From Modernization to Multiple Modernities: Eurocentrism Redux



This chapter continues my treatment of the relationship between the idea of modernity and the form of sociological argument, a relationship that arises with the very emergence of sociology as I argued in the previous chapter. With the development of this paradigmatic concern with modernity, the future was no longer seen as being about the reproduction of the present, but was considered to be a space for the further development of projects and trends (Burke 1992). These trends and projects were to be the trends and projects of modernity itself where modernity could also be understood, in Habermas’s (1996) words, as an unfinished project — one that was not yet realized, but could be used as a normative framework to address global processes. The ‘unfinished project’ in general terms, however, is the bringing to fruition of what is already predicated in the Western experience. Ideas of evolution and progress are central to the concern with the future and, for most writers, as I have argued, the history of the West is seen as a precursor of the future of the non-West. In this chapter, I will address theories of modernization and the recent idea of multiple modernities, which is argued by its proponents to escape the Eurocentrism that is finally allowed to be a characteristic of modernization theory.


Ideal Type Modernization Theory Traditional Society Mental Construct Modern Institution 
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© Gurminder K. Bhambra 2007

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