Max Weber's Theory Max Weber and Modernization Essay

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  • Subject: Sociology
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  • Paper: #85143073

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Max Weber's Theory

Max Weber and modernization in the U.S.A.

The concept of modernization has not escaped the controversy that has surrounded most ideas that have come up in the process of giving the globe a new face that is different from the one that was there before. Modernization happens around us on a daily basis and it is a continuous process that accompanies the human life. There is a general agreement that things like the industrial cities are modern cities. Modernization is therefore generally understood as the process in which people adopt new, more productive ways and means in almost all economic sectors. In order to sustain or uphold these shifts in the economic levels there is need to have a value system that gives emphasis to rationality, specialization, efficiency, cosmopolitanism as well as a keen interest in the prospective of having a future that is better than the current world in terms of the social as well as the material status (Richard Brown, 1975).

It is then worth noting that such a system described above, with the comprehensive nature it has, will not only affect the economic sector but will pass the influence to the political arena, the community will be affected too, the family and the society in general. The entire population is seen to be internalizing the concept of modernity.

The idea of modernity was coined by the classical theorists who sought to understand the meaning as well as the significance of the Twin Revolutions and the apparent aftermath of urbanization, industrialization as well as democracy on the rural community. The term modernity was therefore formed to help explain the difference and the changes that were ongoing hence contrasting the 'modern' and the 'traditional'.

Modernity was a world that was constructed a new through intentional and conscious intervention of individuals. It is a world that is formed by human construction, a thing that is true of the American modernity. In order to achieve the economic, social as well as political status that the U.S.A. is at, there were intentional plans like the five-year plans, several revolutions, well researched investment strategies that were put in place.

Max Weber viewed modernity as bureaucratization, rationalization as well as the 'iron cage'. He further notes that modernization was simply an increased rationalization. He notes that in the modernized world, everything that people depend upon is controlled by large capitalist bureaucratic organization (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2007).

Max Weber noted that a highly bureaucratic organization or society will have hierarchical structure, rules, organization by functional specialty, are purposefully impersonal and employment/recruitment based on qualifications, among many others as numerated by John Kilcullen (1996). These are also evident in the U.S.A. As organizations are treated as separate entities from persons and have their rules governing them, there is need for one to be trained to get a good job in the U.S.A. And almost all sectors have their rules to be followed, these are manifestations of modernity.

There are three elements to modernity as depicted by Kathy Henry (2007), the traditional, the institutional as well as the cultural. Traditional modernity implies that there is a historical consciousness followed by an intentional attitude of breaking with the past and a post-traditional consciousness of the global happenings. This the U.S.A. has achieved by preserving the relevant past yet keeping in pace with the current global trends and trying to lead in most sectors.

The institutional modernity has more to do with industrialism, capitalism as well as the democratic nation state. The U.S.A. again fits into this categorization as its economy is a capitalist-based economy, that is run on a democratic government and the highest consideration is given to industrial investments, then there is also an ever increasing urban concentration within the U.S.A.

The cultural modernity that is a critical aspect of modernization is concerned with science, economics as well as education. It is characterized by criticism of religion and a separation of the religious aspects from the country politics and the country's education system. This is again seen in the U.S.A. system as a modernized country. The U.S.A. government keeps religious matters totally separate from the education in schools and universities.

Modernization is very likely to continue in the U.S.A. As the fundamental determinants of modernization like scientific discoveries and progress, urbanization, economic stability, political freedom continue…

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