Human Values and Social Change: Findings from the Values Surveys

Human Values and Social Change: Findings from the Values Surveys

Human Values and Social Change: Findings from the Values Surveys

Human Values and Social Change: Findings from the Values Surveys

Synopsis

This book presents findings based on a unique source of insight into the role of human values--the World Values Survey and the European Values Survey, covering 78 societies containing over 80 per cent of the worlds population. The findings reveal large and coherent cross-national differences in what people want out of life. Four waves of surveys, from 1981 to 1999-2001, reveal the impact of changing values on societal phenomena. Evidence from eleven Islamic societies demonstrates that a distinctive Islamic culture exists-but the democratic ideal is endorsed overwhelmingly. Other analyses examine Gender Equality and Democracy; Corruption and Democracy; Social Capital in Vietnam; the Clash of Civilization; political satisfaction in global perspective; Trust in International Governance; and Israeli and South African values.

Excerpt

This volume presents findings based on a unique data-base, the World Values Survey (WVS) and the European Values Surveys (EVS). These surveys provide data from almost 80, societies containing over 80 per cent of the world’s population and covering the Tull range of variation, from societies with per capita incomes as low as $300 per year, to societies with per capita incomes one hundred times that high; and from long-established democracies with market economies, to authoritarian states and ex-socialist states. These surveys make it possible to compare the values and beliefs of people throughout the world, and they reveal large and coherent crossnational differences in what people Mant out of life.

The World Values Surveys grew out of a study launched by the European Values Survey group (EVS), which carried out surveys in ten West European societies in 1981; the project evoked such widespread interest that it was replicated in 14 additional countries. Findings from these surveys suggested that predictable cultural changes were taking place. To monitor possible changes, a new wave of surveys was carried out in 1990–91, building on findings from the first wave, but this time designed to be carried out globally. Successive waves of surveys were carried out in 1995–96 and 1999–2001. In every case, we work with colleagues from the given society, and in most cases these surveys are supported by internal funding.

In the first three waves of surveys, the WYS covered most of the world’s major cultural zones except for Africa and the Islamic region, where we were able to cany out only a few surveys in each region. In planning the fourth wave, the WVS association set a high priority on attaining substantially better coverage of these regions; and the 20002001 WVS includes eight African countries and ten predominantly Islamic societies (including three overlapping cases). As a result, we have an unprecedentedly broad range of Islamic societies, extending geographically from Morocco to Indonesia. Taking advantage of this rich source of insight, the present issue includes three articles analyzing Islamic worldviews. The findings demonstrate that a distinctive Islamic culture does exist. But, while Islamic publics reject some key aspects of Western society, they do not . . .

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