Modernisation, globalisation and americanisation

Essay by germanicusHigh School, 12th grade July 2004

download word file, 10 pages 4.3

The U.S has experienced new ways of establishing and encouraging capitalist economic expansion and political constancy and "social order" in the U.S.A and other countries; this is through the concept known as modernisation. Modernisation is best understood in relation to processes of industrialisation, urbanisation, secularisation, rationalisation, and the development of world market systems. Modernisation occurs when societies, when countries adopt the processes or characteristics of another which they deem to be positive to their way of life.

To avoid this labeling, generalisations of cultural theory are better replaced with ethnographic particularities. As Comaroff and Comaroff put it:

"The radical opposition between pre-historical 'tradition' and capitalist 'modernity' survives in the discourses of our age, popular and professional alike. Indeed, in directing much of our attention to peoples on the other side of the great rift, do we not still foster a lurking primitivism? And, with it, all the myths of our own disenchantment?"

The modernisation theory can be seen in two theories of social change, they can inter relate and mesh in some cases.

A. - The Evolutionary Theory

B. - Functionalist Theory


1. Social change being uni linear (moving in a single direction) ordered and progressive. So starting from a primitive state and evolving from there.

2. This movement is overall a good thing, because as humanity progresses so does civilisation, which benefits humanity.

3. It states that the rate of social change is a slow, gradual process. Most importantly, social change, in agreement with Charles Darwin approach to biological development, was evolutionary, not revolutionary.


Society is made up of different institutions and each must keep to its specific function in order for society to work harmoniously. Change occurs when this harmony is disrupted. So modernisation occurs when a society whose...