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“Underdevelopment Is Primarily a Consequence of Cultural Rather Than Economic Factors”. to What Extent Do Sociological Evidence and Arguments Supports This View of Underdevelopment in the World Today?

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jamesheine
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Underdevelopment takes place when resources are not used to fulfil their socioeconomic potential. Underdeveloped nations are characterised by a wide disparity between their rich and poor populations and unhealthy balance of trades.

Modernisation theory is a functionalist view thats says of a country to be seen as modern it has to undergo an evolutionary advance in science and technology which in turn would lead to an increased standard of living for all. Parsons, 1979, stresses the need for cultural change in the LEDC’s as he believes that culture acts as a barrier. He saw modernity as being associated with societies that have their base in individuality and achievement as opposed to traditional societies which have their base in ascription. Parsons states that not only does there need to a political change but countries need to change socially and in order to do so cultural change is necessary. Through education a political elite could be created who would lead the country into social change through political policies and thus bring about modernisation. Nevertheless, It implies that traditional values and institutions have little or no value compared with their Western equivalents. However, there is evidence from Japan and the ‘Asian Tigers’ that the traditional (e.g. religion and extended family) can exist successfully alongside the modern.

Bill Rostow, a modernisation sociologist suggested that development should be seen as an evolutionary process in which countries progress up a development ladder of five stages. Undeveloped societies are ‘traditional societies’ dominated by institutions such as families, tribes and clans, within which roles are ascribed (i.e. people are born into them) rather than achieved. Production is agricultural.

The ‘pre-conditions for take-off’ stage involves the introduction of material factors such as capital and technology...

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