Modernization vs. Dependency Theory

Topics: Sociology, Globalization, Development Pages: 2 (566 words) Published: August 23, 2008
In order to understand the most important differences between the modernization theory and the dependency theory, we must first understand what these theories mean. The modernization theory, becoming popular in the 1950s, was a description and explanation of the processes of the transformation from what was considered “underdeveloped societies” to “modern societies.” Modernization theory is the process of transforming from a traditional or underdeveloped society to a modern Western societies way of life. So what is modernization and what does this theory consist of? To put it simply, modernization is the economic growth within societies. The modernization theory believes that there are steps to success for every country. The Dependency theory emerged in the 1960s but became popular in the 1970s. This theory also, addressed such issues as poverty and economic underdevelopment throughout the world. The dependency theory, believed that the Global North exploits the Global South. Why? One reason being, that the south is highly dependent on the wealth of the north; therefore unable to advance themselves because of the vicious cycle that then ensues, leading to a cycle of dependency and not growth. According to dependency theory, underdevelopment is a product of capitalist development. However, the question if have these theories evolved throughout the years? YES! The modernization theory has changed over level of three waves. The first wave came about in the ‘50s and ‘60s. In an attempt to explain “the diffusion of Western styles of living, technological innovations and individualist types of communication as the superiority of secular, materialist, Western, individualist culture and of individual motivation and achievement (Lerner, 1958), Schramm, 1964).” The second wave of the modernization theory was popular during the 1970s and 1980s. It didn’t support, rather it criticized the influence of Western modernization. The third wave of the modernization theory rose...

References: Lerner, D. (1958). The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East. Glencoe ILL.: The Free Press.
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