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INGLEHART'S SILENT REVOLUTION THESIS: AN EXAMINATION OF LIFE-CYCLE EFFECTS IN THE ACQUISITION OF POSTMATERIALIST VALUES

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Abstract:

Ronald Inglehart, a political scientist, argues that a “silent revolution” is taking place whereby Western publics are becoming increasingly “postmaterialistic” (endorsing values such as self-expression, aesthetics, and belonging) and less “materialistic” (endorsing values related to economic and security concerns). In this paper we examine Inglehart's reasons for rejecting the possibility that human development factors might play a role in this value shift. Utilizing the work of Erik Erikson, it is argued that the degree to which individuals experience the identity crisis is a predictor of the degree to which they endorse postmaterialist values. Data collected on two samples support the hypothesis that certain developmental factors may be playing a role in the “silent revolution”.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2224/sbp.1991.19.4.223

Publication date: January 1, 1991

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