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First published online March 15, 2012

Tendential modernity



This article approaches the concept of tendential modernity as a type of evolution towards principles and norms of modernity within societies with an insufficiently functioning capitalist economy. In these societies, there is a gap between faster institutional renewal and slower economic development. Consequently, cultural, political and intellectual modernity outrun economic modernity. Tendential modernity refers to the ideas and actions aimed at modernization which remain partial and not finalized. Modernity is more an aspiration, a societal developmental intention, a goal to be reached, but which is never fully realized. Due to the fact that modernity is merely a tendency that is never finalized, the transitions are never completed. Modernity moves slowly and with difficulty through the intricate network of socio-institutional structures of the patriarchal and traditional society. It is inlay modernity, not structured under a clear, dominant form. My thesis is applied to the study of Romanian society’s modernization through all its stages: the emergence of the national state, the period between the two World Wars, the communist period and the post-communist period. Even though these periods are not all homogeneous in their rate of development, tendential modernity characterizes the evolutionary process of modern Romania.


L’article aborde le concept de modernité tendancielle comme un type d’évolution vers des principes et des normes de la modernité dans des sociétés d’économie capitaliste insuffisamment fonctionnelle. Dans ces sociétés, en raison de l’écart entre le renouveau institutionnel plus ou moins rapide et le développement économique, la modernité politique, culturelle, intellectuelle, va plus vite que la modernité économique. La modernité tendancielle se réfère à des idées et des actions en vue de la modernisation, qui restent partielles et non finalisées. La modernité est une aspiration, une intention de développement, un objectif à atteindre, mais elle n’est jamais pleinement réalisée. Etant donné que la modernité n’est qu’une tendance, jamais finalisée, les transitions ne sont jamais achevées. La modernité avance lentement et difficilement à travers le réseau complexe des structures socio-institutionnelles de la société patriarcale et traditionnelle. Il s’agit d’une modernité incrustée, non structurée en vertu d’une forme dominante claire. Cette analyse s’applique à l’étude de la modernisation de la société roumaine à travers toutes ses étapes, émergence de l’Etat national, période entre les deux guerres mondiales, période communiste et période post-communiste. Même si toutes ces périodes ne sont pas homogènes dans leur rythme de développement, la modernité tendancielle reste une spécificité du processus d’évolution de la Roumanie moderne.

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Published In

Article first published online: March 15, 2012
Issue published: March 2012


  1. dominant form of modernity
  2. modernity
  3. modernization
  4. Romanian modernity
  5. tendential modernity


  1. forme dominante de la modernité
  2. modernisation
  3. modernité
  4. modernité roumaine
  5. modernité tendancielle

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Issue published: March 2012
Published online: March 15, 2012



Constantin Schifirneţ
National School of Political and Administrative Studies, Bucharest, Romania


Constantin Schifirneţ, Faculty of Communication Sciences and Public Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, 6–8 Povernei Street, Sector 1, Bucharest, Romania Email: [email protected]
Constantin Schifirneţ is a professor in the Department of Communication and Public Relations, National School of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest, Romania. He is a member of the International Sociological Association and the European Sociological Association. His research focuses on theories of modernity, Europeanization and Romanian sociological thinking. His publications include: Modern Civilization and Nation (1996); Sociology (1999); The Modern Genesis of the National Idea (2001); C Radulescu-Motru: His life and works, Vols I–III (2003–2005); Forms without Substance, a Romanian Brand (2007); and Modern Romanian Sociology (2009). He also works on the relationship between communication and modernity.

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