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IS MODERN SOCIETY RATIONAL - Essay Example
Since a good part of the world's population is now undergoing the pattern of change which we call modernization, we should raise the question of the adequacy of various theories to account for that pattern. "Many of the perspectives we have examined so far have dealt directly with modernization, or with certain aspects of it, including Smelser's structural-functionalist analysis of England's industrialization and the social psychological approaches of Hagen, McClelland, and the students of individual modernity" (Lauer, 1977, pp 304-310)…
Evidence of their influence may be found in many features of modernization theory: the frequent use of dichotomous type constructions and concepts such as "social differentiation" and "social system"; an emphasis upon the ability to adapt to gradual, "continual change as the normal condition of stability; the attribution of causal priority to immanent sources of change; and the analysis of social change as a directional" process (Tipps, 1973, p 199-226).
Tipps also notes that modernization has been employed mainly as an inclusive rather than discriminating concept. It is used to summarize a great many phenomena rather than to discriminate what is modern from other conditions. The level of analysis which is of crucial theoretical significance is that of society and culture--the national state is normally the focus of interest.
Finally, Tipps classified modernization theories into two types, the "critical variable" and the "dichotomous" theories. ...