Volume 27, 2011

Modernization in Times of Globalization II

David E. Apter
Pages 121-150

From Order to Violence
Modernization Reconfigured

Almost a half century has passed since the appearance of The Politics of Modernization, (Apter, 1965) an analysis purporting to treat political development in terms of structural-functional theory. Since that time the world has virtually turned upside down. Modernization theory itself has all but disappeared. In part this has been for good reasons. Its three frames, social change in general, industrialization, in particular, and modernization as an aspect of the first resulting from the consequences of the second, contained too many far from warranted assumptions, especially about the prospects of integrative order. Indeed, so much have the problematic questions changed that subsequent efforts to bring back at least of its principles have not had much success. In some ways this is a great pity. I believe it had greater depth and theoretical power than its critics have given it credit for. Accordingly I want to suggest some of the ideas that were most germane to modernization theory as it was practiced in the sixties of the last century and comment briefly on a few of theoretical characteristics. I will do so in three parts. Part I will outline of the ingredients and concerns of modernization theorists sketching its intellectual pedigree. Part II will examine particular schools and approaches to modernization. Part III will address some questions about modernization today suggesting new ways to examine them.