Values and democracy: postmaterialist shift versus cultural particularity in Russia, the USA, Britain and Japan

Furusawa, Katsuto (2008) Values and democracy: postmaterialist shift versus cultural particularity in Russia, the USA, Britain and Japan. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis has two main themes: (1) values shift versus cultural particularity and (2) values and democracy. The Postmaterialist thesis and related theories of values shift presented by Ronald Inglehart and others assume that, as a consequence of industrialisation and post-industrialisation, people's values transform in such a way as to increase an emphasis on self-esteem, self-expression and other qualities. Individuals become increasingly capable, autonomous and inclined to public demands, which can be conducive to liberal democratic outcomes. In relation to these, the present study suggests that cultural particularity should be taken into consideration as a factor competing with that of values shift in terms of influence on people's attitudinal conditions. For individualism is often quoted as a core element of Western civilisation, which is not necessarily so in other cultural scenarios.
With this enquiry, the study mainly concentrates on the analysis of the World Values Survey. Postmaterialist indexes are closely investigated by comparing the USA, Britain, Russia and Japan. The examination further incorporates broader regions: Western, Postcommunist and East Asian regions. The results indicate a certain validity in the cultural effect. This is especially the case with a Postmaterialist values item on 'freedom of speech', which contrasts with other Postmaterialist item: 'giving people more say in important government decisions'. Their implications for democracy are subsequently considered. These non-Western societies appear to exhibit certain weaknesses in the Postmaterialist transformation and its attitudinal efficacy for polyarchy-like democracy.
The attention turns to gaps in perceptions of freedom between the USA, Russia and Japan, which could be applied to the trilateral regions. This national difference also seems to be present in the area of protest, notwithstanding the fact that there are some indications of values shift. Culture seems to matter on popular outlooks vis-à-vis the Postmaterialist effects. Multivariate analysis on this aspect endorses the same conclusion. The outcomes imply variation between the citizens of these societies in ways that they relate to government. The nations are compared with respect to the influences of liberal democratic attitudes on moderate protest and views of governance. After all, American (and probably British) individuals seem to be more compatible with public demands and participatory democracy than those in Russia and Japan. Western cultural emphasis on the particular quality of freedom could be favourable to Postmaterialist values as well as individual attitudes that call for responsive and accountable democracy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Values, Public Opinion, Comparative Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Supervisor's Name: White, Professor Stephen and Oates, Dr Sarah
Date of Award: 2008
Depositing User: Mr Katsuto Furusawa
Unique ID: glathesis:2008-247
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2008
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:17

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