effects of the modernization process on human communication
History and Orientation
A macro-theory with a historical and sociological inspiration. Developed in large-scale historical research investigating the effects of the modernization process on human communication. Modernization means the appearance of ‘modes of social life or organization which emerged in Europe from about the seventeenth century onwards and which subsequently became more or less worldwide in their influence’(Giddens, 1991). Modernization theories explain the changing ways of communication and media use in traditional and (post)modern societies. Core Assumptions and Statements
Modernization theory has evolved in three waves. The first wave appeared in the 1950s and 1960s. One made the attempt to explain the diffusion of Western styles of living, technological innovations and individualist types of communication (highly selective, addressing only particular persons) as the superiority of secular, materialist, Western, individualist culture and of individual motivation and achievement (Lerner, 1958), Schramm, 1964). This first wave of theory produced three variants (McQuail, 2000: 84): 1.
Economic development: mass media promote the global diffusion of many technical and social innovations that are essential to modernization (Rogers, 1962). See Diffusion of Innovations theory. 2.
Literacy and cultural development: mass media can teach literacy and other essential skills and techniques. They encourage a ‘state of mind’ favorable to modernity, e.g. the imagination of an alternative way of life beyond the traditional way. 3.
National identity development: mass media could support national identities in new nations (colonies) and support attention to democratic policies (elections). Most of these theories have been discredited because of their pro-Western bias. The second wave of modernization theory is a part of the critical theory that was popular in the 1970s and...
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