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The notion that differences among societies will decrease over time can be found in many works of eighteenth and nineteenth century social thinkers, from the prerevolutionary French philosophes and the Scottish moral philosophers through de Tocqueville, Toennies, Maine, Marx, Spencer, Weber, and Durkheim Weinberg ; Baum In sociological discourse since the s, the term convergence theory has carried a more specific connotation, referring to the hypothesized link between economic development and concomitant changes in social organization, particularly work and industrial organization, class structure, demographic patterns, characteristics of the family, education, and the role of government in assuring basic social Dual-convergence thesis economic security.
The core notion of convergence theory is that as nations achieve similar levels of economic development they will become more alike in terms of these and other aspects of social life.
In the s and s, predictions of societal convergence were most closely associated with modernization theories, which generally held that developing societies will follow a path of economic development similar to that followed by developed societies of the West.
Structural-functionalist theorists, such as Parsons and Daviswhile not actually employing the terminology of convergence theory, paved the way for its development and use in modernization studies through their efforts to develop a systematic statement of the functional prerequisites and structural imperatives of modern industrial society; these include an occupational structure based on Dual-convergence thesis rather than ascription, and the common application of universalistic rather than particularistic evaluative criteria.
Also, beginning in the s, convergence theory was invoked to account for apparent similarities in industrial organization and patterns of stratification found in both capitalist and communist nations Sorokin ; Goldthorpe ; Galbraith Related to this idea is the notion of a relatively fixed pattern of development through which developing nations must pass as they modernize Rostow More specifically, Kerr et al.
Importantly, Kerr et al. While mentioning convergence at various points in their study, the authors pay equal attention to important countercur-rents leading toward diverse outcomes among industrial societies. Counterposed against these factors are various sources of uniformity, such as technological change, exposure to the industrial world, and a worldwide trend toward increased access to education leading to an attenuation of social and economic inequality.
The critique of convergence theory in the study of modernization recalls critiques of earlier theories of societal evolution advanced under the rubric of social Darwinism in the nineteenth century and structural functionalism in the mid-twentieth century.
The Dual-convergence thesis of convergence theory to analyze modernization has been attacked for its alleged assumptions of unilinearity and determinism i. Yet a careful review of the literature suggests that many criticisms have often tended to caricature convergence theory rather than addressing its application in actual research studies.
Since the s few if any researchers have explicitly claimed convergence theory, at least in its unreconstructed form, as their own. As Form observes, convergence theory passed through a cycle typical of social science theories: The major challenge to those wishing to revive convergence theory and rescue it from its critics is to specify its theoretical underpinnings more precisely, to develop appropriate empirical studies, and finally account for variation as well as similarity among observed cases.
Inkeles argues that earlier versions of convergence theory failed to distinguish adequately between different elements of the social system, which is problematic because these elements not only change at different speeds, but may move in opposite directions. He proposes dividing the social system into a minimum of five elements for purposes of assessing convergence: Finally, he specifies the different forms convergence and divergence may take: Inkeles also describes various forms that divergence may take: Finally, Inkeles notes the importance of selecting appropriate units of analysis, levels of analysis, and the time span for which convergence, divergence, or parallel change can be assessed.
These comments echo earlier sentiments expressed by Weinberg and Baum about how to salvage the useful elements of standard convergence theory while avoiding the pitfalls of a simplistic functionalist-evolutionary approach. Common to these attempts to revive convergence theory is the exhortation to develop more and better empirical research on specific institutional spheres and social processes.
As the following sections demonstrate, a good deal of work along these lines is already being done across a wide range of substantive questions and topical concerns that can aptly be described in the plural as convergence theories, indicating their revisionist and more pluralistic approach.
The large research literature related on this question, reviewed by Formhas produced mixed evidence with respect to convergence. Japan has been regarded as an exceptional case among industrialized nations because of its strong cultural traditions based on mutual obligation between employers and employees.
These characteristics led Dorefor example, to argue vigorously against the convergence hypothesis for Japan. Finally, with respect to women in the labor force, the evidence of convergence is mixed.
Some studies found no relationship between female labor-force participation and level of industrialization Ferber and Lowry ; Safilios-Rothchildthough there is strong evidence of a trend toward increasing female participation in nonagricultural employment among advanced industrial societies Paydarfar ; Wilensky along with the existence of dual labor markets stratified by sex, a pattern found in both communist and capitalist nations in the s Cooney ; Bibb and Form ; Lapidus The attempt to discover common features of the class structure across advanced industrial societies is a central concern for social theorists of many stripes.
The question has inspired intense debate among both neo-Weberian and Marxist sociologists, although the latter, for obvious ideological reasons, tend to eschew the language of convergence theory.
An early statement of the class convergence thesis was made by Lipset and Zetterbergto the effect that observed rates of mobility between social classes tend to be similar from one industrial society to another.
A subcategory of comparative stratification research concerns the evidence of convergence in occupational prestige.
Although the authors did not specifically mention convergence, their conclusions were fully consistent with the idea of emergent similarities.
A subsequent study by Treiman extended the comparison of occupational prestige to some sixty nations, ranging from the least developed to the most developed. The study found that occupational-prestige rankings were markedly similar across all societies, raising the question of whether convergence theory or an explanation based on the functional imperatives of social structure of all complex societies, past or present, was most consistent with the empirical findings.
The conclusion was that both explanations had some merit, since although all complex societies—whether developed, undeveloped, or developing—showed similar occupational-prestige rankings, there was also evidence that the more similar societies were in levels of industrialization, the more similar their patterns of occupational-prestige evaluation appeared to be.
The essence of the theory is that fertility and mortality rates covary over time in a predictable and highly uniform manner. Moreover, these changes are directly linked to broad developmental patterns, such as the move from a rural, agriculturally based economy to an urban-industrial one, increases in per capita income, and adult literacy Berelson In the first stage of the demographic transition, both fertility rates and death rates are high, with population remaining fairly constant.
In the second stage, death rates drop as a result of improvements in living conditions and medical care while fertility rates remain high, and population levels increase rapidly. In the third stage, fertility rates begin to decline, with total size of the population leveling off or even decreasing.
This simple model works remarkably well in accounting for demographic patterns observed among all industrialized and many industrializing societies during the post-World War II period. A large spread in fertility rates among nations at the beginning of the s gave way to declining rates of fertility ending with a nearly uniform pattern of zero population growth in the s.Thereby, this analysis casts doubt to the dual convergence thesis, arguing that the hybrid character of the two countries was exacerbated over the last two decades.
Keywords: corporate governance, industrial relations, comparative political economy, Greece, Italy. convergence theories The idea that societies move toward a condition of similarity —that they converge in one or more respects—is a common feature of various theories of social change.
"Beta-convergence" on the other hand, occurs when poor economies grow faster than rich ones. Economists say that there is "conditional beta-convergence" when economies experience "beta-convergence" but conditional on other variables (namely the investment rate and the population growth rate) being held constant.
Full-Text Paper (PDF): Dual Convergence or Hybridization?
Institutional Change in Italy and Greece from the Varieties of Capitalism Perspective. Dual Convergence Or Hybridization? Institutional Change In london school of economics analysis casts doubt to the dual convergence thesis, arguing that marx, for example, Pluralism In Economics Education - The Economics Network.
Kornelakis, Andreas, Dual Convergence or Hybridization? Institutional Change in Italy and Greece from the Varieties of Capitalism Perspective (April 1, ). .