Which of the Following Social Theorists Is Identified With Modernization Theory Quizlet?


Vincent White

Which of the Following Social Theorists Is Identified With Modernization Theory Quizlet?

In the realm of social theory, several prominent thinkers have made significant contributions to our understanding of modernization. One popular platform for studying and revising these concepts is Quizlet. In this article, we will explore the key social theorists associated with modernization theory and how their ideas have shaped our understanding of societal progress.

What is Modernization Theory?

Modernization theory is a perspective that emerged in the mid-20th century, aiming to explain the process of societal development and transformation from traditional agrarian societies to modern industrialized ones. This theory suggests that societies evolve through a series of stages driven by technological advancements, economic growth, and cultural changes.

The Social Theorists Linked to Modernization Theory

Several notable social theorists are identified with modernization theory. Let’s explore their contributions:

  • Rostow: Walt Rostow was an American economist who developed a five-stage model called “The Stages of Economic Growth” in 1960. Rostow believed that all societies pass through these stages – traditional society, preconditions for take-off, take-off, drive to maturity, and high mass consumption. His model emphasized the role of investment in infrastructure and industrialization as drivers of economic development.
  • Parsons: Talcott Parsons was an American sociologist who contributed to modernization theory by emphasizing the role of social structures in facilitating progress.

    He argued that as societies modernize, they experience functional differentiation, where different institutions perform specific functions and become interdependent.

  • Inkeles and Smith: Alex Inkeles and David H. Smith expanded upon modernization theory by examining the impact of modernization on individual attitudes and values. They conducted extensive cross-cultural research and found that as societies modernize, individuals tend to adopt more rational, achievement-oriented, and self-expressive values.
  • Eisenstadt: Shmuel N. Eisenstadt was an Israeli sociologist who contributed to modernization theory by highlighting the role of multiple modernities. According to Eisenstadt, modernization does not lead to a single uniform type of society but rather multiple paths of development influenced by cultural traditions and historical contexts.

Critiques and Alternatives

While modernization theory has played a significant role in shaping our understanding of societal progress, it is not without its criticisms. Some argue that the theory oversimplifies complex social processes and neglects cultural factors. Critics also point out that the theory has often been used to justify Western dominance and colonization.

Alternative perspectives such as dependency theory, world-systems theory, and post-development theory offer critical insights into the limitations of modernization theory. These alternative approaches emphasize power dynamics, global interdependencies, and the need for local agency in understanding societal change.


In conclusion, several social theorists have contributed to our understanding of modernization through their diverse perspectives. From Rostow’s economic stages to Parsons’ emphasis on social structures, each theorist has added valuable insights into this field of study. However, it is essential to critically evaluate these theories while considering alternative frameworks that provide a more comprehensive understanding of societal transformation.