Modernization Thesis

Modernization Thesis-77
In other words, the secularization process inter alia has been deemed a building block of modernity.

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After all, “modern international relations theory […] [is] about the modern state system and the means by which its constituent units (sovereign states) regulate their relations” (Holzgrefe, 1989: 11).

Therefore, the popularly embraced assumption has been that modern IR shall claim no more to carry medieval elements in its substance.

Introduction “Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion”, says John Gray at the very outset of Black Mass (2007: 1).

Gray’s particular claim is that modern teleological ideologies inherited the apocalyptic vision of conventional religious thought.

It is, however, essential to unpack these different, arbitrarily mixed, and not necessarily interlinked definitions of the secularization thesis in order for IR students to examine its mark within studies of IR.

This essay initially fleshes out the relationship between secularity and modernity as the social sciences construe it.

The third one relates to the starting point of the ‘identifiable history’ of modern international relations: the pre-Westphalian religious world is irrelevant to the modern international system.

Whereas the first of those influences reflects an expectable development in accordance with the essential scientific objectivity, the latter come with several drawbacks.

The secularization thesis, in other words, accepted secularity as an indisputable component of modernity.

However, it is necessary to distinguish between the main trends within those different, and not necessarily interconnected, claims of the secularization thesis, which is argued here to have a fundamental impact on the theoretical and historical visions of IR.


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