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Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence Paperback – 20 Oct 2005
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'Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy is the crowning achievement of three decades of research on the origins, evolution, and consequences of human values. Bold in its theorizsng, pathbreaking in its methods, breathtaking in its empirical scope, and stunning in its findings, this book is one of the most important social science works ever produced on the relationship between values, development, and political regimes. Inglehart and Welzel make a compelling case for viewing development as the expansion of human autonomy and choice, and for political freedom and democracy as the consequence of economic development and cultural change. Anyone who thinks modernization theory is dead will have to grapple with the powerful logic of their evidence and argument. ' Larry Diamond, Stanford University
'This book is a landmark in the study of political culture and democratisation. It will polarise opinion, provoking both strong acclaim and fierce critique. For this work presents powerful evidence contradicting several major schools of thought in the social sciences. It will be debated and cited now, and in years to come.' Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris
'Inglehart and Welzel's book is a tour de force. Its comprehensive theory of how social modernization shapes human development makes a major contribution to our understanding of political development. This theory is tested by a rich analysis of people's opinions and values from all four waves of the World Values Survey - an unprecedented social science resource that covers 85 percent of the world's population. They conclude that social modernization shapes the human condition in predictable ways, and that the cultural consequences of modernization are a major force driving democratisation. Culture matters - in nurturing the conditions for democracy to develop and in shaping the workings of the democratic process.' Russell J. Dalton, University of California, Irvine
'The book is a major contribution to the research on value changes and democratisation and will be of much interest to both students and researchers who study human development and democratic change.' Political Studies Review
What people want out of life is changing - their political goals, religious values, sexual norms, and economic motivations are being changed in roughly predictable ways. This book presents evidence of these changes from eighty nations, and explains the forces that are driving them.See all Product description
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As other reviewers have stated this is a book with great depth and scholarship which rewards careful reading. My own focus was to understand the elements which play into the growth and development of social media since the advent of the World Wide Web. The authors develop their arguments for the growth of "self-expression" values as underpinning the heart of democracy.
In answer to the question "do you support democracy" few could articulate what they are supporting if their answer was positive - other than the right to vote. The authors tease out the narrative of democracy and clearly show that with greater self expression democracy as social relation is deepened. This goes far beyond what elites and bureaucratic structures might think they have control of.
This book asks for engagement with the future of democratic society and shows how people through self expressive experience and tools (social media) will become greater participants in that democratic society. Social Media isn't anything new then it's part of the long term political change.
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Moreover, if this industrial society becomes rich enough and sophisticated enough to move into an era of postindustrialism - an era in which industry produces more and more wealth with less and less direct labor and more and more people find secure and well-paid work in directing and facilitating industry through skilled mental labor - further values changes will come, but in a different direction. These postindustrial humans will grow suspicious and even hostile toward authority and relatively more concerned about freedom for themselves and others than further enrichment. This, in turn, will bring overthrow of any totalitarian institutions and both a broadening and deepening of democracy and popular commitment to democracy. But it will be democracy of autonomous individuals rather than disciplined masses.
While socioeconomic changes are strongly correlated with movements of values in particular directions, the starting point - the basic values of the particular culture - continues to matter for as long as anyone has so far measured. Values associated with religion in particular tend to persist, even if formal mass religious institutions fade. Hopes and fears of spreading "westernization" or "Americanization" are unfounded. Democracy and freedom are not western or American exports - they arise anew wherever socioeconomic conditions and values favor them, always rooted in the local society.
But there is no "end of history" here. The process can work equally well in reverse and serious regression in socioeconomic conditions can bring dark consequences for values and political institutions.
All this is not simply theory, buttressed perhaps by a sprinkling of selective historical analysis. These processes have been observed and statistically measured in a great many societies, worldwide, over the past 15 years and more. There is good evidence that the flow of cause is from economics to social values to politics, and not much if at all in the other direction. And while we lack much information for periods before 1980, what we do know suggests that these processes have operated in pretty much the same way for many decades, and even longer. In short, this seems to be something that is deeply embedded in the nature of human society.
I have a much longer and more detailed review (much more than will fit here) on my Web site at analysis.williamdoneil.com
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