Culture, Identity and Democracy in the Face of Modernization

  • October 23, 2006
  • • Written by: Francis Fukuyama, Ph.D.

Fall 2006, Vol 31, No 2

Abstract: Modernizing societies are experiencing many problems related to culture and identity. The author argues that modernization and democracy often alienate groups of people, especially people moving from Islamic to Western cultures, which causes them to be susceptible to radical doctrine. As a result, radical Islamists can offer an identity to people who feel lost and unaccepted in Western society, and that identity includes following the strict, often violent teachings of extremist leaders. Though radicalism based on a lack of identity is nothing new—take 1930s Germany, for example—ethnicity, immigration and nationalism are having a significant impact on today’s global society.