as the key to
in developing countries. The number of social change in the developing areas.
studies — empirical investigations as Finally the numerous sociological treatises

that deal with developmental change or been admitted into the warehouse of
planned social change, community deve-
modern sociological vocabulary, not
lopment and rural extension may be con-
through the backdoor in disguise but
sidered to be variants of the processual through the front-door in the plain jargon
of modernization which represents a lot
Having discussed the various models of of "good" things which industrialized
modernization, we may now examine some societies have in abundance and which
of the general conceptual and methodo-
the developing societies are lacking but
logical shortcomings of these approaches. should have if they are to survive.
In the first place, most of the studies Moore's (1963:89-90) assertion is typical
reviewed above tend to define moderni-
of this lopsided value-orientation. "What
zation in terms of 'modernity' which is is involved in modernization is a "total"
the abstracted quintessence of the Socio-
transformation of a traditional or pre-
cultural system of the Western industrializ-
modern society into the types of techno-
ed society. Their referent is the ideal-
logy and associated social organization
typical 'modern' capitalist society and that characterize the "advanced" econo-
their model of 'modern' man is every mically prosperous, and relatively politi-
actor in this social system who is the cally stable nations of the Western World.
embodiment of rationality. In this curi-
Because so many aspects of the social
ously one-sided notion of modernity, so-
order in the underdeveloped areas of the
cial change in the developing areas be-
world do not conform to the models
comes meaningful only insofar as it re-
set by the advanced countries, there is
flects a motivated emulation of the so-
room for improvement in practically any
called modern societies and their consti-
direction one looks."
One of the theoretical consequences of
Second, modernization is considered a this unidirectional evolutionary model of
unilinear or unidirectional process, for modernization is the underlying assump-
developing societies tend to follow the tion that there is only one safe road to
footprints of Western industrialized Rome. Whether it is the Rostowian thesis
societies with the hope of being able to of take-off, communication theory of
join them eventually. Hoselitz (1965:94) rural-urban linkage, or pattern variable
visualizes an "economic unification of analysis of value-orientation the implicit
mankind" which could be attributed assumption is that all developing societies
"primarily to greater approximation of are treading a well defined path. This is
some of the basic Socio-cultural and absolute negation of historical realities.
psychological attitudes in various coun-
The advanced, industrialized societies like
tries." Of course, sociologists shun the England and the United States which
idea of progress and have rejected Comte's serve as modernization models have pass-
theory of unilinear evolution. The con-
ed through several stages of evolution
cept of evolution was replaced by that and revolution and have witnessed the
of social change so as to avoid the con-
emergence and demise of numerous histo-
notation of progress but today social rical constellations. Colonialism. Laissez-
change is being substituted by moderni-
faire creed, protestant ethic, bourgeois
zation. The very notions of evolution and revolution, unique class alliances and
progress once rejected as subjective, value-
religious rivalries all produced social
orientational and unscientific have now disturbances leading to an unplanned

process of modernization. But the newly advanced societies intense resistance to
emerging nationals have in front of them change could be identified in certain areas
the vast experiences of early modernizers, like political ideology, religious beliefs,
and the new elites in these countries are and the free enterprise creed. All over
working out for themselves a planned the world, vast segments of rural popu-
path of socio-economic development which lation hitherto "unalterably committed"
would not only constrain the social dis-
to a life of tradition and status quo have
turbances experienced by the pioneers accepted revolutionary ideologies of some
but also reduce the social cost of moder-
kind — populism, democratic socialism,
or communism — and have risen in
Another criticism of most of these violent rebellion to establish a new
theories is their preoccupation with the social order, whereas the ideology of
obstacles to change in developing socie-
socialism, the concept of welfare state and
ties. Sunkel (Veliz, 1969: 116-17) de-
even the teaching of Darwinian theory in
plores the widespread tendency among public schools (at least until recently),
students of modernization to treat the were vehemently opposed by sections of
process of social change in terms of "a people in the most modern society. Third-
dialectical interplay of two types of anta-
ly, most treaties on modernization because
gonistic social forces" — positive and of their preoccupation with the polar
progressive versus negative and re-
extremes of tradition and modernity, or
actionary. "This may easily lead to a stagnation and change, have completely
dogmatic division of the various actors of overlooked how often traditional socie-
the social drama into good and bad, as ties have silently absorbed the most
neatly contrasted as black and white."
violent changes and institutionalized them
The fundamental assumption underly-
in their structural framework. Srinivas'
ing most of the theoretical models of (1966) discussion of Sanskritization by
modernization is that the traditional means of which lower castes in the
societies resist change because change is 'closed' system of stratification gained
disruptive. This assumption — labelled as upward mobility and legitimized their
the fallacy of trauma by Lauer (1971) — higher status through the ages is an illu-
is unfounded for several reasons. In the stration in point. Fals Borda (Velis, 1969)
first place, tradition is not all static; nor shows how 'violencia' has become an
is change synonymous with revolution — institutionalized phenomenon in the
political or technological. Modernity is break-up of tradition in Colombia, and
not what is grafted on to a traditional Halpern (1963) explains how the power-
society from an alien system, but change ful force of consensus based on Islamic
is ubiquitous and built into any system tradition in the middle East now asserts"
including the most "proverbial". Second-
itself as a secular force inducing moder-
ly, resistance to change is selective and nization.
should not be construed to mean that all
While discussing the cultural system
structural properties associated with the model of modernization we have made
traditional societies inhibit change and the point that the dichotomization of
those associated with the advanced values into modern and traditional is one
societies induce change. Rather, we should of the most fundamental errors in the
ask the question: resistance to what analysis of modernization. Let us now
change and why? Even in the most expatiate that point a little further. The

general assumption may be stated thus: the current state of modernization. Simi-
distinctly different sets of values are asso-
larly, although achievement, universalism
ciated with developed societies and deve-
and specificity are typically characteristic
loping societies; the values associated with of the contemporary American society, we
the former are based on rationality and cannot prove conclusively that they were
they are prerequisites of modernization, the same qualities that provided the im-
whereas the values associated with the pulse to modernization in the early stages.
developing societies are based on tradi-
On the other hand, there is evidence to
tion and they impede technological indicate that frontier families were ascrip-
change. Reduced to specificity, the para-
tive and particularistic. Granick (1960) and
digm runs like this: to be modern is to Frank (1969) have convincingly demons-
be rational, to be rational is to be trated how ascription and particularism are
Western,3 and therefore, to be modern is still dominant in the economic domain of
to be Western. Tradition and rationality the present day American society. The as-
are antithetical; so are rural and urban. sumption that familism is an impediment to
This orientation in the contemporary economic progress seems untenable when
literature on modernization may be term-
we consider the Jewish family enterprises
ed as ideational antithesis which postu-
in the United States and the successful
lates that the values associated with business ventures of various religious
modern and traditional societies are anti-
communities in India, particularly
thetical and that the latter can moder-
"Marwari, Jain and Parsi entrepreneurs in
nize only by discarding their own values India, (who) though committed to
and internalizing those attributed to family particularism, have impressive re-
modern societies.
cords of successful entrepreneurship."
(Weiner, 1966:6).
The ideational antithesis often reflects
the ethnocentric, egoistic perspective of
Several studies (of Lerner, 1958;
the ideal-typical 'modern man'. Moreover, Inkeles, 1969; Rogers, 1969) have conclud-
it is at once a logical and historical fal-
ed that traditionalism is inextricably
lacy to equate the present conditions pre-
intertwined with lack of empathy, fatalism
vailing in the modern societies with the and lack of achievement motivation.
prerequisites of modernization for deve-
However, most researchers have taken
loping societies. Several of the current this association for granted without ever
structural functional characteristics of attempting to study whether and to what
modern societies were themselves pro-
extent these variables are responsible for
ducts rather than producers of moderni-
underdevelopment. Moreover, operation-
zation in these societies. Whereas religi-
alization of these variables for cross-
ous oppression, laissez-faire creed and cultural analyses has been consistently
protestant ethic with its emphasis on inconsistent with the cultural realities of
asceticism contributed to the socio-econo-
the target system. Lerner (1963:332) has
mic development of the U.S., they are no termed empathy as the lubricant of
longer significant variables in explaining modernization and as "the greatest
3. Considering his military strategy and military organization, was not Hitler rational?
But it is precisely the rise of Hitler that exploded the myth of the rational model of
man. Can we claim, then, that rationality, modernity and 'westernism' are always com-
patible? Is rationality above all value-orientations? Is the Western man always ra-
tional? Or, is it not at least as possible to demonstrate the co-existence of non-rationa-
lity and modernity in a given social system or a social actor? .

characterological transformation in
China, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia
modern history." But he measured have adopted several staple crops which
empathy by asking the poor, illiterate are not indigenous to these areas.
peasants of Balgat what they would do
There is impressive evidence to suggest
if they were the President of Turkey. that the importance of fatalism in the
The question was rejected out of hand process of modernization is grossly
by the respondents who could not con-
exaggerated. There seem to be two
ceive the possibility of occupying such rational explanations for peasant fatalism:
a role, let alone think of the behaviors
expected of the role. But Lerner has
1. Peasant fatalism is often a reflection
jumped to the conclusion that these pea-
of his perception of social reality. Far-
sants have very low empathy* and are, mers' inability to project the image of a
therefore, traditionalists, although he has doctor or engineer when confronted with
not shown anywhere in his voluminous the question of "what would you like
work any significant relationship between your son to become?" is regarded as lack
empathy and development. The logic is of educational aspiration and achievement
simple: a significant association between motivation or "clear evidence" of their
low empathy and tradition is considered fatalism. Even though the question fails
adequate proof for a significant negative to make any distinction between one's
correlation between low empathy and pious wishes and legitimate expectations,
development and hence empathy is the modern man has interpreted peasants'
considered the lubricant of modernization. sense of realism as sense of fatalism.
This inverse logic is typical of many
studies in modernization.
2. Peasant fatalism is an expost facto
Fatalism is another significant variable explanation for failures due to factors
in most of the modernization studies. But beyond his control. In other words, the
once again the assumption is that the farmer tends to take shelter under the
peasant in less developed countries is fatalistic umbrella when intermittent
fatalistic and that fatalism is inconsistent droughts have dried his hopes or when
with progressive orientation. However, recurring floods have washed off his
those who equated fatalism with tradi-
ambition. Ruth Krulfeld's (1966) study of
tionalism have not proven the negative fatalism in Indonesia is significant for the
association between the former and eco-
conclusion that "fate is more commonly
nomic development. On the other hand, used as the after-the-fact explanation rather
Wharton (Weiner, 1966:264) refers to than an inhibiting factor, insofar as beha-
"a rapidly growing body of irrefutable vior is concerned." Moreover, Plath (1966),
evidence that peasant and subsistence Eberhard (1966) and Ingersoll (1961)
farmers are indeed "economic men" who have effectively shown that farmers do
respond positively and negatively to not use fatalism as an excuse for inaction
economic stimuli as quickly as the most (see also Wharton, 1966) but try to do
commercialized farmers in the modern everything possible to manipulate fate
world." He has effectively documented and use fatalism only to justify their in-
how subsistence farmers in Western ability to combat forces of nature. In any
4. One wonders what would be the position on Lerner's empathy scale of a top manager
of rational American bureaucracy who is confronted with the question: What would
you do if you were to become the legendary magician of the Oceanic Islanders?

event, students of modernization have yet variables — in this case fatalism and
to prove how and to what extent fatalism tradition — does not establish that anti-
impedes socio-economic development; the thetical relationship between two other
significant association between two variables.
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