National value systems

Date of publication: June 15, 1980

Abstract:

Values are regarded as ordering principles for social action. This explains some of the scientific attention value problems have recently received. Is social change promoted by and linked to change in values? Are there both changeable and unchangeable values? Politically motivated research on basic values is a good indicator of the uneasiness among elites about social change too rapid and too encompassing to be fully understood. Intercultural comparison seeks to find common values. Widespread acceptance of values, however, does not necessarily mean that we are dealing with basic human goals. Additive research into values or certain value areas does not provide an answer to the question as to what the basic constituents of value systems are. In other words: are there central and irreducible structures in human values? I should like to propose certain theories as means to organize our experience and our empirical evidence about the value systems in different political and social cultures.

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