Managing "Modernity"

Work, Community, and Authority in Late-Industrializing Japan and Russia
Rudra Sil
Compares industrial management in two late-industrializers—Japan and Russia—as a basis for an original theory of institution-building


Managing "Modernity" is about how institution-builders respond to the competing influences of institutional models and inherited social legacies as they endeavor to generate and sustain authority in late-industrializing societies. Through a comparative study of large-scale enterprises in Japan and Russia, the book examines the impact of different institution-building strategies on managerial authority, invoking the experience of postwar Japan to highlight the benefits of a syncretic approach that selectively integrates adaptable features of borrowed institutions with portable norms inherited from preexisting communities.

Managing "Modernity" engages a variety of intellectual perspectives in the social sciences. The theoretical framework serves to discover the logics and consequences of four ideal-typical institution-building strategies: modernist, traditionalist, revolutionary, and syncretist. The theoretical approach represents a conscious effort to overcome the contentious debates in political science and sociology among proponents of historical institutionalism, cultural analysis, and rational choice theory. The substantive argument draws on concepts and findings from comparative politics, economic sociology, industrial relations, organization theory, business management, and the political economy of Japan and Russia.

The eclectic and integrative approach in Managing "Modernity" promises to offer a fresh and provocative contribution to the ongoing debates over the significance and impact of "globalization." It will influence scholars and graduate students across a variety of disciplines and subfields while offering compelling insights about the social forces that facilitate or hinder the diffusion of ideas and institutions across national boundaries.

Rudra Sil is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania where he holds the Janice and Julian Bers Chair in the Social Sciences.

Praise / Awards

  • "Located at the intersection of sociology, history, and organizational analysis, this study provides a sophisticated analysis of the institutions of work in two key 'late industrializing' nations. Sil's stylized interpretation of the historical experiences of particular actors and regions is designed to generate middle-range hypotheses that may be used in searching for explanations for the paths non-Western late industrializers take."
    —Dr. John Bendix, Editor of Reinhard Bendix, Unsettled Affinities
  • "In Managing "Modernity," Sil attempts nothing less than a thorough rethinking of the central problematique of Parsonian modernization theory—understanding the transition from agrarian to industrial society—in light both of new historical evidence and of contemporary social theory. Thus, Sil's comparison of Japanese and Russian labor organization takes into account the entire historical period from feudalism, to the emergence of state-led industrialization, to the development of an urbanized, 'modern' society in each case. Sil's book forces us to look in a new way at old questions raised by classic social theorists such as Marx, Durkheim, and Weber. . . . none will fail to be engaged, provoked, and inspired by his analysis."
    —Stephen E. Hanson, Harvard University
  • "Rudra Sil's Managing "Modernity" is a tour de force. This powerful, detailed, and nuanced analysis of the process of institution building in Russia and Japan sheds light on the problematic of modernization far beyond these countries. It is a superb example of the power of careful historical comparative analysis for exploring large and important questions, without losing sight of the subtleties of the particular cases he examines."
    —Sven Steinmo, University of Colorado

Look Inside

Copyright © 2002, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 504pp.
  • 13 drawings.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2002
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11222-7

Add to Cart
  • $99.95 U.S.