The concept of modernization in the study of political change



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This study attempts to evaluate the concept of modernization in terms of its paradigmatic role in the study of political change. Until the end of World War II political scientists had been preoccupied mainly with stable Western countries, and the study of change had been a major hiatus in the political inquiry. The recent scholarly preoccupation with modernization represents a drastic change in this static orientation. As a systematic way of looking at social change modernization has governed strongly political scientists' approach to the problems of charge. However, political scientists' experiment with the concept goes on, what it misses or neglects has become evident. Many scholars have found more significance in those aspects of political change which the concept glosses over than in those which it highlights. Consequently, the term has acquired varying, and more often than not conflicting conceptions, and its paradigmatic role has become increasingly confused. This study explores the nature and source of this conceptual confusion. Major themes of this study are to explicate the concept modernization, to discuss its paradigmatic role in the study of political change both in positive and negative senses, and to examine some logical difficulties inherent in the concept which led to such a conceptual confusion.



Modernization, Political change