Modernization is the concept that touches each country and society in general. Society has to adopt new ideas and modern ways in order to meet all the necessary requirements and traditions, which may change with time. Such implementation of changes helps society to comprehend deeper which actions will be successful and which may lead to a disaster. However, not each nation clearly realizes what the concept “to modernize the state” actually means.
In political terms, Asians and Africans make an attempt to respond to two ideas, traditionalism and modernism, which are characterized by different outcomes; the implementation of the ideas of modernism, demonstrated by many Asian nationalistic movements, turned out to be much more successful than following the traditions for future of Asian nations and their relations with other countries.
In political terms, the essence of traditionalism lies in the fact that traditions are the most authoritative among the other factors, which have an influence on controlling the environment; and the essence of modernism is all about the ability to control or influence all social circumstances by means of changes the traditions, rethinking science and already established ideas, and find out new meanings within human experience (Varma 1999, p. 348).
Traditionalism and modernism are the two contradictory ideas, which aim at improving society of one nation and its cooperation with other countries.
During 1800s – 1900s, Asians and Africans could easily respond to imperialism in different ways, and modernism or traditionalism were one of them. Taking into consideration the fact that Asians chose something that could distinct them, their preference to modernism was almost obvious.
Asians starts their revolting against western culture before World War I, however, only in 1914, they had enough powers in order to demonstrate their domination effectively (McKay, 2006).
Lots of Asian nationalistic movements tried to support and develop the ideas of human dignity and political freedoms. Those mass movements promoted the importance of modernization of society by means of rejecting traditional norms and developing some new technologies in different spheres of life.
The effect of the chosen by Asians way in order to respond to imperialism was rather successful. Even if it contradicted numerous western rules, which dominated during a long period of time, the ideas of modernism within certain countries only interested lots of people. Only huge numbers of people and the demonstration of their extreme desire to offer something new could win and even affect western culture.
Negative effects were still noticed after the implementation of the modernistic approach. Lots of members of Asian nationalistic movements divide the whole world into “We” and “They”. Such understanding of the matter could promote joint discussions; someone should be always wrong, “they”, and someone was always right, “we”.
The point is that all those “they” could be any other Asian, who could not or did not want to follow this new way of modernism. Distinct cultures and diversity in standpoints made Asians and Africans rather defensive in relations to people of the same nation and people of the other nation.
To respond to imperialism that had been existed for many years, the representative of Asian and African nationalistic movements preferred modernism to traditionalism. Even if their ideas rejected the already respected traditions, they did not mean something wrong, but provoke more desire to choose this very way. Nationalism and freedom, desire to go against the already existed rules and demonstrate the ability to support cultural renaissance – this is what made modernism a successfully chosen way to respond imperialism.
McKay, John, P., Hill, Bennett, D., Buckler, John, and Ebrey, Patricia, B. History of World Societies. 2006. 7 ed. 25 Aug. 2009, from
Varma, S. P. Modern Political Theory. Vikas Publishing House Pvt Ltd, 1999.