Critical Theories of Globalization

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Highly contentious is the idea that modernization implies more human rights, with China in the 21st century being a major test case. New technology is a major source of social change. Social change refers to any significant alteration over time in behavior patterns and cultural values and norms.

Since modernization entails the social transformation from agrarian societies to industrial ones, it is important to look at the technological viewpoint; however, new technologies do not change societies by itself. Rather, it is the response to technology that causes change. Frequently, technology is recognized but not put to use for a very long time such as the ability to extract metal from rock.

Technology makes it possible for a more innovated society and broad social change.

Frank Lechner Globalization theories. World Culture Theory

That dramatic change through the centuries that has evolved socially, industrially, and economically, can be summed up by the term modernization. Cell phones, for example, have changed the lives of millions throughout the world. That is especially true in Africa and other parts of the Middle East , where there is a low cost communication infrastructure. With cell phone technology, widely dispersed populations are connected, which facilitates business-to-business communication and provides internet access to remoter areas, with a consequential rise in literacy.

Development, like modernization, has become the orienting principle of modern times. Countries that are seen as modern are also seen as developed, which means that they are generally more respected by institutions such as the United Nations and even as possible trade partners for other countries.

The extent to which a country has modernized or developed dictates its power and importance on the international level. Modernization of the health sector of developing nations recognizes that transitioning from ' traditional ' to 'modern' is not merely the advancement in technology and the introduction of Western practices; implementing modern healthcare requires the reorganization of political agenda and, in turn, an increase in funding by feeders and resources towards public health.

However, rather than replicating the stages of developed nations, whose roots of modernization are found with the context of industrialization or colonialism , underdeveloped nations should apply proximal interventions to target rural communities and focus on prevention strategies rather than curative solutions. That has been successfully exhibited by the Christian Medical Commission and in China through ' barefoot doctors '. Additionally, a strong advocate of the DE-emphasis of medical institutions was Halfdan T. Related ideas have been proposed at international conferences such as Alma-Ats and the "Health and Population in Development" conference, sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation in Italy in , and selective primary healthcare and GOBI were discussed although they have both been strongly criticized by supporters of comprehensive healthcare.

Modernization theorists often saw traditions as obstacles to economic growth. According to Seymour Martin Lipset, economic conditions are heavily determined by the cultural, social values present in that given society. Critics insist that traditional societies were often destroyed without ever gaining the promised advantages if, among other things, the economic gap between advanced societies and such societies actually increased.

The net effect of modernization for some societies was therefore the replacement of traditional poverty by a more modern form of misery , according to these critics. President John F. Kennedy —63 relied on economists W. Rostow on his staff and outsider John Kenneth Galbraith for ideas on how to promote rapid economic development in the " Third World ", as it was called at the time.

They promoted modernization models in order to reorient American aid to Asia, Africa and Latin America. In the Rostow version in his The Stages of Economic Growth progress must pass through five stages, and for underdeveloped world the critical stages were the second one, the transition, the third stage, the takeoff into self-sustaining growth.

Rostow argued that American intervention could propel a country from the second to the third stage he expected that once it reached maturity, it would have a large energized middle class that would establish democracy and civil liberties and institutionalize human rights. The result was a comprehensive theory that could be used to challenge Marxist ideologies, and thereby repel communist advances. Kennedy proclaimed the s the "Development Decade" and substantially increased the budget for foreign assistance.

Modernization theory supplied the design, rationale, and justification for these programs.


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The goals proved much too ambitious, and the economists in a few years abandoned the European-based modernization model as inappropriate to the cultures they were trying to impact. Kennedy and his top advisers were working from implicit ideological assumptions regarding modernization. They firmly believed modernity was not only good for the target populations, but was essential to avoid communism on the one hand or extreme control of traditional rural society by the very rich landowners on the other.

They believed America had a duty, as the most modern country in the world, to promulgate this ideal to the poor nations of the Third World. They wanted programs that were altruistic, and benevolent—and also tough, energetic, and determined. It was benevolence with a foreign policy purpose.

Michael Latham has identified how this ideology worked out in three major programs the Alliance for Progress, the Peace Corps, and the strategic hamlet program in South Vietnam. However, Latham argues that the ideology was a non-coercive version of the modernization goals of the imperialistic of Britain, France and other European countries in the 19th century. From the s, modernization theory has been criticized by numerous scholars, including Andre Gunder Frank — [27] and Immanuel Wallerstein born By one definition, modern simply refers to the present, and any society still in existence is therefore modern.

Proponents of modernization typically view only Western society as being truly modern and argue that others are primitive or unevolved by comparison. That view sees unmodernized societies as inferior even if they have the same standard of living as western societies. Opponents argue that modernity is independent of culture and can be adapted to any society.

Japan is cited as an example by both sides. Some see it as proof that a thoroughly modern way of life can exist in a non western society. Others argue that Japan has become distinctly more western as a result of its modernization. As Tipps has argued, by conflating modernization with other processes, with which theorists use interchangeably democratization, liberalization, development , the term becomes imprecise and therefore difficult to disprove.

The theory has also been criticised empirically, as modernization theorists ignore external sources of change in societies. The binary between traditional and modern is unhelpful, as the two are linked and often interdependent, and 'modernization' does not come as a whole. Modernization theory has also been accused of being Eurocentric , as modernization began in Europe, with the Industrial Revolution , the French Revolution and the Revolutions of Macionis and has long been regarded as reaching its most advanced stage in Europe.

Anthropologists typically make their criticism one step further and say that the view is ethnocentric and is specific to Western culture. One alternative model on the left is Dependency theory. It emerged in the s and argues that the underdevelopment of poor nations in the Third World derived from systematic imperial and neo-colonial exploitation of raw materials.

It is a central contention of dependency theorists such as Andre Gunder Frank that poor states are impoverished and rich ones enriched by the way poor states are integrated into the " world system ". Dependency models arose from a growing association of southern hemisphere nationalists from Latin America and Africa and Marxists. Dependency theory rejected this view, arguing that underdeveloped countries are not merely primitive versions of developed countries, but have unique features and structures of their own; and, importantly, are in the situation of being the weaker members in a world market economy.

Media related to Modernization theory at Wikimedia Commons. Modernization theory at Wikibooks. The dictionary definition of modernization theory at Wiktionary. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Explanation for the process of modernization within societies.

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Handbook of Historical Sociology. Retrieved Sociology in Our Times 6th ed. Journal of Development Studies. Talcott Parsons on institutions and social evolution: selected writings. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Comparative Studies in Society and History. Journal of Latin American Studies.

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Zalta, Edward N. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Winter ed.


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    Foreign Affairs. He suggests China will grant democratic rights when it is as modern and as rich as the West per capita. American Journal of Political Science. American Journal of Public Health. Elites in Latin America. Nonetheless, the second-person perspective is not yet sufficient for criticism. In order for an act of criticism itself to be assessed as correct or incorrect, it must often resort to tests from the first- and third-person perspectives as well. The reflective participant must take up all stances; she assumes no single normative attitude as proper for all critical inquiry.

    It is this type of reflection that calls for a distinctively practical form of critical perspective taking. If critical social inquiry is inquiry into the basis of cooperative practices as such, it takes practical inquiry one reflective step further. The inquirer does not carry out this step alone, but rather with the public whom the inquirer addresses. As in Kuhn's distinction between normal and revolutionary science, second-order critical reflection considers whether or not the framework for cooperation itself needs to be changed, thus whether new terms of cooperation are necessary to solve problems.

    Various perspectives for inquiry are appropriate in different critical situations. If it is to identify all the problems with cooperative practices of inquiry, it must be able to occupy and account for a variety of perspectives. Only then will it enable public reflection among free and equal participants.

    Such problems have emerged for example in the practices of inquiry surrounding the treatment of AIDS. By defining expert activity through its social consequences and by making explicit the terms of social cooperation between researchers and patients, lay participants reshape the practices of gaining medical knowledge and authority Epstein , Part II.

    The affected public changed the normative terms of cooperation and inquiry in this area in order that institutions could engage in acceptable first-order problem solving. If expertise is to be brought under democratic control, reflective inquiry into scientific practices and their operative norms is necessary Bohman a.

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