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Social Change - Modernisation Print

We conceive social change as modernisation. Modernisation refers to a historical process marked by secularisation, democratisation and capitalisation of society but also to social differentiation and individualisation. Late or post-modernity is characterised by a reflexive modernisation of social structures resulting from emerging risks and side-effects such as the de-standardisation of life courses and transitions and new dynamics of social exclusion.

Comparison in social science often explicitly or implicitly implies a single modernisation pathway corresponding to the Western one of democracy and capitalism. Social development deviating from this model tends to be viewed as ‘selective’ or ‘partial’ modernisation which implies that the respective societies have to ‘catch up’ with more modern societies and compensate for a modernisation lag. Instead, the concept of transition regimes starts from a diversity of modernisation pathways the comparison of which may distinguish general assets of modernisation from context-(or path-) specific ones. (AW)



Bauman, Zygmunt (2000) Liquid modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press

Beck, Ulrich (1992) Risk Society. London: Routledge.

Giddens, Anthony (1990) The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Jerneck, M. (2005) Different Paths to Modernity. Northern Academic Press.


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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 May 2006 )

Project supported by funding under the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme - Coordinated by IRIS e.V.

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