Modernization refers to an evolutionary transition from a pre modern or traditional society to a modern society (Ask.com Encylopedia, 2013), in other words change. Modernization is constant and ongoing, however fast developing globalization, the ever increasing elder community and the breakdown of the traditional family structure have made changes to the basic societal structure.
Modernization lowers the status of Elders through health technology, scientific technology, urbanization, and literacy and mass education (Hooyman & Kiyak, 2005). Increasing life spans (health technology) causes competition in the job market which results in forced retirements. This in turn leads to decreased income and a loss of status a job can bring. Fast changing technology (scientific technology) alienates those elders who cannot keep up. Urbanization split families apart and the educational gap (Literacy and mass education) causes a false sense of superiority in younger adults. (Hooyman & Kiyak, 2005)
My opinion is the breakdown of the family unit is also responsible for some of the change in elders’ social status. I was told of a situation in which the grandmother of a five year old child saw fit to interfere in a playground squabble. The grandmother was 37 and her child (the parent of the five year old child) 21. The fact of the matter is, as I was told “they are all children, they play together”. How can society respect a 37 year old grandmother who lacks the maturity and experiences we expect (or I expect) from our elders? Can you be an elder at 37?
Knowledge can aid in adjusting the negative connotations of the four characteristics mentioned above, however we need to rethink and adjust the manner in which we are managing our families.
Ask.com Encylopedia. (2013, February 5 ). Modernization. Retrieved from Ask by Wikipedia: http://www.ask.com/wiki/Modernization?qsrc=3044
Hooyman, N. R., & Kiyak, H. A. (2005). The Impact of Modernization on Older Adult’s Roles in Traditional Societies. In Social Gerontology, A Multidisciplinary Prespective (pp. 51-57). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc., as Allyn & Bacon.