Витоки становлення теорії модернізації як процесу соціальних змін


  • Валерій Бортніков Східноєвропейський національний університет імені Лесі Українки, Ukraine

Ключові слова:

modernization, theory of modernization, social process, progress, evolution, globalization


The origins of the scientific reflection of modernization as a social phenomenon date back to the 19th century, the time of the formation of evolutionary theory, which was reflected in the works of O. Cont, E. Durkheim, G. Spencer, K. Marx, etc. On the right remark of modern foreign scientists, the modernization theory – is «the phase that has in sociology and theory of the evolution been completed». Modernization, which at one time was interpreted as the emergence of a «new civilization model», forms the vector of transition from survival values to the values of selfrealization, to the further human development, which underlies a powerful emancipation potential.

Modernization in the broadest sense is considered as a process of modernizing and improvement of all spheres of social relations; in the narrow one – as a complex set of transformations, which the social system experiences on the way of the evolution from the traditional agrarian society to the urbanized industrial one. The variety of historical experience in the modernization of societies that were (are) at various stages of civilization development, or  have significant differences in culture and traditions, question the possibility of a global generalization, the definition of a stable set of institutions, structures, rules or procedures within a unified theory, the deduction of the common patterns that would serve as a benchmark for all countries and peoples. . The proof of this – are the unsuccessful attempts to develop a universal theory of modernization, based on the conceptual foundations of evolutionism by scientists in the second half of the 20th century.

The development of the modernization theory started after the Second World War and disseminated in the 1950s–1960s. It should be emphasized that there was no single theory of modernization, even in the 1950s–1960s. As the researchers point out, it was rather a powerful intellectual movement. In its evolution, the modernization theory has conditionally passed three stages: 50–60, 60–70s and 80–90s of the 20th century. The liberalization of political practice and the modernization theory led to a reassessment of the idea of universal progress in historical evolution; to rethink the model of the development of civilizations, the concepts of «modernity» and «traditionalism». All this together contributed to expanding the boundaries of research and taking into account the influence of not only the center on the periphery, but also the periphery on the center.

The main thing that one managed to overcome was stereotypical ideas about the civilization mission of the West in relation to other parts of the world, as well as to realize that the future of mankind is the harmonious combination and coexistence of different cultures that are being developed in accordance with its inherent trajectories of social development, rather than in a predetermined direction. Modern science is increasingly focused on the study of unique, critical, bifurcation and other nonlinear processes, where exclusive, to some extent, random events begin to play a special role that becomes relevant to macroevolution, changing the course of human evolution. The suddenness of the social changes taking place in a globalized world does not allow us to confidently determine the perspective models of countries and nations future development. Globalization, like any large-scale process, changes the usual way of life, and, along with many benefits, has painful consequences for some social groups. Globalization, according to modern scientists, «can’t be regarded as an ordinary linear scheme, at least because it in its existence holds both development and destruction at the same time». In addition, there are new challenges that require fundamentally new approaches to their solution.

Біографія автора

Валерій Бортніков, Східноєвропейський національний університет імені Лесі Українки

Walery Bortnikow

Wschodnioeuropejski Uniwersytet Narodowy imienia Łesi Ukrainki w Łucku






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