The process by which a country or society adopts the customs and institutions that are said to characterize the Western world. For some governments and élites in developing countries, westernization has been seen as synonymous with modernization and development and therefore as a desirable goal. Another more recent tendency, however, is to regard westernization as a pernicious process equated with the negative aspects of capitalism and globalization, which undermine local customs and values and which should therefore be strongly opposed. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was, at least in part, a reaction to the westernizing policies of Muhammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1919–80), which neglected the traditional, particularly religious, values in Iranian society, and the anti‐Western theme has, to a greater or lesser degree, been taken up by Islamic fundamentalist movements throughout the Muslim world.
Subjects: Islam — World History.