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The Development, Application and Criticism of Modernisation Theory

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DOI: 10.25236/iwass.2021.033


Yifei Liu, Runbing Xu

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Yifei Liu


Modernisation theory was developed by Max Weber and elaborated by Talcott Parsons. Modernisation theory is trying to explain the social progression process. And the supporters of modernisation theory believe that society will develop rapidly if they adopt modern practices. However, modernisation theory is also under tremendous criticism since the opponents believe modernisation theory is Euro-centric and cannot be applied in all scenarios. This paper will discuss how historians apply modernisation theory to different historical research and how modernisation theory developed in the different research fields. Also, has modernisation theory successfully reconciling critics against it?


Modernisation theory, industrialisation, environment, colonisation, globalisation, institutions