Religion in Secularizing Society: The Europeans' Religion at the End of the 20th Century

By Loek Halman; Ole Riis | Go to book overview

SERIES EDITOR's PREFACE

This book is the fifth volume in a series on the European Values Project, now published by Brill Academic Publishers. The main purpose of this series is to present and distribute the main findings from this large-scale comparative research project on fundamental values in Western societies. The publications are all or partly based on survey data gathered within the framework of what is known as the European Values Study (EVS). This cross-national European project was an initiative of Professor Jan Kerkhofs of the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) and Professor Ruud de Moor of Tilburg University (Netherlands). At the end of the 1970s, they established the European Value Systems Study Group (EVSSG), a small group of mainly social and political scientists. Their aim was to undertake empirical research on fundamental value patterns in Western Europe. The group succeeded in conducting a large-scale values survey in all countries of the European Community (EC) plus Spain, in 1981. The study aroused interest in many other European and non-European countries, where colleagues and research institutions joined the project and used the original EVS questionnaire. In this way, comparable surveys became available outside Western Europe, i.e. in the Scandinavian countries, Hungary, Malta, the Soviet Union, the United States, Canada, Chili, Argentina, Japan, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Apart from a large series of books on the findings for individual countries, several cross-national comparative studies were published by, e.g., J. Stoetzel (Les Valeurs du Temps Present: Une Enquute Europeenne, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1983), S. Harding, D. Phillips & M. Fogarty (Contrasting Values in Western Europe: Unity, Diversity & Change, London: MacMillan, 1986), L. Halman, F. Heunks, R. de Moor & H. Zanders (Traditie, Secularisatie en Individualisering, Tilburg: Tilburg University Press, 1987), L. Halman (Waarden in de Westerse Wereld, Tilburg: Tilburg University Press, 1991).

In order to investigate changes in values, a replication study was necessary. A second wave of surveys was fielded in 1990 again in all EC countries (minus Greece), as well as in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Scandinavian countries, South Africa, Japan, the United States, Canada. In Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Bulgaria,

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