When historians describe that whole network of changes that transformed Europe and the wider world from predominantly agrarian or small-town communities, governed by ancient religions and a customary traditionbound culture, to a more urban, industrial, secular society, they use the term ‘modernization’. It is not an entirely satisfactory term, for the processes involved are in reality more complex and uneven than this; the old can, and does, exist side by side with the new, particularly in those areas of the world outside the western sphere. More than this, the word ‘modernization’ implies a kind of necessary progression, an implicit assumption that modernity is to be preferred to tradition, rationalism to religion, industry to farming.