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­­­Personal Activity in the System of Values: Cross-Country Comparisons

Priority areas of development: sociology
2013
Head: Magun, Vladimir
Department: Laboratory for Comparative Studies in Mass Consciousness
The project has been carried out as part of the HSE Program of Fundamental Studies.

Research Object: Basic and work values, social attitudes, subjective norms as part of mass consciousness.

Research Goal: To study how Russians and citizens of other countries value personal activity and state support; to examine interrelations, dynamics and determinants.

Empirical Base of the Research: International databases such as the European Social Survey (Rounds 4, 5 and 6, 2008-2012), the European Values Study (round 4, 2008), and the International Social Survey Programme (2009).

Research Results:

1)  The populations of 32 European countries were classified on the basis of a sample’s responses to 21 items of the Schwartz Portrait Values Questionnaire with latent class analysis. In accordance with our expectations, the analysis resulted in a relatively small number of classes; the LCA detected five value classes for the European population. In terms of Schwartz’s higher-order value dimensions 'Conservation–Openness to Change' (which includes commitment to personal activity as its subdimension) and 'Self-Enhancement–Self-Transcendence', all the value classes are located close to three combinations of the dimensional poles. We did not detect any value class with the fourth possible combination of 'Self-Protection' values, ie with a strong preference for 'Conservation over Openness' combined with a strong preference for 'Self-Enhancement over Self-Transcendence'.

There are remarkable differences in value class probabilities between the Nordic and Western European countries on the one hand and the Post-Communist (including Russia) and Mediterranean countries on the other. Nordic and Western European countries surpass the Mediterranean and Post-Communist Europe in the share of a single class, namely the Growth class. This gap between country categories is the most salient one; the smaller differences concern shares of all other classes, which are higher in Mediterranean and Post-Communist Europe than in Nordic and Western Europe.

2) A distinct generational value change exists in Russia and other European Post-Communist countries. The younger generations being brought up after the Revolution of 1989-1991 are more committed to various individualistic values, both to values of personal activity and to values of self-interest.      

3) We have demonstrated the effect of the experience of personal success on the attitude toward inequality. In accordance with A. Hirschman's tunnel effect hypothesis, it was demonstrated that people with recent experience in upward social mobility appeared to be more tolerant to social inequality than those who had not undergone such mobility. The effect of the instrument of achieving success was also detected. So as not to decrease this tolerance, this instrument should not be a nonmeritocratic one.     

Field of Application: The conclusions regarding Russian values may stimulate public discussion on Russian political and civic culture; the conclusions on the intergenerational value changes may be of help for discussions on moral education.

The detection of social conditions that increase tolerance toward inequality may serve as one more reason to foster social mobility in Russia; this fact may also be of help during public discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of a market economy.

The conclusions on the similarities and differences in gender and family norms between Russians and other Europeans may stimulate better social awareness of socio-demographic changes in this country and contribute to fruitful discussions on family and gender issues. 

Publications:


Griaznova O. S. Factors affecting welfare attitudes in different types of welfare states: personal interests and values / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series SOC "Sociology". 2013. No. 18.
Пруцкова Е. В. Религиозность и ее следствия в ценностно-нормативной сфере // Социологический журнал. 2013. № 2. С. 72-88.
Руднев М. Г. Инвариантность измерения базовых ценностей по методике Шварца среди русскоязычного населения четырех стран // Социология: методология, методы, математическое моделирование. 2013. № 37. С. 7-38.
Magun V., Rudnev M. Basic human values of Russians: both different from and similar to other Europeans / NRU Higher School of Economics. Series SOC "Sociology". 2013. No. WP BRP 23SOC2013.
Fabrykant M. Macrosocial Roots of Ethnonationalist Revival: Modes of Narration and Value Configurations, in: Narratives of ethnic identity, migration and politics. The multidisciplinary perspective. Kraków : Księgarnia akademicka, 2013. P. 48-62.