Social modernization of society: concept, features, examples

Science 2023

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Social modernization of society: concept, features, examples
Social modernization of society: concept, features, examples

The ideas of social modernization of society arose in the 60s of the twentieth century. The essence of this idea was that there is a single standard for the development of society - this is the Western path, and all the rest are considered dead ends and lead to degradation. This idea has a weighty historical justification, however, like other ideas of the social development of society.

What is modernization

Theoretically, social modernization means the transition from a traditional type of society to a modern one through economic, ideological and political transformations. The western way of development is taken as a standard in this theory. It is believed that any country that follows this path will automatically become prosperous. However, due to the fact that the idea of ​​social modernization does not take into account the national characteristics of other countries, for which the Western path may be unacceptable for many reasons, it is often criticized.

In sociology, in addition to the theory of social modernization, there are many different theories that also explain the model that has developed in certain countriesdevelopment. These theories are used as the basis for the theory of evolutionary development, the influence of climatic and geographical conditions. They are also studied and used in the development of social development programs in various states.

Civilization Modernization

What criteria are used to evaluate the level of social development of society

The main, of course, is the level of technological development, since it is new technologies that are the driving force of economic, political and cultural development. At the very least, it was the advent of new technologies that led to major changes not only in Western society, but also led to a change in the structure of societies in non-Western countries.

When determining the level of development and the structure of the social structure of modern society, the country is evaluated according to the following parameters:

  • infrastructure;
  • economy;
  • political institutions;
  • culture;
  • laws and law;
  • science;
  • technology;
  • medicine;
  • quality of education, its availability.

In the theory of social modernization, these indicators help determine the level of development of the state and make decisions about which of them need to be improved.

industrial society is

Modernization types

There are two types of social modernization - organic and inorganic. Organic - this is when the development of the country occurs from within, under the influence of internal factors. This is due to cultural andpsychological characteristics of the population of the country. It is believed that with organic modernization, one nation makes discoveries in science and technology, without borrowing anything from other nations.

Inorganic, or as it is also commonly called, secondary, modernization occurs under the influence of external factors, when the country is faced with more developed states. In such a situation, it is forced to borrow from a more developed people their technologies, cultural and political institutions. The secondary is often referred to as "catch-up modernization" and this term mainly refers to former colonies and semi-colonies.

The social structure of modern society

Stages in the development of European civilization

The history of social change in society is divided into the following stages:

  1. Primitive state. Simple tools. They mainly live by gathering and hunting. There is no writing, art - primitive drawings on the walls of caves and huts.
  2. Antique period. This period is characterized by the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. The origin and development of sciences: astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, law. Writing appears. Complex and grandiose structures are erected using mechanical devices and machines. The economic system is built on the use of slave labor. The ancient period ended with the fall of the Roman Empire and a long period of stagnation, until the Renaissance.
  3. The Renaissance. The development of manufactory production, the emergence of new mechanical devices and machines. Construction of sailinglong-distance ships. Opening of new territories and trade routes. Ideas of humanism. The emergence of the first banks and exchanges.
  4. The Age of Enlightenment. The development of science and technology, the emergence of the first capitalist enterprises and the bourgeois class. However, enterprises still use the muscular strength of people and animals. Coal is used as the main energy source.
  5. Industrial age. The emergence of new modes of transport: steamboats, steam locomotives, the first cars. Invention of the steam engine, telegraph, telephone, radio and electricity. There is a massive outflow of people from the villages to the city. The transition from an agrarian to an industrial society is accompanied by rapid urbanization.
  6. Post-industrial period. The emergence of modern communications and means of information transmission, computers, the Internet, mobile phones, robots. Most of the population does not work in agriculture or industry, but in the service sector. The main capital of enterprises in post-industrial countries is knowledge and technology.

The transition to a new stage usually occurs when the old social system no longer meets the new conditions. A crisis is coming, the only way out of which can be a transition to a new, higher level of development. Russia repeats this path, that is, it is universal, but the Russian path has its own specific features. This is due to the fact that historically Russia was initially formed as a centralized state with an authoritarian type of government. Therefore, the transition from one level to another always occurred "from above" from the sidethe ruling elite, and not from below, as was the case in Western Europe.

Civilizational modernization of former colonies

The countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America, which used to be colonies of European states, gained freedom and independence in the 20th century. But since the states that emerged for a long time were at a low level of social structure, they were forced to adopt either the Western or the Soviet model of development.

However, such models were not acceptable for all countries. With rare exceptions, such modernization has led to a deterioration in the quality of life of the population, to social conflicts in society, and the destruction of economic and political institutions. Some countries, such as Turkey and Iran, have abandoned the Western path of development. This has led to the fact that Islamic fundamentalism is developing in these countries today, and those modern social institutions are gradually degrading, giving way to traditional ones.

However, such a transition does not mean the refusal of these countries from industrial development with a further transition to post-industrial. Since an industrial society is a society of machine labor and industrial production, high technologies, that is, for the existence and development of such a society, there is no need to adopt all Western values, but only what is really necessary.

Social change in society

Theory of anthropogenesis

Besides the idea of ​​civilizational modernization, there are also some other theories in sociology. One of them is anthropogenesis. The essence of this theory isin the fact that peoples and states go through the same stages of life, development, extinction and death as a single organism. Such a theory also has a weighty historical justification and is also used in the development of models for the development of society.

Many empires began their development as a society of a traditional type. As the territories and population increased, social and political institutions developed in them, new cultural facilities were erected, science and art developed. Having reached a high level, the empire began to lose ground, the main institutions were degraded, and discontent in society grew. There was a stage of disintegration and death of the state. Almost all empires were like this, from the Roman to the Ottoman. Sociologists and historians observe that such a cycle is periodically repeated in the history of mankind, with the new empire eventually moving to a higher level of social and technological development than the previous one.

Social modernization of society

Disadvantages of the theory of modernization of society

The idea of ​​social modernization of society has two significant drawbacks. This is Western ethnocentrism, ignoring the right of other peoples to their own path, appropriation of inventions and technologies created by peoples who ignored the Western path of development. For example, porcelain, gunpowder, paper money and the compass were invented by the Chinese; the lever and the fundamentals of mechanics the ancient Greeks; Algebra - Arabs. All the peoples of the Earth, one way or another, have contributed to the development of human civilization, and even democracy for the first timeappeared not in the USA or Western Europe, but in Ancient Greece.

The fact that Western peoples adopted many things from other countries does not detract from the achievements of the West. However, this means that the theory of social modernization is not universal and cannot be used as the only correct way of evolutionary change in society.

Does Russia need modernization?

In Russia, there has long been a debate about which path the country should take. Some believe that it is necessary to carry out social modernization, that is, to follow the Western path of development. Others believe that the advantage of Western civilization over Russian civilization is a myth that Western countries impose. Westerners cite as arguments that Russia adopted many things from Western countries: science, technology, some political institutions. Their opponents cite facts from history as proof that much of what appeared in the West has already happened in Russia.

The opponents of modernization have good reason to be skeptical about the "ready recipes" offered by Western countries. An attempt to fully modernize in Russia has always led to disastrous results. An example is the events of the 90s, when the country's leadership decided to completely abandon its own path of development and carry out social modernization. The result was horrendous: the destruction of the economy, the education system, the political system. There was a degradation of the structure of Russian society, which led to an increase in crime. Speaking of borrowing some of the most advanced technologies that arein Western countries, then such modernization is necessary. Adopting political and social institutions, taking into account the difference in mentality, means not following the path of progress, but the path of regress.

Why attempts at social modernization in Russia failed

As mentioned above, the modernization of society does not always lead to positive results, especially if the country has already passed most of its historical path and has achieved some success in development. When the state has already formed and reached a certain level of the main social institutions: education, legal system, culture and science. And although formally a country can go through very similar development paths, for example, Russia has gone through a stage of industrialization, like Western countries. An industrial society was built. This does not mean that the Russian industrial society is exactly the same as in some Western European country.

However, this does not mean that the Russian way of development is worse or better. He's just different. The table below shows the main differences in the development of public institutions.

Comparison parameter

Russian Federation (USSR)

Western countries

Shape of State

Centralized state

Decentralized State

Driving force in technology development

Goals and objectives of scientific research are set by the leaders of the country, they also allocate funds for theirsolutions.

The goals and objectives of scientific research are set by large multinational companies, they also allocate funds.

Basic legal system

Codes, written law


Product quality control

State standards for the quality of goods, works, services.

High quality of goods is ensured by fierce competition in the market of goods, works, services.




Education system

State institutions and universities, academies of sciences, a system of public schools, technical schools and colleges.

Public and private institutions and universities, the system of private (closed) and public schools, scientific laboratories in large companies.


Regulated by the state, especially in the field of taxation. Strict reporting and reporting requirements.

Regulated by the market. Simplified system of submission of financial statements and reports. It is possible to get around high taxes legally.

Despite the fact that Russia has adopted some technologies and social institutions, the basic values ​​do not change. This is the peculiarity of the social modernization of Russia. At the same time, only such modernization,when the achievements of Western civilization are adopted and rebuilt to the needs of the country, it is possible to achieve high results. Achievements in the space field can serve as an example of this - during the Soviet period, the world's first space satellite was sent, then a man; in the nuclear industry, the peaceful use of nuclear energy to generate electricity.

Features of social modernization

The current state of Russia and possible ways of development

Today Russia is on the path of social modernization, but already taking into account national characteristics. In addition to Western technologies, the achievements of Soviet science and technology are used. Despite the fact that in some sectors it still leads, in general, there is a strong lag in social development. This is partly the result of an incorrectly carried out modernization at the end of the 80s, when due to the thoughtless reform of the country's development model, almost all social institutions collapsed. An economic, political and social crisis broke out, from which the country got out for a long time.

The structure of Russian society

Today the Government of the Russian Federation is pursuing a policy of accelerated development of the country. There is a full-scale renovation of the infrastructure, the development of new technologies in the field of robotics, nuclear energy, and the production of new materials. Construction of new cultural and educational institutions. There is a gradual renewal of the existing social structures of Russian society.

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