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"Compare and contrast modernisation theory and dependency theory as explanations of development and under-development"

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  • Essay length: 1047 words
  • Submitted: 16/07/2008
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AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification

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"Compare and contrast modernisation theory and dependency theory as explanations of development and under-development"

The two theories, modernisation and dependency both give valid and just explanations for development and underdevelopment. There is a notable likeness in them both but there are also many differences and neither escape criticisms.

Modernisation theory was before dependency theory and was developed in the 1950/60s; the theory is based on 4 main assumptions. Western societies are the most advanced in terms of technological, social and political terms, countries go through a series of stages on their route to becoming advanced, this path is a 'natural' form of development and there must be something preventing them from doing this and finally, these underdeveloped nations can advance without an changes taking place in the finance and trading patterns of the capitalist world. The modernisation theory is politically conservative as it sees nations being undeveloped because they lack the qualities that developed nations have, this is compared with the dependency theory who see this underdevelopment due to the exploitation of advanced nations.

W.W. Rostow is one of the most notable modernisation theorists; he argued that there are a number of stages

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