Alex Inkeles, in his book titled ‘Becoming Modern: Individual Change in Six Developing Countries’, conducted a survey of people in six different countries and concluded that a ‘modern man’ undergoes certain changes in his attitude and personality, irrespective of his cultural origin. These traits, common to all modern men, may be set out as follows:
1. A disposition to accept new ideas and try new methods.
2. Readiness to express opinions.
3. A time sense that makes men more interested in the present and future than the past.
4. Better sense of punctuality.
5. Greater concern for planning, organisation, and efficiency.
6. A tendency to see the world as calculable.
7. Faith in science and technology.
8. A belief in distributive justice.
Several authors have explained the phenomenon of modernisation from different angles. Cyril E. Black, a historian, believes that the growth of new knowledge and its application to human affairs forms the basis of modernisation. David McClelland, a psychologist, considers achievement-orientation (that is, the need to achieve) and self-reliance to be the hall-marks of modernisation.
Edward Shils, a sociologist, is of the opinion that modernisation is always accompanied by development of skills and a spirit of creativity. According to psychologist Hadley Cantril, striving to get desired results is a necessary personality change seen in modern individuals. Such changes in the personality of a minority of the population ultimately lead to changes in the entire social structure.
Samuel P. Huntington, in his book titled ‘The Change to Change: Modernisation, Development, and Politics’ has identified nine characteristics of modernisation, as follows:
1. It is a revolutionary process.
2. It is a complex and multi-dimensional process.
3. It is a systematic process.
4. It is a global process.
5. It is a lengthy process.
6. It is a phased process.
7. It is a homogenizing process
8. It is a reversible process.
9. It is a progressive process.
Modernisation and traditionalism:
In contrast to modernisation, traditionalism resists change and advocates strict adherence to ancient traditions and customs. Tradition is therefore, often synonymous with immutability and rigidity. However, traditionalism and modernisation do not necessarily represent opposite extremes.
Modernisation does not call for a complete replacement of traditional customs with modern ones. Instead, older traditions are inter-woven with modem practices, leading to a metamorphosis of the society as a whole.