Types and Characteristics of Modernization in Sociology 


In sociological terms, modernisation refers to the transformation of a rural, agrarian, and traditional society into an urban, industrial, and secular society. Modernization in India took its root after the nation’s contact with the Western societies and the establishment of British rule. As a result, many social and cultural changes approached the country.

Meaning of Modernisation

1. S.H. Alatas:

“Modernization is a process by which modern scientific knowledge is introduced in the society with the ultimate purpose of achieving a better and a more satisfactory life in the broadest sense of the term as accepted by the society concerned”.

2. Rutow and Ward (1964):

“The basic process in Modernization is the application of modern science to human affairs.”

3. Daniel Lerner:

“Modernization is the current term for an old process of social change whereby less developed societies acquire the characteristics common to more developed societies”.

4. Prof. Yogendra Singh:

“Modernization symbolizes a rational attitude towards issues and their evaluation but not from a particularistic point of view”.

5. Smelser:

Modernization refers to “a complex set of changes that take place almost in every part of society as it attempts to be industrialized. Modernization involves ongoing change in a society’s economy, politics, education, traditions, and religion”.

Characteristics of Modernisation 

1. Urbanisation:

Thompson Warren defines urbanisation as,

“the movement of people from communities concerned chiefly or solely with agriculture to other communities, gen­erally larger whose activities are primarily centred in government, trade, manufacture, or allied interests.”

Anderson on the other hand believes,

“ur­banization is not a one-way process but it is a two-way process.”

2. Application of Technology:

People are starting to give up traditional practices like agriculture and field work and are relying more on the use of technology to complete their work. 

3. Industrialisation:

There are many industries being established to perform various works and functions and these modern industries have also rapidly been replacing traditional industries. 

4. Rise in National Income:

Modernisation has also led to an increase in the national income due to the exporting of industrial goods so that the nation can also benefit from the same and earn huge profits. 

5. Rise in Literacy:

The government is making constant efforts to reduce illiteracy by introducing various policies that make education compulsory up to a certain age which has led to a rise in the literacy rate. 

Eisenstadt opines,

“modernization is historically a process of change that is oriented towards social, economic and political systems like Western Europe.”

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