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Showing papers in "International Journal of Public Opinion Research in 1993"

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For example, this article used a regression analysis to determine the extent to which the social bases of environmental concern are consistent across nations, focusing on the association of old leftist concerns and environmental concern.
Abstract: Data from the International Social Survey Program indicate considerable variation in the desire of respondents for increased spending on the environment in Australia, Austria, Great Britain, the United States, and West Germany. This paper explores this variation with the following objectives: (1) to determine the extent to which the social bases of environmental concern are consistent across nations; (2) to determine how the issue of the environment has been politicized in the five industrialized nations, focusing on the association of Old Leftist concerns and environmental concern; and (3) to determine the extent to which the social bases of environmental concern can explain the cross-national variation. The study uses a regression analysis, testing variables representing the social bases of environmental concern from past research in the United States, a scale representing commitment to the platform of the Old Left, and dummy variables for each country. The results show that the social bases of environmental concern are the same in the five countries studied, including a consistent positive association of Old Leftism with environmental concern. However, substantial variation between countries in the overall level of concern remains. Potential sources of the remaining variation are examined. While environmental degradation is almost certainly one of the inevitable opportunity costs of industrialization, not every industrialized nation shows the same concern for this cost. Survey evidence from five industrialized nations indicates vastly differing levels of public concern for the environment. Specifically, survey data supplied by the International Social Survey Program (ISSP) reveal five countries (Austria, Australia, Britain, USA, and West Germany) that vary greatly in the concern shown by the respondents in answering the question: 'Would you like to see more or less government spending for the environment?' Table i shows that more than a third of Germans and Austrians feel that much more should be spent on the environment, while fewer than half as many Americans, Australians, and Britons feel the same way. Combining the 'Spend much more' and the 'Spend more' responses, we see that 83 percent and 73 percent of German and Austrian respondents favor more spending, respectively, followed by Americans (44 percent), Britons (37 percent), and Australians at U niersity of C alirnia, an D igo on A uust 9, 2014 D ow nladed from 336 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH TABLE I Concern for the environment Question: 'Would you like to see more or less government spending for the environment?'

40 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Inglehart's index of materialism-postmaterialism is shown to constitute one diagonal in a two-dimensional cultural space with axes resembling those discussed by Flanagan as discussed by the authors, which is argued that they both fail to appreciate the importance of cultural differences along the other diagonal, opposing hedonistic and austerity oriented, in demographic terms typically younger men with low education versus well educated older women.
Abstract: The results of a broad, inductive study of cultural orientation in Norway are used to throw light on issues in the debate on dimensions of cultural change. Inglehart's index of materialism—postmaterialism is shown to constitute one diagonal in a two-dimensional cultural space with axes resembling those discussed by Flanagan. It is argued that they both fail to appreciate the importance of cultural differences along the other diagonal, opposing hedonistic and austerity oriented, in demographic terms typically younger men with low education versus well educated older women. The latest book of Ronald Inglehart, Culture shift in advanced industrial society (1990), sums up the impressive results of his two decade endeavor to describe the gradual cultural change from materialist to postmaterialist values and analyze its causes and consequences. The book covers a lot of important and debated issues, where Inglehart argues elegantly in favor of cultural or value explanations of behavior. He also forcefully counters critical comments to his earlier writings. The purpose of this article is not to contest the general theoretical assumptions of Inglehart, the idea of a lasting imprint of experiences during adolescence on the value preferences of the individual, giving rise to relatively stable intergenerational differences in cultural orientation as the socioeconomic conditions during socialization change over time, differences which through the process of generational replacement change the aggregate value preferences of a society. What will be questioned is certain aspects of his description of the content of the intergenerational differences in cultural orientation as a shift from materialism to postmaterialism. The empirical database of Inglehart is outstanding as regards the number of cases and the impressive span in time and space they cover. The main part of the analysis relies on a very narrow set of indicators, however, derived from his theoretical reasoning about the nature of cultural change in industrial societies. What happens when one uses a more open, inductive approach and a much broader set of value indicators? The results from an analysis of a series of large value surveys, called the Norwegian Monitor, show far more pronounced © World Atsociatitn for Public Opinion Research iggj 212 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH differences between age groups than Inglehart's postmaterialism-index, and present an alternative picture of the cultural characteristics of the young. Having analyzed the relationship between the Monitor dimensions and Inglehart's concepts, the results are used to shed light on central issues in the long and inconclusive debate between Scott Flanagan and Inglehart concerning the dimensionality of cultural change. Flanagan has persistently insisted that the postmaterialism-index mixes together dimensions which ought to be kept apart (Flanagan, 1982a, 1982^, 1987; Flanagan and Lee, 1988), but have not succeeded in persuading Inglehart to change his approach (Inglehart, 1982, 1990, p. 142-3). Nor has Inglehart responded to the 'middle position' advocated by Oddbjern Knutsen who in addition to the materialism—postmaterialism index of Inglehart also looks at two subdimensions it may be decomposed into (Knutsen, 1985, 1986, 1990). By using a two-dimensional space when analyzing variations in cultural orientation, instead of presenting results for indexes one at a time, a clear picture of the relationship between the different positions in this debate emerges. INGLEHART'S THEORY OF CULTURE S H I F T As a brief presentation of Inglehart's theory we quote from his latest book: The Materialist/Postmaterialist thesis is based on two key hypotheses: (1) a scarcity hypothesis that one's priorities reflect one's socioeconomic environment so that one places greatest subjective value on those things that are in relatively short supply; and (2) a socialization hypothesis that, to a large extent, one's basic values reflect the conditions that prevailed during one's preadult years. Taken together, these two hypotheses imply that, as a result of the historically unprecedented prosperity and the absence of war that has prevailed in Western countries since 1045, younger birth cohorts place less emphasis on economic and physical security than do older groups, who have experienced a much greater degree of economic insecurity, and that conversely, the younger birth cohorts tend to give a higher priority to nonmaterial needs, such as a sense of community and the quality of life (Inglehart, 1990, p. 56). The title of Inglehart's first book on this topic: The silent revolution (1977), characterizes the importance as well as the subtle nature of the resulting process of cultural change. Society undergoes a basic transformation, but not in a sudden and dramatic way: 'Instead, fundamental value change takes place gradually, almost invisibly . . . ' (1990, p. 69). Inglehart also sees the rising level of education as contributing to the shift towards postmaterialist values, and among its consequences he points to changes in political ideology and behavior (1990, p. 6). The extensiveness of the data Inglehart has been able to collect to test his theory of a culture shift must be unique in social research, including a remarkable time series of surveys for six West European nations covering 18 years, in total nearly 200,000 interviews (1990, p. 85). Altogether comparable POSTMATERIALISM AS A DIMENSION OF CULTURAL CHANGE 213 data exist for two dozen nations. Inglehart finds within each nation a pattern of differences between age and educational groups in line with his thesis of a shift towards postmaterialism. By pooling the data for several nations he also obtains solid databases for a cohort analysis, with results supporting his interpretation that the age differences are an effect of generation rather than life cycle (1990, ch. 2). The extensiveness of the database in terms of number of cases has been accomplished, not surprisingly, at the expense of its intensiveness, the range of indicators of cultural orientation is very limited. The major part of the empirical analysis is based on a ranking of four items, although the measure of materialist-postmaterialist orientations in several studies is expanded to 12 items, and the relationship to other values are sometimes discussed. The analysis presented below uses the original 4-item index, shown in Table 1. Two of the items to be ranked are intended to express a materialist, the other two a postmaterialist value orientation. A respondent with a consistent ranking—either both materialist or both postmaterialist items as his/her first and second preference—is classified accordingly. Selecting one item from each category gives the classification 'mixed' orientation on the MPM-index. Most Norwegians end up in the middle category (Table 2). The figure of 63 percent 'mixed' in the combined 1989-91 samples is a little above the results reported by Inglehart for most other nations in 1986-87, but Great Britain (63 percent), Denmark and the United States (61 percent) are at the same level TABLE I Inglehart's 4-item value indicator Question: 'Lately there has been a lot of talk about what should be the goals of this country for the next 10 years. On this card various goals which different people might prefer are listed. Which of these goals do you consider the most important?' 'And what would be your second choice?' 1 Maintain order in the nation (M) 2 Give people more say in the decisions of the government (PM) 3 Fight rising prices (M) 4 Protect freedom of speech (PM)

34 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors compare the United States or Japan with other nations and argue that the best way to learn about each country is to know one's own country well, based on the assumption that a person who knows only one country basically knows no country well.
Abstract: This paper, part of a larger effort to explicate the nature of American exceptionalism, is based on an assumption recently enunciated by Kazuo Ogura: 'To define the "other" is to know one's nation' (Lokker, 1992, p. 2). A person who knows only one country basically knows no country well. Comparing the United States or Japan with other nations is the best way to learn about each. In a previous work, I dealt with Canada, and argued that 'it is precisely because the two North American democracies have so much in common that they permit students of each to gain insights into the factors that cause variations' (Lipset, 1990). Here, I shift to looking at the two outliers, the two developed nations which are most different from each other. They clearly have distinct organizing principles. And their values, institutions and behaviors fit into sharply different functional wholes. These variations, of course, have been written about in myriad comparative scholarly, business and journalistic works. Given my limited contact with Japan (five visits covering a total of six months over 30 years), I cannot add to them observationally. This article, however, seeks to elaborate and test the validity of the qualitative analyses by a comprehensive examination of the comparative data on opinions, values and behavior, collected by public opinion agencies (Glazer, 1976). As will be evident, there are astonishingly large differences between them. This paper w«s presented to a conference of the Research Committee on Comparative Sociology of the ISA at Kurashiki, Japan, on July 5, 1992. I am obligated to the Japan Society for a two month fellowship awarded in 1984 to 'non-Japanologists', which led to my first work on the subject, and to the International House of Japan which hosted and supported me beyond all expectations in 1984 and 1992. Various Japanese, particularly Tatsuo Arima, Takako Kobori and Joji Watanuki, assisted me greatly by locating and/or translating materials. The scholars of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics of Tokyo were also particularly helpful. I am particularly grateful to Jennifer Bagette, Jeff Hayes and Janet Shaw for helping to find research reports. A number of American Japanologists gave important intellectual assistance, including Robert Cole of Berkeley, Daniel Okimoto of Stanford, and Henry Rosovsky of Harvard. The John C. Olin Foundation helped to fund the project The Hoover Institution of Stanford University enabled me to write up the research findings. Finally, I must acknowledge a deep intellectual debt to my friend of over three decades, Mkhio Nagai, now President of International House, who first introduced me to the basic differences between his country and mine. An extended version of this paper, with more detailed references, will be in Comparing Nations: Between Theory and Substance edited by Mattei Dogan and Ah' Kazancigil and published by Blackwell in mid-1993. © World Association for Public Opinion Research 122 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PUBLIC OPINION RESEARCH Japan and the United States are two of the foremost examples of industrial success in the contemporary world, and they took very different paths to reach that position (Hamilton and Sanders, 1992). Efforts to account for America's past success have emphasized that it had fewer encrusted pre-industrial traditions to overcome, in particular, that it had never been a feudal or hierarchically state church dominated society. All of Europe and, of course, Japan were once feudal, organized in terms of monarchy, aristocracy, and fixed hierarchy, with a value system embedded in religious institutions which both emphasized the virtues inherent in agrarian society and deprecated commercial activities. Japan's feudal period, however, did not end until the latter half of the nineteenth century. Analysts of the social prerequisites for industrialization have suggested that such conditions existed optimally in America. An efficient market economy is seemingly best served by an emphasis on individualism, on achievement, on meritocratic competition, by a value system which regards the individual as the equivalent of a commodity within the market. Ideally, under capitalism, people seek to maximize their own positions and deal with others without being concerned with inherited or ascribed qualities. Academic economic historians are not the only ones who believed that America has had the optimum conditions for development (Weber, 1935; Weber, 1946). Nineteenthand early twentiethcentury Marxists, analyzing the expansion of capitalism, also pointed to the United States as the purest of bourgeois societies, the least feudal one, and therefore the most successful (Engels, 1935; Lipset, 1977). In the 1920s, Antonio Gramsci (1971), the justly celebrated Italian Communist theoretician, noted that his country had to Americanize socially as well as economically in order to develop the advanced capitalist industrial structure that, in his judgment, was a prerequisite for socialism. EXCEPTIONALISM AND UNIQUENESS The United States is exceptional in starting from a revolutionary event. It has defined its ration d'etre ideologically. As historian Richard Hofstadter has commented, 'It has been our fate as a nation not to have ideologies, but to be one' (Kazin, 1989, p. 242). The American Creed can be subsumed in five terms: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism (the rule of the people), and laissez-faire. As Alexis de Tocqueville (1948) noted, egalitarianism in its American meaning has emphasized equality of opportunity and of respect, not of result or condition. These values reflect the absence of feudal structures and monarchies and aristocracies. As a new society, the country lacked the emphasis on social hierarchy and deference characteristic of post-feudal cultures. These aspects, as