Criticizing The Modernization Theory Essay

2012 words - 9 pages

Ramy Mostafa El Housiny
POLS 310
Professor Ahmed Abd Raboh
Term Paper
Criticize the modernization theory using all available materials on modernization and its critique, providing your own opinion on how modernization leads to development.

The way people, societies, and countries develop and interact with each other have a strong influence on deviance. Although societies may differ in appearance and way of life, they all have crime, religion, family structure, politics, and economy. The vast differences in societies are constantly studied and theorized. Grand theories, for example, are meta-theories that examine an aspect of society on a global or national scale. One particular ...view middle of the document...

The specificity of contemporary theories fulfills the third part of the modernization theory's definition. The generalization is that results of modernization are main contributors to crime.
Many contend that although each nation is different, they experience "similar phases of development" (Howard 149). Naturally, modernization rests upon technological breakthroughs. Technology is the "catalyst that leads to political, economic, and demographic changes within a society (Strasser and Randall 1981)" (Howard 149). Technology is what drives a society into the spiral of modernization. It creates an atmosphere that fosters urbanization and industrialization. Urbanization is caused by the development of new technology which creates more jobs and creates concentrated population areas, also known as cities. These cities and modernization usually result in higher levels of crime. Thus, modernization theory argues that the results of modernity will provide a more substantial explanation of crime and all nations will "experience similar trends in crime rates as they develop" (Howard 149).
The similar trends that countries experience as they develop include a shift from crimes against people to economic and property crimes. That is, according to Glenn D. Walters there is a strong increase in the rate of "property-related and economically oriented categories of offense" (47). Shelley (1981) found that in the USSR, the more developed areas had higher rates of property crime, but the less developed areas experienced higher rates of violent crime. This has the potential implication that crime is simply more prevalent in urban areas, regardless of the countries state of development (Walters 47). Industrialization and urbanization place a stronger emphasis and value on material goods. Thus, there is going to be increase rates of property crimes because of the increased value. Crimes against property could potentially lead to crimes against people, but not necessarily (Walters 49).
Walters provides a number of explanations regarding the relationship between urbanization and crimes in his book, Foundations of Criminal Science: The Development of Knowledge. One explanation states, "Urbanization brings about a state of social alienation and incohesion that lends itself to increased criminal activity on the parts of persons predisposed to such acts" (48). More importantly, he explains, is that urban areas create an environment with greater criminal opportunities and "less chance of detection owing to the impersonal nature of the environment." The concept of opportunity is a strong motivator for crimes. As Walters explained, there is less chance of "getting caught" in an urban area. This contrasts with rural areas where there are stronger social ties among citizens.
Furthermore, according to Howard, as nations develop they experience a growth of social and economic relations. "These complex divisions are suspected of undermining mechanical solidarity and its...

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