J. Samuel Valenzuela and Arturo Valenzuela, “Modernization and dependency: Alternative perspectives on the study of Latin American underdevelopment”, Comparative Politics 10 (1978), pp. 535-557.

_Summary:_ Good overview of the debate b/w Modernization and Dependency theories. Modernization: level of analysis is behavioural  (microsociological) – the primary focus is on individuals, their values, attitudes, and beliefs. Dependency, in contrast, is structrual (macrosociological) – its focus is on the mode of production, patterns of international trade, political and economic linkages between elites in peripheral and central countries, group and class alliances and conflicts, and so on.

 

 

== Notes ==

===The Modernization Perspective===

*The literature assumes that the values, institutions, and patterns of action of traditional society are both an expression and a cause of underdevelopment and constitute the main obstacles in the way of modernization

* To enter the modern world, underdeveloped societies have to overcome traditional norms and structures opening the way for social, economic, and political transformations.

 

===Latin America and the modernization perspective===

* 1960s literature – that the key to Latin American society can be found it its cultural values (and in the 1970s, became known as ‘new coporatism’)

** Attempting to explain economic, social and political features of Latin American countries by stressing the durability of Catholic and ‘Thomistic’ values. Idea that authoritarian political patterns, corporativist economic organizations, and the disdain for democratic and liberal values are the results of a ‘distinct tradition.’

 

===The Dependency Perspective===

* Draws on Marxist insights and the Marxist theory of imperialism

* Aimed to explain Latin American underdevelopment, not the functioning of Capitalism (it was developed with a region in mind, important)

 

_Assumptions_

* Assumes that the development of a region or national unit can only be understood in connection with its historical insertion into the world-wide political-economic system.

Key: Both underdevelopment and development are aspects of the same phenomenon

* The center is viewed as being capable of dynamic, responsive development and is the main benefactor of global links. The inverse is true for the periphery.

* Connections matter – underdevelopment is not just the product of external constraints – it is important to see how internal and external structural components are connected

* See Cardoso on Associated-Dependent Development

* New phase of dependency – characterized by Wallerstein

 

===Summary and Conclusions===

* Modernization: level of analysis is behavioural  (microsociological) – the primary focus is on individuals, their values, attitudes, and beliefs.

* Dependency, in contrast, is structrual (macrosociological) – its focus is on the mode of production, patterns of international trade, political and economic linkages between elites in peripheral and central countries, group and class alliances and conflicts, and so on.

* Both are concerned with the process of development in national societies, but only the modernization writer sees the national society as the basic unit of analysis – for the writer from a dependence perspective, the global system and its various forms of interaction with national societies are the primary object of inquiry.

* At the core is a fundamentally different perception of _human nature_ – dependency assumes human behavior in economic matters is a ‘constant.’

* Dependency is seen as an ‘approach,’ not a theory due to its complexity. Modernization theory is parsimonious and reductionist, which is why it is less useful for dealing with a complex phenomenon such as underdevelopment.

 

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