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3. Modern Societies

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Chapter Summary

The period since 1945 was divided by the ending of the Cold War in 1991, and it accordingly makes sense to offer a comment about the collapse of the Soviet Union by way of preface. An initial point is simple: the centralization of power for development purposes may lead not just to an immediate disaster but to long term failure. It certainly became apparent by the 1970s that a high-tech, computer literate society was necessary if communism was to survive, not least in terms of its military capabilities. One of the central claims of modern social theory is that the power of the nation-state is being hollowed out by global forces. For one of the most firmly established generalizations of comparative historical sociology is that social movements gain force when state demands are placed upon civil society.

Keywords: civil society; communism; comparative historical sociology; modern social theory; Soviet Union



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