Modernization, Democracy, and Islam

By Shireen T. Hunter; Huma Malik | Go to book overview

Conclusion and Suggested Remedies
Shireen T. HunterThe foregoing analysis of the various factors affecting the process of modernization and its outcome—notably, whether it leads to the establishment of democratic forms of government—together with the case studies, yields a number of conclusions. These conclusions, in turn, suggest a number of measures that could encourage modernization and democratization in the Muslim world and, indeed, other non-Western countries.
Modernization and democracy are not static and uniform phenomena, but rather dynamic processes bounded by time and space, hence the importance of a historical approach to the study of modernization and democracy.
Modernization and democracy are contested concepts subject to varying interpretation, hence the question of whether there are different types of modernity and democracy and, if so, whether they are equally valid.
Timing is crucial in determining the shape, process, agents, and outcome of modernizationand, in particular, whether it is accompanied by democracy. Available evidence shows that those countries that have undergone modernization earlier have done so more through the agency of private actors than through that of states. By contrast, in the case of the latecomers to the process of modernization, which include all non-Western countries, the state has had the primary role. This situation, in turn, has affected the political structure of the various late-modernizing countries. In particular, it has either prevented the establishment of democratic rule or has delayed it.
The level of backwardness of a country at the time of modernization influences the character of its modernization process, its agents, and its outcome, including whether modernization leads to democratization.
Serious disruption in the process of modernization because of wars and revolution or external intervention affects its pace and outcome. A majority of Muslim countries have suffered from such disruptions.

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