9th Conference European Sociological Association

RS08 Modernization Theory. Dead or Alive in the 21st Century?

2009-09-03 15:30:00 2009-09-03 17:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 15:30 - 17:00 From modernization to globalization and world polity Building AA, AA.323

Towards a New Sociology of Change for the Extended Boarders of Europe: An Evaluation of the Revision and the Criticism of Modernization Theory to Understand EU Enlargement

From 1960?s, the most remarkable criticism of structural-functionalist modernization approaches developed as a result of the historical categorizations between traditional and developed forms of societies since Enlightenment was focused on the linear representation of historical progress and the convergent model of development. The latter concepts like multiple modernities and alternative modernities were attempts to overcome the linear and convergent aspects of the previous modernization approaches and these concepts were revisions of the theory in some wise. Nevertheless, a radical criticism of modernization theory was put forth by scholars of postcolonial analysis with a broader critical approach that could be applied countries which does not have a colonial past. However, these two tendencies had some drawbacks which could be expressed as breaking off the connection of social science with the historical process itself. The drawback of the revision of modernization theory was achieving a high level of abstraction independent from historical processes and insisting implicitly on the uniqueness of the forward historical path for societies while accepting the multiplicity of backward (past) paths. On the other hand, the drawback of the radical criticism of modernization theory coming into existence by postcolonial analysis was disownment of the history and accepting it as a product of Western hegemony.
When the enlargement and the demographic changes of EU are considered, it may be seen that this process not only creates new interdependencies, new integrations and new homogeneities but it also generates new antagonisms, new identity crises and new fragmentations observed with newly arising nationalist movements and discriminations. It is possible to consider this process as a self-definition and a reconstruction process. The main aim of this paper is to question the limitations and applicability of radical criticisms as well as alternative concepts of modernization when analysing the EU enlargement in relation with globalization. Another aim is to analyse the cases of new members in Eastern Europe and the case of Turkey as a candidate in terms of convergences to estimate the direction of future approaches that would be substitutable with the former modernization theory and the role of sociology to analyse the EU enlargement.