Handbook of value
This book offers a comparative analysis of value and identity changes in several post-Communist countries. In light of the tremendous economic, social and political changes in former communist states, the authors compare the values, attitudes and identities of different generations and cultural groups. Based on extensive empirical data, using quantitative and qualitative methods to study complex social identities, this book examines how intergenerational value and identity changes are linked to socio-economic and political development. Topics include the rise of nationalist sentiments, identity formation of ethnic and religious groups and minorities, youth identity formation and intergenerational value conflicts
We focus on one of these aspects of value theory that has remained relatively underexposed, namely the relation between individual social location and human values. Does one’s position in the social structure—indicated by socio-demographic variables such as age, gender, education and income—affect the values that one prioritizes? We pay special attention to the cross-cultural robustness of the relation between social location and values: Can similar patterns be detected in various European countries? Or do cross-national differences in the relation between structure and values depend on elements of the national context?
We depart from Schwartz’ (1992, 1994, 2006) theory of human values, and make use of the value scale included in the European Social Survey (ESS). We believe that this study adds up to existing research in various ways. First, an exceptionally wide range of European countries is taken into account, including various Eastern European countries. Second, we take up the issue of the cross-cultural equivalence of the measurements. Prior to substantive analysis, we test to what extent different cultural interpretations of values affect the validity of cross-national comparisons. Third, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that explicitly addresses the question whether national context affects the relation between social location and values.
This article takes a postmodernization perspective on support for the right to euthanasia by treating it as an expression of a process of value change, as a preference for quality over quantity of life. Using the data from the fifth wave of the World Values Survey, this study attempts to answer the question of whether the mass support for the right to euthanasia is an expression of autonomy values rather than just a function of a low religiosity. Multilevel regressions demonstrate that both traditional religiosity and autonomy values have a high impact at the individual level, while at the country level only the effects of traditional religiosity are significant. Autonomy values have stronger association with attitudes to euthanasia in countries with higher levels of postmaterialism. Multilevel path analysis demonstrates that the effect of religiosity is partially and weakly mediated by the values of autonomy at both levels. Although religiosity was found to have a much stronger impact, the independent effect of autonomy values suggests that mass support for the right to euthanasia is a value-driven preference for quality over quantity of life. We conclude by suggesting that the fall in traditional religiosity might emphasize the role of values in moral attitudes regulation.
This study used basic personal values to elucidate the motivational meanings of “left” and “right” political orientations in 20 representative national samples from the European Social Survey (2002–2003). It also compared the importance of personal values and sociodemographic variables as determinants of political orientation. Hypotheses drew on the different histories, prevailing culture, and socioeconomic level of three sets of countries—liberal, traditional, and postcommunist. As hypothesized, universalism and benevolence values explained a left orientation in both liberal and traditional countries and conformity and tradition values explained a right orientation; values had little explanatory power in postcommunist countries. Values predicted political orientation more strongly than sociodemographic variables in liberal countries, more weakly in postcommunist countries, and about equally in traditional countries.