The Psychology of Values

By Clive Seligman; James M. Olson et al. | Go to book overview

12
What Values Do People Prefer in Children? A Comparative Analysis of Survey Evidence From Fifteen Countries*
Douglas Baer University of Western Ontario
James Curtis University of Waterloo
Edward Grabb University of Western Ontario
William Johnston University of Alberta

S. M. Lipset's analyses of the value differences between Canadians and Americans provide the best-known examples of comparative research on values involving these two countries ( Lipset, 1963a, 1963b, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1985, 1986, 1990). Lipset's work on this topic has enjoyed a longstanding prominence, in part because of his thought-provoking claims about the nature of value differences between the United States and Canada, as well as his rather controversial "origins" explanation for these alleged differences. 1 This chapter tests some of the implications of Lipset's research, by placing data from the United States and Canada in a broader international context. We begin with a brief review of Lipset's argument concerning Canadian-American value differences, and then discuss how his argument is part of a more general "first new nation" thesis of American exceptionalism. The more general thesis, which is most clearly stated in Lipset's early writings, is that, in terms of predominant values, the United

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*
The order of authors is alphabetical.
1
Although not explicitly stated, Lipset's treatment of values is consistent with the definitions used by most of his leading contemporaries (e.g., Parsons, 1951, pp. 12-13; Williams, 1960, pp. 24-25). That is, to Lipset values are standards of what is considered to be desirable within a collectivity, reflecting shared cultural traditions that are instilled in individuals, to varying degrees, by the major institutions of socialization operating in the collectivity (see, for example, Lipset, 1963a, p. 517).

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