Future of Modernization

Essay by deannamooseCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2007

download word file, 5 pages 5.0

What is modernization and where does it come from? What have sociological theorists such as Ferdinand Tönnies, Peter Berger, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber and Karl Marx had to say about modernization? What are the consequences of modernization both positive and negative? Is modernization likely to continue in the United States (U.S.) and is it a worldwide trend? These are the questions I will attempt to answer in this essay.

Modernization is "the process of social change begun by industrialization" (Macionis, 2006). Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1937) was a German sociologist that produced the theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. The term Gemeinschaft refers or human community and Gesellschaft means "...essentially united in spite of all separating factors" (Macionis, 2006). Tönnies suggested that modernization turns society inside out so "essentially separated in spite of uniting factors". For example in a large city people do make friends looking upon everyone as a stranger even though inventions like the automobile and telephone making it easier to communicate to reinforce these bonds of friendship.

Ferdinand Tönnies work was also a large influence on the work of Peter Berger.

Peter Berger used four characteristics to describe modernization. The first characteristic was the decline of small traditional communities which is easily seen in the United States. This decline would not be known to a person whom had never lived in, or seen a small community like so it is easily overlooked. Next he described the expansion of personal choice as "People in traditional, pre-industrial societies view their lives as shaped by forces--gods, spirits, or simply fate--beyond human control" (Macionis, 2006). Berger expanded on this process by describing individualization as when the powers of tradition people see their lives as an unending series of choices. Next Berger described how increasing social diversity leads a society to become more tolerant...