Talk:Modernization theory

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Spelling of "Modernization"[edit]

Wikipedia and most spellcheckers correct Modernisation ( note the S instead of a Z) into Modernization. The article is even titled with the z instead of an s, however, Modernization is spelled with an S throughout the article. Any reason as to this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:58, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

Modernisation is the British English spelling. Though consistency would be good! Iamsorandom (talk) 17:20, 10 December 2013 (UTC)


As has been pointed out, this article needs more referencing. Some bits you can fill in, here:

  • 'new technology is a major source of social change'?

Added a new claim + reference by Seymour Martin Lipset under "Development and Globalization."Lisakimura (talk) 22:19, 9 October 2016 (UTC)Lisa Kimura

State Theory[edit]

This section needs ref.s Currently it doesn't make sense. Iamsorandom (talk) 17:48, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Which cultures did Wallerstein dismiss as backward?[edit]

Big Poopy McGoo

Perhaps most of his work was done at a time when the culture did not recognized how Eurocentric such a view was.--Silverback 04:21, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Not so much in answer to your question: If you wish to write on Wallerstein's theory in general, the article bearing his name would be the place to do so. If you wish to write on how Modernization theorists criticize him/respond to his criticisms, then this is the correct article. If you believe his theory is Eurocentric that is insufficient, you need to provide evidence that (notable) people said this, otherwise the claim is the result of primary research and, as such, unencylopedic. That I do not believe it is possible to write about the development models without a cursory grasp of the pertinent academic literature is besides the point. El_C

You put the POV term backwardness into Wallerstein's mouth. You should document that.--Silverback 14:27, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)
In contrast to theories of modernization [...] the thrust of world-systems analysis is that continued inequalities and backwardness are furthered at the same time that wealth and progress occur in the core. (Univ. of Regina, Dept. of Sociology & Social Studies - Sociology 319 - Contemporary Social Theory).

Not POV (& not in his mouth), with respect to his theory (which -is- POV, as is Modernization) academically acceptable and up to par with scholarly standards. El_C

Interesting. If it is up to academic standards then the theory should be testable, perhaps he rigorously defined a backwardness scale. Today a different term would probably have been chosen.--Silverback 16:59, 1 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps? Probably? Sir/Madam, I suggest you acquaint yourself with the Development models if you seek an answer to these questions, which I assure you, are largely answerable (at least the intellectual positions are). A number of works I cited in this article's reference section should prove useful on that front. El_C


I have wikified this page, rearranging a few paragraphs in the process to improve article flow. No existing info was removed.
Wikified as part of the Wikification wikiproject! JubalHarshaw 19:35, 21 September 2006 (UTC)


This article needs to be substantially improved/rewritten. A ton of kids learn about this in school and come here for guidance. I might try a hand at it myself, but it's a tricky topic. Help is invited. Houshuang (talk) 04:19, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Please help! im one of those kids studing world sociology. Im not saying im a professor in sociology or anything, but perhaps the article needs putting into simpler terms for the general public public to understand. I just feel that a more open approach with simpler vocabulary would open out the subject for all those who read it.--Jonnyb2007 (talk) 23:06, 1 June 2008 (UTC)

The article clearly needs more references, and a less bullish tone. Charles Matthews (talk) 11:36, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

'Among the scientists who contributed much to this theory are Walt Rostow' - Not entirely sure on the appropriateness of the term 'scientist' here. Thoughts? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:02, 5 April 2012 (UTC) Agreed. I've changed it to academic. Iamsorandom (talk) 14:42, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

The section that's titled "Development and modernization theory" seems misleading because the actual content itself does not talk about the similarities and differences between the two, as the title suggests. I think more content about the similarities and differences should be addressed, or the title should be changed if not. The sources provided are neutral and are from reputable academic sources. However, the viewpoints of the modernization theorists are overrepresented and the criticisms of modernization theory are not given enough voice. Teresayu1 (talk) 18:44, 21 September 2016 (UTC)


The modernisation wikipage covers the same topic as this. I think that should be merged into this page (that might help improve this article, too). Iamsorandom (talk) 16:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

Update: I've now merged these pages. This page now needs tidying.


I think the criticism section needs to be beefed up to0 - modernisation theory has been criticised a lot in academia, as, basically, false, as well as eurocentric - and neither of these pages reflect that.Iamsorandom (talk) 14:42, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

This section currently needs some citations to back it up if it is to be included, like where are the sources that has Modernization theory as being eurocentric or a part of westernization? In addition, there seems to be some sentences that need some tidying up due to repetition (westernization, eurocentricism, etc.) and random draft sentences that are not coherent for this section. Final note, an improper citation seems to be used (MLA in-text citation) instead of a footnote linking to the source. Stevenau (talk) 03:48, 25 September 2016 (UTC)


I think the China section omits many details in regards to Mao's economic transformation and its implications on Modernization theory, which may mislead readers. I will add some of the missing details, as well as the utility of Modernization theory when it applies to China. I will also edit the tone.C4mayuan (talk) 01:24, 25 February 2014 (UTC) 15:49, 5 March 2014 (UTC)C4mayuan (talk)


The Japan section only talks about Japan's economic development after its defeat in WWII. According to current literature, only the 78 years of pre-War history can effectively explain the utility of Modernization theory on Japan. I will rewrite this part by adding some details and the utility of the theory when it applies to Japan.C4mayuan (talk) 01:24, 25 February 2014 (UTC) 15:49, 5 March 2014 (UTC)C4mayuan (talk)

Faciliting further studies[edit]

Since modernization is a wide theory with a lot of literature, perhaps a column with influential scholars could be an idea (such as the ones that exists on the pages concerning political ideologies). In general, I think that the article could be better for those longing for further studies (only using Wikipedia). If some of the ideas of Walt Whitman Rostow or Marion J. Levy Jr. were explicit (and not just mentioned as references), links to their Wikipedia articles could be made, enabling a reader to faster access more information.

Considering the amount of literature out there, critizising modernization, the entire chapter concerning criticism should really be longer. For instance, some of the more criticized projects of the World Bank (such as the Green Revolution) are yet to be mentioned.Olaborre (talk) 00:26, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Addition of Rostow's Five Stages of Development[edit]

Rostow, a modernist theory pioneer, argues an optimistic scenario by which all societies advance through five stages of development: (1) traditional society (2) Preconditions for take-off (3) take-off (4) drive to maturity (5) age of high mass consumption. The timing of entry into each of these stages serves as an explanation for the discrepancy between rich and the poor countries, and eventually the evolution of what is now known as the First and Third World countries. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Naomikelley (talkcontribs) 03:15, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

[citation needed] Ian.thomson (talk) 03:23, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Geopolitical Context and Motivations[edit]

I'm surprised there's no mention of the geopolitical context from which Modernization Theory came about. The historical background of any theory plays a key part in its formation, and Modernization Theory draws heavily from anti-Communist sentiments and the Cold War context. Rostow (mentioned above) even published his ideas in a book dubbed "A Non-Communist Manifesto". I think this article could definitely be a lot stronger with a section on the origins of Modernization Theory. -- Belinda liu7 (talk) 05:58, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

the theory was well-developed by Parsons (and Weber) by 1930s. Rjensen (talk) 08:06, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Dependency Theory[edit]

The Criticism section does not include any information on the Dependency Theory and does not have any information on Brazil: how some assumptions of the Modernization Theory had failed to hold true for the nation. Okim12 (talk) 02:35, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

good point. I added a section on Dependency Theory. Rjensen (talk) 06:40, 10 October 2016 (UTC)

Mess in Democratization and modernization section[edit]

This section contains some duplicate text, around the phrase "Recent demonstrations of the emergence of democracy". It also has some content which used to be part of a citation ("The argument also appears in Walt W. Rostow") and is now in the text. There are also some phantom citation numbers. As far as I can tell, the errors were caused by this edit. I tried to fix this, but I can't figure it out, it's not my area, and I'd rather not mess it up further. Anybody feel like cleaning this up? Jessicapierce (talk) 04:08, 16 October 2017 (UTC)