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FOAR 701: Modernisation Theory: part 2

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Max Weber's modernisation theory and applications, including the case of capoeira in Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, containerisation, and consumer capitalism. (Note: part 1 given by a colleague, so I won't be posting it.)

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FOAR 701: Modernisation Theory: part 2

  1. 1. ‘The fate of our times is characterized by rationalization and intellectualization and, above all, by the disenchantment of the world. Precisely the ultimate and most sublime values have retreated from public life either into the transcendental realm of mystic life or into the brotherliness of direct and personal human relations.’ Max Weber, Politics as a Vocation 1FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701
  2. 2. FOAR701: Research paradigms (2016) Modernisation theory: case studies 2 Greg Downey Department of Anthropology Faculty of Arts Macquarie University greg.downey@mq.edu.au @gregdowney1
  3. 3. – A. R. Radcliffe-Brown ‘On the concept of function in social science,’ American Anthropologist 37: 401 (1935). …one ‘explanation’ of a social system will be its history, where we know it — the detailed account of how it came to be, what it is and where it is. Another ‘explanation’ of the same system is obtained by showing… that it is a special exemplification of laws of social psychology or social functioning. The two kinds of explanation do not conflict but supplement one another. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 3
  4. 4. Painter Charles Baudelaire, ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ (1864) Modernité: fleeting, ephemeral experience of life in the city… Portrait of Baudelaire, by Gustave Courbet c. 1848 FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 4
  5. 5. Transition from ‘traditional’ to ‘modern’ Change in the nature of subjectivity linked to change in economy, politics & society. Causal ambivalence. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 5
  6. 6. Key components of modernisation theory • Strong diachronic foundation for analysis. • Periodisation crucial, with focus on discontinuities. • Ideal typical modelling (use of ‘ideal types’). • ‘Idealism’: societies & institutions elaborate core principles (even if these are not articulated; contrast to materialism). • Emphasis on ‘rationalisation’ (whether or not ‘rational,’ a ‘logic’ or tendency in a society worked out over time). FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 6
  7. 7. Contrast of modernisation theory (Weber) • For Weber, emergence of capitalism in US (& not in Germany) is the explanatory problem; unlike Marx, he does not see capitalism as inevitable. • Weber: generative conditions are day-to-day practices, motivated by a particular interpretation of core theological concepts (pre-destination, ‘elect,’ ‘vocation’). • Individuals are thoroughly socialised (encultured) & act to bring world into consistency with their principles (rationalisation, institutionalisation). • Causation is not automatic, nor is only one set of conditions sufficient to create social predisposition for capitalism (or other formation). FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 7
  8. 8. Modernisation theory very broadly construed Again, the theory is widely divided; for example, in anthropology, discussion of ‘modernities.’ FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 8
  9. 9. Urban disenchantment and self-transformation Case study: capoeira in Brazil FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 9
  10. 10. photo by Greg Downey2 Capoeira (ca-poo-air-ah) FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 10
  11. 11. Milton Santos ‘Mestre Bobó’ FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 11
  12. 12. The ‘old guard’ (velha guarda) FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 12
  13. 13. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 13
  14. 14. Rafael Alvez França Cobrinha Verde FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 14
  15. 15. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 15
  16. 16. Rafael Alvez França Cobrinha Verde FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 16
  17. 17. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 17
  18. 18. ‘capoeiras’ ‘privileged target of the violence of the State’ Carlos Eûgenio Líbano Soares FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 18
  19. 19. Illustration by Kalixto from Kosmos, Revista Artistica, Scientifica e Literaria, 1906, Rio de Janeiro. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 19
  20. 20. Illustration by Kalixto from Kosmos, Revista Artistica, Scientifica e Literaria, 1906, Rio de Janeiro. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 20
  21. 21. Illustration by Kalixto from Kosmos, Revista Artistica, Scientifica e Literaria, 1906, Rio de Janeiro. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 21
  22. 22. Illustration by Kalixto from Kosmos, Revista Artistica, Scientifica e Literaria, 1906, Rio de Janeiro. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 22
  23. 23. Illustration by Kalixto from Kosmos, Revista Artistica, Scientifica e Literaria, 1906, Rio de Janeiro. http://www.capoeira- palmares.fr/histor/kosmos.htm FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 23
  24. 24. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 24
  25. 25. Monopolising violence Modern state & its subjectsFACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 25
  26. 26. Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro The disenchantment of the street FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 26
  27. 27. Military police occupy ‘Complexo do Alemão’ 2010, Rio de Janeiro FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 27
  28. 28. ‘Modernisation’ is a radical re-ordering of social world. The ‘capoeiras’’ identities became untenable (pre-modern). Modernity meant an end to vadiação (vagrancy). Capoeira became a ‘martial art’ and ‘physical education.’ FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 28
  29. 29. Variety of historical ideo-technical processes • Globalisation • Consumerisation. • Bureaucratisation • Hygiene revolution • Demographic transition • Secularisation • Automation • McDonaldisation (George Ritzer) • Disneyification (Sharon Zukin, Alan Bryman, Jeff Ferrell) • Enlightenment (Horkheimer & Adorno) • Urbanisation FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR70129
  30. 30. Modern trade: Globalisation Containerisation FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 30
  31. 31. Containerisation • 1955, Malcolm McLean invents the intermodal container. • International Organisation for Standardization (1970). • Reduced the cost of international shipping (producing cheap imports), while also removing the need for longshoremen. • Increased globalisation, ease of international relocation. • Has made ports one of the most automated industries. Leading the way in robotics. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR70131
  32. 32. Containerisation • Huge decrease in shipping costs. 1956: cost to ship = $5.86/ton 2016: = $.16/ton • 90% of all items purchased today have been carried inside a shipping container. 2.5 cents to ship a sweater; before, 25% of cost was shipping. • 17 million+ containers in the world today. • The largest container ship can carry over 17,000 TEUs. Only the size of Straits of Malacca may limit size. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR70132
  33. 33. Romantic Ethic and the Spirit of Consumerism Colin Campbell points out that contemporary consumption also required rupture of traditional habits. Instead of a ‘work ethic,’ the production of new needs. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 33
  34. 34. Romantic consumption • Uniqueness of personality & expression of ‘self.’ • Restless desire & consumption as end in itself; not ‘Protestant’… • Patterns of consumption disrupted — no guide. Advertising to cultivate new needs & dissatisfactions. • Campbell: consumption is the attempt to make daydreams real. • Effect was paradoxical given that romantics rejected industrial revolution. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 34
  35. 35. “the course of development involves… the bringing in of calculation into the traditional brotherhood, displacing the old religious relationship.” – Max Weber General Economic History (Dover 2003): 356. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 35
  36. 36. Focus on a key innovation & threshold That innovation often as much a logic or psychological state as it was a technology. For example, modernisation unleashed by theological innovation; link between democracy & wealth. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 36
  37. 37. Rationalisation For Weber, replacement of traditions, norms & emotions (like loyalty) with efficiency, means- rationalisation, and calculation. Linked both to modernisation & bureaucratisation. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 37
  38. 38. “Rational calculation… reduces every worker to a cog in this bureaucratic machine and, seeing himself in this light, he will merely ask how to transform himself… to a bigger cog… The passion for bureaucratization at this meeting drives us to despair.” – Max Weber Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. (U of California Press, 1978): lix. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 38
  39. 39. Weber on ‘rationalisation’ • If Marx & Engels predicted irresolvable conflict, Weber predicted increasingly rationalised bureaucracy. (Some would say the Soviet Union was precisely what Weber, not Marx, anticipated.) • Lenin, just after Russian revolution, vowed to organise ‘the whole national economy on the lines of the postal service.’ • In Weber, not ‘progress’: fear of ‘iron cage.’ FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR70139
  40. 40. The Puritan wanted to work in a calling; we are forced to do so.…This order is now bound to the technical and economic conditions of machine production which today determine the lives of all the individuals who are born into this mechanism… with irresistible force. Perhaps it will so determine them until the last ton of fossilized coal is burnt. In Baxter’s view the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the “saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment.” But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage. – Max Weber The Protestant Ethic and the Spirt of Capitalism. (Taylor & Francis, 2005 [1930]): 123. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 40
  41. 41. Strengths of ‘modernisation’ paradigm • Evolutionary and diachronic, but supple in terms of what sort of rationalisation is occurring… • Ideal types, as long as they are clearly posted as heuristics, are evocative & facilitate comparative analysis. • Recognises that fundamental change has occurred: speed of social transformation accelerating. • Agnostic about causation — held out the possibility of weak causation, multiple causation and ‘predisposing’ conditions. • Relationship between principle and instantiation in day-to-day practice & technology captures complex phenomena (ideational as well as practical). FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 41
  42. 42. Criticism of modernisation paradigm • Confounds modernisation with other processes (such as Westernisation, Americanisation, neoliberalisation…). • Eurocentric & social evolutionist. • Hides that ‘modern’ condition depends upon history of exploitation of ‘underdeveloped’ countries (e.g., underdevelopment theory like Andre Gunder Frank). • Politically naive in taking ‘democracy’ claims at face value. • Multiple ‘modernities’ (Shmuel Eisenstadt) and holdovers of the pre-modern in contemporary systems. • Simplifies dynamics of transition & the way that parts of society ‘advance’ at different paces due to internal tensions. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 42
  43. 43. Thanks for your attention! Bibliography online at iLearn Photos public domain at Pixabay or as indicated. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 43
  44. 44. Additional readings • Bauman, Zygmunt. 1989. Modernity and the Holocaust. Cornell University Press. • Campbell, Colin. 2005. The romantic ethic and the spirit of modern consumerism. WritersPrintShop. (parallel article in Sociological Analysis here) • Cassis, Youssef. 2006. Capitals of Capital: A History of International Financial Centres, 1780-2005. Cambridge University Press. • Eisenstadt, Shmuel Noah. 2003. Comparative Civilizations and Multiple Modernities, 2 vols. Brill. • Ferrell, Jeff. 2001. Tearing Down the Streets: Adventures in Urban Anarchy. St. Martin's Press. • Graeber, David. 2015. The Utopia of rules: On technology, stupidity, and the secret joys of bureaucracy. Melville House. • Marc Levinson. 2006. The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger. Princeton University Press. • Ritzer, George. 2009. The McDonaldization of Society. Los Angeles: Pine Forge Press. • Stearns, Peter N. 2006. Consumerism in world history: The global transformation of desire. Routledge. • Weber, Max. 2005 (1930) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Taylor & Francis. (online edition here) • Zukin, Sharon. 1996. The Cultures of Cities. Blackwell Publishing. FACULTY OF ARTS | FOAR701 44

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