What Is Modernization, What Does It Mean?

What Is Modernization, What Does It Mean?

July 2, 2021 Off By Felso

Modernization has traditionally been examined from two main points of view: From the first point of view, it is the modern West, and modernization means that other countries approach Western models and establish Western institutions in their own countries.

According to the other point of view, even if modernization is experienced in the form of Westernization at the institutional level, it may not be possible to talk about a cultural modernization in this direction; cultural differences can prevent a uniform modernization (Keyman, 2009: 41).

It can be seen that the main difference between these perspectives is whether the relationship between Westernization and modernization is parallel.


The concept of modern society is most generally used to describe the social conditions that have occurred with the changes in the last few centuries.

The basis of this usage is the break from the traditional social order and social classes. This rupture refers to the processes of urbanization, industrialization, democratization and the emergence of empirical and analytical knowledge. However, these processes did not occur simultaneously in all parts of the world and did not occur simultaneously.

In that case, when considering the modernization process, it can be started from the historical period in which these facts come closest to each other rather than the identity between these facts (Wagner, 2005: 22-26).

Urbanization is a social change that refers to modernization.

Since the 18th century, radical changes have been experienced in Western Europe in social, political and economic terms; industrialization, urbanization, nation states, democratization and capitalism have emerged as brand new phenomena in history.

These changes, called modernization, also mean a break with traditions and a radical transformation, which means the dissolution and loss of effectiveness of traditional structures.

Modernization was not limited to Western Europe. The 19th and 20th centuries were periods when the winds of modernization blew all over the world. Almost all of the world’s nations have undergone a process of social transformation by experiencing a gradual modernization experience.


In the last two centuries, that is, in the modern period, the pace of social change has increased. The factors that lead to this rapid change can be grouped into three categories:

Cultural Factors

The development of science, which is among the cultural factors affecting the processes of social change in the modern period, and the secularization of thought contributed to the emergence of the critical and innovative nature of the modern perspective.

We no longer assume that customs or habits should be accepted because of their ancient authority. On the contrary, we increasingly feel the need to put our ways of life on a “rational” basis.

For example, when establishing a hospital, we take into account not only traditional tastes, but also the main purpose of the hospital, namely the effective treatment of patients.

Besides how we think, the content of our thoughts has also changed. The ideals of betterment, freedom, equality and democratic participation are largely the product of the past two or three centuries.

Such ideals have set in motion processes of social and political change, including revolutions. These ideas cannot be tied to tradition; on the contrary, it requires a constant review of lifestyles as one tries to move towards the better.

Although originally developed in the West, such ideals have increasingly become truly universal and global in scope by promoting change in many parts of the world.

Economic Factors

The most important among the economic factors is the effect of industrial capitalism.

Modern capitalism is radically different from pre-existing modes of production because capitalism leads to continued growth of production and the accumulation of wealth. In traditional production schemes, production levels are highly static as they depend on habitual traditional requirements.

Capitalism encourages continuous revision of production technology. This is a process in which science is increasingly involved. The rate of technological innovation brought about by modern industry is much higher than in any past form of economic order.

The impact of science and technology on our lifestyles is largely driven by economic factors, but this impact goes beyond the economic realm.

The most important among the economic factors is the effect of industrial capitalism.

Science and technology both influence and are affected by political and cultural factors. Scientific and technological development has helped create modern forms of communication, such as radio, television, cell phones, and the Internet.

As we have seen, electronic communication forms have also led to changes in politics in recent years. Our use of electronic media such as television and the Internet also shapes how we think and feel about the world.