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The Politics of Modernization:An Appraisal of David Apter's Contributions

Comparative Political Studies , Volume 3 (3): 297 – Oct 1, 1970


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1970 by SAGE Publications
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The Politics of Modernization:An Appraisal of David Apter's Contributions


The Politics of ModernizationAn Appraisal of David Apter's Contributions SAGE Publications, Inc.1970DOI: 10.1177/001041407000300302 Gianfranco Pasquino University of Bologna In this essay, my purpose is to proceed to the clarification of some theoretical aspects of the study of modernization through an examination of David E. Apter's intellectual itinerary. After relating the origin and development of Apter's conceptual framework to his pioneering study of African political systems, I will deal with the three most important elements of his analysis. First of all, I will address my attention to the meaning and role of political religion in the process of modernization, and, in particular, to its importance both for the individual members and for the polity. In the second place, I will link Apter's political system types to Walt W. Rostow's stages of economic growth. This relationship is especially important in light of Apter's statement that the best test for a political system is its ability to foster economic development. Finally, I will propose a fourfold classification of different types of modernization in order to increase the analytical relevance and the "operationability" of this core concept, and will underline the need for a reorientation of the study of modernization toward a
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