Social Capital, Motivational Autonomy and Health-Related Behavior in Canadian and Russian Youth
The main thesis of this chapter is that one of the basic criteria of any positive social and cultural change should be the promotion of people’s flourishing. This flourishing is comprised by the individuals’ potential to be creative, to have positive mental and physical health, to be happy, and to be successful. A fundamental condition of this state is people’s experience of autonomy, psychological freedom, and agency. The culture of horizontality, which is comprised of the values and practices of trust, respect, equality, tolerance and sharing, constitutes a fertile soil where human autonomy can grow and flourish. This culture is opposed by the culture of verticality, which is built around status and hierarchy, and is guided by values of obedience and sacrifice, and strivings for control, power, and dominance. Cultivating the culture of horizontality and exercising control over the culture of verticality is one of the directions of those culture changes, which aim toward promoting people’s flourishing. The authors provide comparisons of Canada and Russia, based on both international evaluative indices and original empirical data that support a general thesis about the role horizontality plays in promoting people’s autonomy and well-being. These data also support the thesis that the development of horizontal components in Russian culture is a promising way of implementing its culture change.