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Modernism refers to radical shift in cultural norms away from conservative values that are viewed as outdated and unfit for new economic, social, and political conditions. It results from social forces that seek to develop moral relativism in relation to the new environment of an industrialized world. The shift is focused on forms of art, literature, religious faith, social organization, and daily lifestyles.
Modernization basically consists of dynamic "interrelated historical forces that have changed the world since the beginning of industrial revolution, capitalism, and colonialism in Europe and America" (Grossberg pg 56). World modernization can in general terms be said to originate from the west from which the rest of the world followed, are following, and will continue to follow. This trend has the exception of countries that have or will have higher rates of development and industrialization compared to Europe and America.
Modernization theory falls under the Marxist version, which claims that cultural and political characteristics are determined by economic developments, and Werberian version, which claims that culture determines political and economic paradigms. On the other hand, modernity comprises of the changing structures and the lived social realities in their natural context through which modernism and modernization conform to.
Modernization paradigm has it basis on destruction of traditional culture to enable development, improvement and complete change into modern culture that is desirable and fit for the current society. In addition, modernization is based on continuous change and creativity that needs to adopt scientific means rather than traditional thought.
Societal structure is the foundation in which daily operations and lifestyles of every individual are based upon. While the human kind basic needs remain and do not change, the economic and social conditions under which they operate continuously change. People need to ensure that there is continued effectiveness in meeting their evolving needs, and to achieve these, application of modernization need to be part and parcel of the human kind. Moreover, modernization has resulted in major shifts in the way people live, as a result of changes in ideology in all aspects of life, economic, social, and technological lifestyle of the people.
However, modernization is hard to accomplish in that it is natural for people to resist change in all aspect of life. When something new is introduced, people reject it and the innovator is faced with a lot of criticism, rejection, and opposition. Radical reactions is part of modernization, therefore, there is need for innovators to be persistent. In cases where those holding authoritative positions need innovate, use of force may become a necessity for the innovations and new ways to take over from traditional past structures. Innovators of change need to put in place measures to counter strong opposition from all corners. In addition, lack of strong leadership skills may cause modernization process not take place. They may sometimes need to practice tradition falsely so as to get the support of the people in adoption of change.
Need for modernization is driven by increasing integration of the global economy and technological innovations into the society in which traditional ways are in use. Political powers are also forced to modernize so as to be able to compete with world economies that have already modernized; this is characterized by liberal economic theory where there is individual workplace relation compared to collectively determined economic outcomes.
Modernization adapts to industrialization needs but is considered to create social imbalance such as economic imbalance in which the gap between the wealthy and poor is widened. Modernization pushes the cost and standards of living upwards which causes the unprivileged to become poorer. It often leads to development of slums in urban areas. Renovations in urban areas causes rise in rent rates that may become unaffordable to the lower social class, an increase in slum dwellers is the result of urban modernization. This is in addition to high social benefits but low wages and reduction in micro and small enterprise benefits.
Social imbalance, which is directly linked to modernization strategies, is characterized by increased disequilibrium in the economy. Economic disparities are a result of change and modernization that is effected to adapt the society to the new environment. Economic disequilibrium is caused by the change in which economic welfare of a few individuals favorably increases while others declined in conditions of being underprivileged with micro businesses and small investments getting no benefits. However, the middle class tend to oppose social change and modernization in the business and political environment.
Elite ideas are used to study social change and modernization by intellectuals and the state subject to external influences and constraints (Harrison pg 46). Social change needs social forces to come together to make new situations stable although it must not be better than the old situation. It results in a change of attitudes and the whole system of the society.
Modernization include changes that can be predicted and linked to social and economic developments that in the long run drives people to demand and rally for democratic institutions in governance. The social and economic developments are more responsive to the elite members of the society.
The aspect of gender imbalance in modernization is a key issue in ensuring controlled social change. Programmes have been put in place to promote greater gender balance and diversity in public sector through affirmative actions in procedures of public recruitment and selection. This includes job selection and representation to parastatals, public sector, and the enterprise sector.
Modernization needs to prevent further social imbalance by putting in place measures, which are economically inclusive with respect to equality of economic opportunities. These measures need to focus on employment opportunities in eradication of poverty, in addition to other measures that ensure equal performance in provision of services such as education, healthcare, and administration of Justice. For prevention of social imbalance, these measures must focus on poverty and social exclusion so as to accommodate cultural diversity.
The society, in which we are living in, has achieved development and modernization from its past traditions and is continuing to develop into new and innovative ways in contributing to current and tomorrow's tradition (Harrison Pg 118). During modernization, societies dominated by tradition undergoing a process through which societies form basis of governance dictated by modern democratic principles. Developing opportunities that arise as a result of modernization are determined and influenced by human beings in the same society. Modernization views the result of human influence as an active process that can change and be a hindrance to the developments.
Changing social and economic situations applied innovative means that appeared in different ways and intensity, the innovations sometimes faded away and re-emerged later in another historical context (Germani pg 14). Traditional, religious, and cultural beliefs are no longer valued as modernization takes hold with the use and adoption of abstract principles governing the society.