convergence and convergence thesis

convergence and convergence thesis

a process in which the structures of industrial societies are assumed to increasingly resemble each other, making conflicts between capitalism and socialism ultimately irrelevant. The idea that the core features of a new type of society, INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY, are determined by the logic of a basis in industrial production is present in the work of the earliest modern sociologists, notably SAINT-SIMON. However, the idea was taken a stage further, and given an important ideological twist, by modern functionalist sociologists, notably Kerr et al., (1962) in the 1950s and ‘60s, with the suggestion that the structure of modern societies would ultimately be determined by their technological and scientific basis rather than by politics.

The convergence thesis is an example of a non-Marxist TECHNOLOGICAL DETERMINISM. The idea had its heyday in the 1950s and 60s, a period of economic optimism and expansion, combined with COLD-WAR relations between the Soviet bloc and NATO countries. As the new political regimes in central and eastern Europe evolve, questions about the logic of (but also the obstacles to) convergence will again be on the agenda. See also END-OF-IDEOLOGY THESIS.

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