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Main page / "Knowledge. Understanding. Skill" Journal / Contents / 2014 / No. 2

Fedotova V. G. Modernization and Tradition

(The Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences)

Abstract ◊ The article examines the interrelation between modernization and tradition that has taken various forms in different historical periods. It is noted that it is difficult to analyze not only the flexible and changing content of modernization, but also diverse interpretations of tradition. S. N. Eisenstadt was one of the first social theorists to draw attention to the decline of the early paradigm of modernization and revision of the correlation between tradition and modernity. He found various stages in the development of modern society.

The author proposes a typology, which defines and separates the first, the second, and the third modernity. These types of modernity correspond with the forms of relations between modernization and tradition. Traditional society was replaced by innovative society, which was attributing negative connotation to traditions, although these traditions continued to function. The first modernity was built by the West in the 19th century. It was a liberal modernity, which (as a result of the Enlightenment’s influence) formed a new goal-rationality, science, an autonomous and responsible individual, free market, industrial society, capitalism, principles of the law-bound state, new customs and cultural phenomena due to multiple innovations. The second modernity emerged in the West in the 20th century after the World War I and the October Socialist Revolution. It is called the organized modernity and characterized by social democracy, technocracy and bureaucracy. Social democracy has become the West's reaction to the October Socialist Revolution in order to avoid its repetition in Western countries. Technocracy and bureaucracy were a response to technological progress. Traditions here were making themselves visible. Therefore, there were doubts in the catching-up model of modernization.

The author has coined the term “the third modernity” as a new Modern era for the non-Western countries. It appeared in the beginning of the 21st century. The term is now employed by many scholars. The modernization of the third modernity takes into account its own tradition and culture of the countries that have taken this path.

Keywords: modernization, tradition, innovation, modernity, types of modernity, culture, institutional environment, economics, politics, human being, Shmuel Eisenstadt.


Fedotova Valentina Gavrilovna, Doctor of Science (philosophy), professor, the head of the Social Philosophy Sector, the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Postal address: 14 Volkhonka St., Moscow, Russian Federation, 119991. Tel.: +7 (499) 697-91-89. E-mail: valentina_fedotova@front.ru

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Citation: Fedotova V. G. Modernization and Tradition // Znanie. Ponimanie. Umenie. 2014. 2. S. 80–91.

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