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AS and A Level Sociological Differentiation & Stratification
"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 that a traditional society has to pass through to become a modern society. His work is combined with the four key elements above and his own model of stages based on the British industrial revolution. He puts forward the idea that all countries have to pass through the following five stages of economic growth. Firstly societies start off traditionally; mostly agricultural with a lack of scientific and technological knowledge, Somalia is one country who is considered to still be in this stage. Secondly a society which has had an increase in trade and industry with emerging elite who, unlike traditional societies can use scientific and technical knowledge for investment and economic growth like Ghana. The third stage is referred to by Rostow as 'take off', this is when investment grows to around ten percent of the countries income, the country also continues to grow in social and political ways many countries like Botswana are currently in this stage. Fourthly is the drive to maturity when investment, social and political reform continue to grow like China and Russia. Lastly is the age of mass consumption, this is where economic production is high and social

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