Modernization Theory is a theory of social and economic
development, following functionalist or consensus assumptions, that societies need to have
harmony among their component parts.
These assumptions leads to the belief that modern
economies (capitalist) demand special characteristics in
their culture and the social structure. Family systems
are assumed to change towards a narrow conjugal form, and away from extended structure, in
order to accommodate the individualism and occupational
flexibility that is demanded by a modern complex economy undergoing continual
Ronald Inglehart is among the very few scholars to have
remained consistently engaged with both the study of political culture and the development
of modernization theory over the past few decades.
In Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold
War America Nils Gilman offers the first intellectual history of a movement that has had
far-reaching, and often unintended, consequences.