Social and professional status and political values in Russia, Germany, and the United States
A comparison of political values in Russia, Germany, and the United States shows that while there are similarities, Russian respondents are much more in favor of government providing for people's needs than is the case in Germany and the United States. In all three countries, values vary from stratum to stratum.
Two studies investigated reciprocal effects of values and voting. Study 1 measured adults’ basic values and core political values both before (n=1379) and following (n=1030) the 2006 Italian national election. Both types of values predicted voting. Voting choice influenced subsequent core political values but not basic values. The political values of free enterprise, civil liberties, equality, law and order, military intervention, and accepting immigrants changed to become more compatible with the ideology of the chosen coalition. Study 2 measured core political values before (n=697) and following (n=506) the 2008 Italian national election. It largely replicated the reciprocal effects of voting and political values of Study 1. In addition, it demonstrated that left-right ideology mediated the reciprocal effects of voting and political values. Moreover, voter certainty moderated these effects. Political values predicted vote choice more weakly among undecided than decided voters, but voting choice led to more value change among undecided voters.
This introductory chapter discusses the heuristic value of the centre-periphery distinction as a tool for the analysis of social, political and cultural processes in the post-Soviet space. The disintegration of the Soviet Union was tantamount to the end of a state structure that was based on a hierarchic relationship between a strong centre and various “peripheries”. However, the end of this quasi-imperial structure only strengthened the analytical potential of the centre-periphery distinction; when seen as a form of differentiation inside societal structures or organisations, this distinction allows for an instructive insight into processes of modernisation and democratisation in the countries that emerged from the breakup of the Soviet Union. It can as well help us to theoretically grasp the neo-imperial tendencies present in Russian society – and in Russian politics. As the approach of this volume is interdisciplinary, the aim of this introduction is to show how the centre-periphery distinction is used in various research traditions, ranging from political science and sociology to history and cultural studies.
The notions of “center” and “periphery” do not only pertain to geography, politics, economics, and culture. First and foremost, they are about values. Indeed, the ability to produce values that are meaningful for “others” provides an individual (a group, an institute, or the society) with the characteristic of centrality, while the acceptance of these very values by the “others” provides them with the characteristic of peripherality. Consequently, this is how the power of the “center” over the “periphery” arises and acquires legitimacy.
The history of the political transformations of the post-Soviet space is also about values. The Soviet empire has fallen apart mainly because it became incapable of producing values and stopped being a value itself. Since then all post-Soviet polities have been trying to find a new source of politically relevant values, both internal and external. The domestic difficulties in the post-Soviet states, conflicts between them, as well as troubles in the relations with its neighbours possess one basic reason – the center (centers) is yet to be found, and not a single contender was able to establish itself in that position. The article focuses on the different strategies used by the post-Soviet states to find and/or construct the “center” and the causes of its modest success.
The results of cross-cultural research of implicit theories of innovativeness among students and teachers, representatives of three ethnocultural groups: Russians, the people of the North Caucasus (Chechens and Ingushs) and Tuvinians (N=804) are presented. Intergroup differences in implicit theories of innovativeness are revealed: the ‘individual’ theories of innovativeness prevail among Russians and among the students, the ‘social’ theories of innovativeness are more expressed among respondents from the North Caucasus, Tuva and among the teachers. Using the structural equations modeling the universal model of values impact on implicit theories of innovativeness and attitudes towards innovations is constructed. Values of the Openness to changes and individual theories of innovativeness promote the positive relation to innovations. Results of research have shown that implicit theories of innovativeness differ in different cultures, and values make different impact on the attitudes towards innovations and innovative experience in different cultures.