week 8 assignment Future of Modernization Paper
week 8 assignment Future of Modernization Paper
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Date Created: 11/16/15
Future of Modernization Paper 1 Running head: FUTURE OF MODERNIZATION PAPER Future of Modernization Paper Dawnette Dunkley University of Phoenix Sociology120 Instructor: Loren Butler Future of Modernization Paper 2 Future of Modernization Paper Modernization, a concept sociologists use to describe the changing patterns set in motion by the industrial revolution. Modernization attracts many divergent views and theories and its influence on society is highly debatable. At issue is the theory of modernization that posits that cultural change, economic development, and political change are predictable patterns that go hand in hand. Regardless of people’s stance on this issue, some facts on which they can agree are that, society is always evolving, changes have good and bad consequences, and the rate of change occurs much faster, especially with the information revolution. Some theorists argue that the advent of the industrial revolution created a different type of society; one that forces developing countries to find ways to achieve similar achievements as their more affluent counterparts or be left permanently behind. The reality is, not all modernized societies have equal success in sustaining the process of modernization because of differences in politics, education, and other institutions. This paper aims to examine how modernization manifests itself in American society; it will also explore the likelihood of the continuation of modernization in the United States. Additionally, it will examine whether or not modernization is a worldwide trend and further explore the consequences of modernization. Furthermore, it will state which theorist best reflect my perception of modernization. The industrial revolution has had profound effect on American society and most people would agree that its influence caused drastic social, economic, and institutional changes. Modernization manifests itself in American society in various ways; these include the decline of small, traditional communities; the expansion of personal choice; increase in social diversity; and Future of Modernization Paper 3 orientation toward the future and a keen awareness of time. With regard to decline of small, traditional communities; for thousands of years small, rural communities in the United States were known for their cohesive characteristics. These closeknit communities revolved primarily around family, close friends, and neighbors; it was a period when interactions between people were more personal and people believed they could count on their neighbors. These types of communities helped to provide people a sense of security, purpose, identity, and solidarity (Neitz, 2009). However, one has to be careful not to overromanticize the past because preindustrial society had its own share of problems with less choices and less of the conveniences that people take for granted today. The old traditional ways of living seem to be nonexistent today; with people traveling to rural villages and small towns to remind themselves about how much simpler life used to be. Most of today’s population are products of generations of people who chose to migrate from rural areas to cities in search of employment, after the economy placed more emphasis on industry and less on agriculture. This move brought about the urbanization phenomenon, which is still evident today with the majority of American population living in urban areas. To a certain extent, one could say that modern society erodes many of the traditional norms and behaviors of the past. However, one may argue that one of the drawbacks of preindustrial American society is that it places more limitations on personal choices and promotes conformity; whereas, modern American society promotes individualism, allowing people control over their own personal lives. Expansion of personal choice is another manifestation of modernization in the United States; modern American society essentially promotes a more rational worldview. Increases in impersonal bureaucracy, city growth, and exposure to people of different backgrounds created Future of Modernization Paper 4 the perfect storm for diversity and forwardthinking. Unlike preindustrial society that tends to look in the past, modern society is more oriented to look to the future; finding new and innovative ways to improve people’s lives. This manifestation of modernization is largely responsible for increasing options, providing conveniences of modern society, and the advent of today’s information revolution. In the wake of the industrial revolution, people could not imagine some of the achievements of modern society; the moonlanding, advanced medical technology, computer, television, modes of transportation, just to name a few. This era puts information at people’s fingertips; allowing more efficient communication. Ironically, even with all the available gadgets such as telephones, computers, and handheld devices; interactions in modern society are primarily impersonal. This gives some credence to sociologist, Ferdinand Tonnies’ theory that posits that modernization is the gradual loss of human community. Regardless of people’s stance on the issue of modernization, it is quite safe to say that this trend will continue because people link the concept of modernity to progress and regard stability as stagnant. Moreover, the American population views progress as looking forward and much prefer to retain an American culture that reflects personal differences and innovation. Though some countries may resist the ideology of modernization; the shrinking global community makes it harder to ignore, especially with regard to the expansion of global retail trade, which helps to make modernization a global trend. Moriarty (2007) reports that, fierce competition in global retail is on the rise. Modern retail in India grew at more than 25%; and by 12%t in both Russia and China. These trends will continue to stretch worldwide as funds from modernization saturate the markets of developing countries. Future of Modernization Paper 5 People living in this current era are part of a technologically complex society, as they bear witness to significant changes within a lifetime. Though many of the changes are extremely beneficial to society, these changes also carry serious consequences. For example, automobile, one of the most groundbreaking advancements of human technology, helps to increase economic value. However, automobiles are essentially deadly weapons that cause more deaths than atomic weapons, bombing, or guns (Wheels of death, 2009). Moreover, exhaust from automobile emission contributes to environmental problems, with the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. Additionally, although advances in medical technology improve life expectancy, it is also responsible for overpopulation, especially in poorer countries.. Conclusion The theorist who best reflects my perception of modernization is Ferdinand Tonnies. He acknowledges the positive aspects of modern life, but believes it came at the expense of tradition and cultural heritage. A society that holds on to positive traditions such as family values and solidarity in community; while increasing individual rights, raising living standards, and having greater tolerance of social differences would be ideal. However, that is not necessarily the reality. The reality is, modernization is here to stay and this trend will continue to be a worldwide trend. Yes, modernization has managed to revolutionize society with both good and bad consequences; and it is sad that its complexities resulted in a more isolated, materialistic, and selfcentered society. Future of Modernization Paper 6 References Moriarty, M. (2007). Growth Opportunities for Global Retailers. ICSC Research Review, 14(2), 2026. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from Business Source Complete database. Neitz, M. (2009). 2008 Association for the Sociology of Religion Presidential Address Encounters in the Heartland: What Studying Rural Churches Taught Me about Working across Differences*. Sociology of Religion, 70(4), 343361. doi:10.1093/socrel/srp065. Wheels of Death. (2009). New Scientist, 202(2705), 65. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from Academic Search Complete database. Future of Modernization Paper 7
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