A major issue in modernization theory, and in the study of the relationship between the expanding West and the “Third World,” has been the dynamism or lack of dynamism present in the indigenously idiosyncratic patterns of non-Western cultures. The concept of modernization was born and bred in the West, and seems to have reached full maturity in the late 1950s under the tender care of American social scientists. The bulk of the literature it generated assumed that modernizing cultures, following the West in their patterns of development, would become increasingly alike and eventually “converge.” Although Marxist theories of imperialism do not see Western influence as an unmitigated good, they too view the Third World nations as essentially passive.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.