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Modernisation, Modernity, and Modernism - Essay Example

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The terms modernisation, modernity, and modernism, although often used alternately, have distinct meaning from each other. Modernisation is the process of altering the circumstances of a society, an organisation or another group of people in ways that change the privileges of that group according to contemporary technology or contemporary wisdom1 whilst modernity is a word used to illustrate the condition of being 'Modern.' Since the term 'Modern' is used to illustrate a broad range of periods, the term modernity should always be taken in context.2 And lastly, the term modernism is an artistic and cultural movement that normally includes progressive art and architecture, music and literature …
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Modernisation, Modernity, and Modernism
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"Modernisation, Modernity, and Modernism"

Download file to see previous pages Society would progress inevitably from barbarism to ever superior levels of development and civilization. The more modern states would be wealthier, the more freedom and higher standard of living their citizens will have. This was the standard view in the social sciences for many decades with its foremost advocate being Talcott Parsons. This theory stressed the importance of societies being open to change and saw as reactionary forces restricting development. Maintaining tradition for tradition's sake was thought to be harmful to progress and development. However, this approach has been heavily criticized, mainly because it conflated modernisation with westernisation. In this model, the modernization of a society required the destruction of the indigenous culture and its replacement by a more westernised one.4
Modernity denoted the idea that the present is discontinuous with the past, that through a process of social and cultural change, life in the present is basically distinct from the past life. This sense or idea as a world view contrasts with tradition, which is simply the sense that the present is continuous with the past, that the present in some way repeats the forms, behaviour, and events of the past.5 Modernity could include all of post-medieval European history, in the context of dividing history into three large epochs: Antiquity or Ancient history, the Middle Ages, and Modern. It is also applied specifically to the period beginning somewhere between 1870 and 1910, through the present, and even more specifically to the 1910-1960 period.6

Modernity is often characterized by contrasting modern societies to premodern or postmodern ones. To an extent, it is reasonable to doubt the very possibility of a descriptive concept that can adequately capture diverse realities of societies of various historical contexts, especially non-European ones, let alone a three-stage model of social evolution from premodernity to postmodernity.7

The Paradox of Modernity
The 'crisis of modernity' is the sense that modernity is a problem, that traditional ways of life have been replaced with uncontainable change and insurmountable alternatives. The crisis itself is merely the sense that the present is a transitional point not focused on a clear goal in the future but simply changing through forces outside man's control.8 Modernization brought a series of seemingly undisputable benefits to people. Lower infant mortality rate, decreased death from starvation, eradication of some of the fatal diseases, more equal treatment of people with different backgrounds and incomes, and so on. To some, this is an indication of the potential of modernity, perhaps yet to be fully realised. In general, rational, scientific approach to problems and the pursuit of economic wealth seems still to many a reasonable way of understanding good social development.9 At the same time, there are a number of dark ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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