Sociology and Modernization

1870 Words May 2nd, 2009 8 Pages
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
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Durkheim's view of modernity differed from Tönnies's in a more complex and positive manner. According to Macionis, J. (2006):Durkheim viewed modernization not so much as a loss of community as a change from community based on bonds of likeness (kinship and neighborhood) to community based on economic interdependence (the division of labor).

Max Weber (1921-1978) viewed modernization as "replacing a traditional worldview with a rational way of thinking" (Macionis, 2006, page 458). Modern societies value efficiency over tradition; therefore, modern people will adjust to anything that will allow them to attain their objective. Weber labeled this adjustable and unquestioning modern society as disenchanted because people are no longer enchanted by tradition. "The unquestioned truths of an earlier time had been challenged by rational thinking. In short, said Weber, modern society turns away from the gods" (Macionis, 2006, page 459). Weber's main concern with modernization was that science would cause people to stop questioning the meaning and purpose of human existence. Weber's concern leads to the theories of Karl Marx.

Karl Marx viewed modernization as a capitalist revolution. The Industrial Revolution turned over a powerful and productive control of society to the upper classes. "Marx agreed that modernity weakened small communities (as described by Tönnies), increased the division of labor (as noted by Durkheim), and
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