Essay by tyler2000College, UndergraduateB-, May 2009

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Modernization is the process in which social and economic change is obtained through industrial revolution, urbanization and other social changes that alters people's lives. Modernization promotes individualism over the unity of traditional communities and encourages rationality over traditional philosophies. Modernization can have both positive and negative effects on society and can often bring about controversy.

The German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1937) formed the theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Ferdinand Tönnies saw modernization as the progressive loss of human community (Gemeinschaft). He also believed that modernization caused people in modern societies to drift apart and personal relationships became more impersonal as people became more self-absorbed (Gesellschaft). Ferdinand Tönnies theory suggests that … modernity turns society inside out so that people are essentially separated in spite of uniting factors (Macionis, J., 2006, page 457). Large cities provide an excellent example of Ferdinand Tönnies theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. People pass one another by the hundreds on busy city streets every day; yet, they remain strangers because they ignore each other as they pass.

Even loyalty and trust becomes issues between friends as individuals put their personal needs above others. Peter Berger's work was greatly influenced by Ferdinand Tönnies theories.

Peter Berger (1977) identified four major characteristics of modernization to describe his theory about how modernization manifests itself.

1.The decline of small, traditional communities: rather than life revolving around family and community it now revolves around technology and individualism. People born into modern societies may have the tendency to overlook such a decline in small, traditional communities because they would have never lived in or possibly even seen a small, traditional community.

2. The expansion of personal choice: rather than following the traditional standards of life i.e. religion, faith etc. people have the option to take control and choose their own...