Table of Contents:Two Modes
Lessons from History, Geography, and Biography
Change over time
Change in space
Young and Old
Figure 1. Two Paths to Value Maturity
A Sociology of Values
Sensate and Ideational Values
Figure 2. Ideational and Sensate Values and Media Technology
Systematization of der Zeitgeist
Figure 3. A Three-Dimensional Value Space
Figure 4. The Values of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft
A Typology of Value Carriers
Affiliations and Media in Value Space
Figure 5. Swedish Voluntary Association in Value Space
Figure 6. Swedish Weeklies in Value Space
Demographics and Valuegraphics
A Case of Value Change in Our Times: Swedish Youth after World War II
Figure 7. Value Changes 1945-1990
Mobility between Value Segments
Movements toward the North
Movements toward the East
A 1997 publication from ValueScope AB1.
Reprinted in R Swedberg and E Uddhammar (editors) Sociological Endeavor. Selected Writings,
City University Press, Stockholm, 1997, pp 191-219.
The Study of Values
by Hans L Zetterberg
Norms and values are each fundamental to a major modality in which man may find himself.
The first is the mode of compliance when you ask at every new turn:
The second is the mode of actualizing when we ask at every turn:
In authoritarian and dictatorial societies with much central planning people are expected to ask only the first set of questions. There you live a life that is to an overwhelming extent designed by others. In democracies and market economies the second set of questions is asked more often. Here you may live a life more designed by yourself. The constant asking of the second set of question promotes a more spontaneous social order.
To people or organizations operating in the compliant mode the norms are most fundamental. To people or organizations in the actualizing mode their values are most fundamental. The first set of questions on compliance to norms is most appropriate to ask when you deal with persons in organizations designed for specific purposes as well as traditional primordial organizations. The second set of questions on actualizing values is most appropriate when you deal with persons in networks and markets.
We sociologists have long known a great deal about the compliance to norms. We know less about the actualization of values.
In a vague way we are all aware of the fact that values are different at different times and at different places. Values unite us with certain ideologies, people, products, and services and estrange us from others. Some of us are also aware that our own values have differed in various stages of our life.
Few of us realize the magnitude of these differences. Our democratic ideology predisposes us to think that all men are born equal and that human nature is the same at all times and places. Such is not the case. And we need democracy precisely because we are born different and hold different and changing values. Democracy is our best method to cope with such differences.
To sharpen our awareness of how values change over time and between places we shall begin by citing two historical examples.
Let us first briefly look at a value change that was initiated in Imperial Rome between the reigns of Augustus and Marcus Aureoles ¾ in other words, the first two centuries AD
During this period Rome had grown into a city of one million inhabitants, many of whom had emigrated from agricultural regions. In the course of a couple of generations they had lost touch with the ways of their forefathers, who had secured their livelihood through farming and raising domestic animals. Many of the new city dwellers were unable to find work in city government, public construction projects, crafts, or commerce. In response to the swelling throngs of restless plebs official measures evolved to provide bread to still their hunger and spectacles to assuage their unease - the ancients' version of the welfare state and TV networks. Termini, i.e. leisure areas and amusements parks with public baths were constructed. Augustus began paying physicians from government coffers and he introduced the annona, which developed into a system of coupons that could be exchanged for bread provided by over 250 state bakeries. At times pork and olive oil were also sold at subsidized prices. In other words, conditions made it possible for an urban lower class to scrape by and enjoy city life without having to work very hard.
One of the developments among the masses in this societal structure was a version of inwardly-oriented values, rather similar to the quality-of-life values emerging today.
There are two ancient descriptions of the eruption of the Vulcan Etna, one written by the Greek poet Pindar and the other by Virgil. Pindar writes in Edith Hamilton's translation: 2
And Virgil wrote:
Pindar used his senses and recorded what he had seen and heard. Virgil used his imagination and recorded his subjective experience.
Roman culture had been extroverted and pragmatic, concerned with economic growth, road building, water and sewage systems, law and order, military legions, and the family home as a fundament and castle. Pindar's way of describing reality was most akin to this tradition. His rendering of the eruption was generated by external cues, a true craftsman's account. The Roman masses, however, followed Virgil, who became widely popular and truly beloved. Once the people were assured of their daily bread, ever-larger numbers among them could devote themselves to experience rather than achievement. Inner signals became more important than outer signals. The mandate for outerworldly, pragmatic achievements diminished. It moved from Rome to the provinces and then its vitality diminished.
The value shift that had begun at this time did not end with the decline and fall of Rome. The generations that had become accustomed to free bread and organized leisure did not know how to gain a living from the land and had no relatives in rural areas who could shelter them. Starvation decimated the population of early medieval Rome to a tenth of its size during the empire. One would suppose that the journey to the inner realms of human experience that Virgil had started would thereby have come to an abrupt end and be succeeded by a pragmatic reality orientation. Yet confrontation with grim economic reality did not lead to a return of the old values. The journey into the world of inner experience continued into the Middle Ages, and was attended by gnosticism, mysticism, and eschatology. Leadership passed from outer-directed persons, such as emperors, generals and merchants to inner-directed types: the priests took over and worldly rulers marched to Canossa.
The many technological innovations made were hardly exploited. The inner pursuits were practiced to heart's content. God's poor little St Francis talked to the flowers and the birds and organized the hippie movement of his time into a monastic order. And at journey's end we find Dante who, with Virgil as his guide, leads us into the fantastic landscape of the realms inhabited by the souls of the damned and the saved.
Not until the Renaissance does an outward orientation again make itself dominant in the cultural climate. Once again, the emphasis would be on achieving something visible, on accomplishing something tangible, on gaining conspicuous recognition and conspicuous rewards.
The study of the changing value climates over time has been given the label "mentality history".
In the same way we talk of mentality history we can talk about "mentality geography", although this term is not as established. There are not only value differences at the same point in time between different people, countries, and markets. Also within the same territory we find value differences. The most obvious ones are between city and country.
We may pick an illustration from 17th century England prior to the glorious revolution. Poets and preachers and authors of gossipy newsletters about the goings-on at the Court and in the big City contrasted these high society values with those of the healthy Country.
The Country is firstly an ideal. It is that vision of rustic arcadia that goes back to the Roman classics and which fell on the highly receptive ears of the newly educated gentlemen of England who had studied Virgil's Georgics at Oxford or Cambridge. It was a vision of environmental superiority over the City; the Country was peaceful and clean, a place of grass and trees and birds, the City was ugly and dirty and noisy, a place of clattering carts and coaches, coal dust and smog, and piles of human excrement. It was also a vision of moral superiority over the Court; the Country was virtuous, the Court wicked; the Country was thrifty, the Court extravagant; the Country was honest, the Court corrupt; the Country was chaste and heterosexual, the Court promiscuous and homosexual; the Country was sober, the Court drunken; the Country was nationalist, the Court xenophile; the Country was healthy, the Court diseased; the Country was outspoken, the Court sycophantic; the Country was the defender of old ways and old liberties, the Court the promoter of administrative novelties and new tyrannical practices; the Country was solidly Protestant, even Puritan, the Court was deeply tainted by popish leanings.
The pragmatic and loose values of city life are in sharp contrast to the faithful and firm values of country life. This difference in values between country and city is an essential background to the English revolution.
We also see from this example how value cleavage branches from mere differences in mentality into cleavages in politics, life styles, and cultures.
From all societies there are evidence that young and old persons ¾ even when they share the same habitat in time and space ¾ tend to exhibit somewhat different values. There are stages of growth from psychological immaturity to a rich and full adult life. The modern inspiration of a scientific study of this type of value change comes mainly from Erik H Erikson, David McClelland, and, above all Abraham H Maslow. Arnold Mitchell has given this research tradition a typology central to the Values and Life Styles Program (VALS) of the Stanford Research Institute (later named SRI so that it would not be confused with Stanford University).
The main contribution of the VALS team is the thesis that there are two parallel paths to ego development, one Outer Directed and One Inner Directed. 4
The left arrow of psychological development is the traditional, outer-directed hierarchical path, described also by Maslow. The right arrow is the contemporary inner-directed hierarchical path.
The basic division is between three categories: the Need-Driven, the Outer-Directed, and the Inner-Directed. The first category acts because of needs rather than choice. The last two categories can choose between acting upon external cues or internal cues. One brief and simple example of the major types: The Need-Driven person may lose weight because he or she is too poor to get enough nutrition. The Outer-Directed may loose weight because it makes him or her look better to others. The Inner-Directed may loose weight because it makes him or her feel better.
Everyone starts his or her psychological development with a primacy of basic biological needs of physical security and of basic emotional needs of trust and belonging. Those retaining these priorities also in adulthood are called Need-Driven. Among Post-Belongers there are two alternative options. Those who give priority to their need of esteem are called Outer-Directed. Mitchell, however, divides the need for esteem into two levels. Individuals whose adult priorities are found here are called Emulators and Achievers.
The other route concerns self-development. Those who put their priorities here are called Inner-Directed. The Mitchell team distinguishes between three levels of priorities here: I-Am-Me, Experiential, and Societally Conscious.
At the top of both paths, Mitchell places a small number of exceptional individuals who are able to successfully balance all phases and priorities, the Integrated. Not everyone reaches this level. On the routes from childhood to maturity different people rest at different levels and continue to exhibit the values of their final levels. 5
Value research is conducted in the liberal arts as history of mentalities; there is a whole school in France devoted to Ètudier les mentalités. In anthropology 6 we meet value research as a routine part of the study of culture. Major contributions come from political science,7 sociology,8 social psychology.9 Psychologists have been very active in the neighboring field of psychographics with a focus on personality rather than culture.10 This is a truly multi-disciplinary field of study.
An ultimate driving force of markets may well be the values held by a population. Values indicate priorities for how we want to live. A market is one of the systems through which we can realize our values. Such simple considerations have suggested that it may be very fruitful to incorporate value research into market research. Today there is more knowledge about value measurements in market research than in academic sociological research.
There are a variety of commercial models for value studies in marketing. A brief critical review counted some 15 different systems of value segmentation of markets.11 Many are closer to personality profiles than cultural values, and some mix demographics into their typologies. They usually use proprietary methods. A few are as advanced as the methods used in academic research, perhaps ahead of them on practical scores.
Of the global brands of commercial value research the oldest is The Yankelovich Monitor developed in the United States by Daniel Yankelovich beginning in the late 1960s. A European system for measuring values called RISC (Research in Sociocultural Change) was developed in the early 1970s by Alan du Vulpian in France and others, including Dr. Elisabeth Nelson of the UK, Professor Giampaolo Fabris of Italy, Dr. Werner Wyss of Switzerland, and myself. The Yankelovich Monitor and the RISC system both rely on long questionnaires. The researchers include any item that might catch the relevant values of contemporary times. Data reduction and analysis are performed by statistical techniques such as cluster, correspondence, or factor analyses. Pioneering methods have been invented for the tracing of the bifurcation of values. New items are added to their questionnaires from time to time to keep up with changes in the value climate. The ad hoc nature of these systems have made them undogmatic and always of interest for those who have to cope with marketing implications of the Zeitgeist. The VALS system, as we saw, is based on fixed categories and an underlying theory. Its usage seems to have declined in recent years, but its approach of basing the measurement of values on a theory is sound.
First our definition:
Values are generalized, relatively enduring and consistent priorities for how we want to live.12
Our values may be more or less articulated. When we use survey research to measure values we assume that they are reasonably well articulated. When we use literary or cultural criticism to ascertain values we may also discover unarticulated or unconscious values.
We recall that Max Weber spoke of seven Lebensordnungen (life-orders) and Wertsphären (value-spheres). They are the economic, political, intellectual (scientific), religious, familial, and erotic life-orders and spheres of life-activity and values, each with Eigengesetzlichkeit (internal, lawful autonomy). We cope rentlessly with them through our manipulations and escapes and above all by the never-ending process of rationalization.
You may argue about the number of life-spheres and their delineation.13 If we leave out the microsociological familial and erotic value spheres from Weber's list and add an ethical realm to the remaining we obtain the six value-spheres about which it might be possible to reach consensus. They are the pursuit of wealth, order, truth, the sacred, virtue, and beauty. We call them the cardinal values. All are products of society.14
The cardinal values are embedded in the major institutional realms, i.e., the economy, polity, science, religion, ethics, and the arts. The economy seeks and produces wealth, the polity order, science truth, religion sacred meanings, ethics virtue, and art beauty. We can learn about the cardinal values by studying economic, political, and juridical history, the history of ideas and learning, the history of religion, of customs, and of art. Most value research is embodied in the humanities, not in anthropology or sociology.
It is generally accepted that wealth is preferable to poverty, that order is preferable to chaos, that truth is preferable to falsehood, that a life with transcendent or sacred meanings is preferable to a life devoid of meaning, that virtue is preferable to iniquity, that beauty is preferable to ugliness. The ideal of our contemporary American and European civilization is an all-round society that affords people the opportunity to freely pursue the cardinal values. Thereof the importance of free enterprise, civic liberties, academic freedom, artistic freedom, and freedom of religion.15
A major decision, usually made in our youth, concerning the way we want to live is the choice among cardinal values, i.e., the pursuit of riches, the search for knowledge, the fight for political causes, the pursuit of religious piety, artistic development, civic virtue. This decision commonly coincides with our occupational choice we decide whether to go into business, civil service or politics, academia, art, the clergy, or welfare work. Sometimes several cardinal values can be combined in one's occupational choice an architect can, for example, pursue both beauty and wealth. But only a renaissance character can effectively pursue all the cardinal values at once.
The economy, the polity, science, religion, ethics, and art have each a set of organized activities, for example, business firms, courts, universities, churches, museums. Each supports the development of its cardinal value. Values that are strongly supported by organized activities (social structures as we usually call them) survive more easily and longer than values that lack support in society's structures. Political and economic structures are strong in our civilization. Aesthetic and ethical structures are weaker. Hence it is understandable that money and power are more in evidence than beauty and virtue in a modern society.
The cardinal values have sometimes mistakenly been described as "eternal" because they are said to have existed in every society and in every age. In reality, they survive mainly because they have institutional structures that support them. When institutional support is weak, so is the corresponding cardinal value. The dearth of ethical institutions in the Western world has, for example, resulted in a dearth of environmental ethics, at least until very recently.
Ethical and aesthetic values are those cardinal values that are at present advancing the most, making up for much lost ground. Religious values are loosing ground.
In a 40-year span the following percentages of Swedes answered in the affirmative the question "Do you believe in God?"
Diminishing religiosity with accompanying secularization represents the most marked long-term decline in a cardinal value in my country.
The Russian-American sociologist Pitirim A. Sorokin, classified the history of ideas using a scale that ranged from sensate culture to ideational culture. In a sensate culture most symbols have a clear, close reference to the evidence of the senses or refer to gestalts of biological and physical existence. In an ideational culture most symbols and cultural expressions are removed from the sensory data or gestalts of everyday experience and mainly allude to other symbols.
Sorokin's work, Social and Cultural Dynamics 16 shows how Western civilization has fluctuated between sensate and ideational cultures. An ideational culture in 600 B.C. had changed into a sensate culture by the time the Roman empire was at its height. This, in turn, developed into a new ideational culture in the Middle Ages, which was followed by the sensate culture of our times.
The main forces behind the shifts in cultural mentality are immanent, i.e., residing in the symbol-system itself. In the virtuoso swing towards ideational culture, the symbol-system loses touch with everyday realities and a sensate mode gets a new opportunity. In the virtuoso swing toward sensateness the symbol system loses touch with spiritual reality and the ideational mode gets a new chance. And so on.
There may, however, also be external forces behind the swings. In a comely but imperfect coincidence with Sorokin's main cycle, Marshall McLuhan also finds turning points in the cultural development at about the third or fourth century before Christ, the mid-fifteenth century, and at the time of the late twentieth century. 17 McLuhan's criterium for change is the vehicle by means of which the important symbols travel: oral prior to Plato, written until the end of the Middle Ages, printed until the mid-twentieth century, and pictorial (or electronic) in our days. The medium, he argues, affects the message: the values of oral culture are those of wisdom, the values of written culture are those of knowledge and information. The use of the medium of printed text is harsh and manly, and drives forward instrumental tasks, while the values of pictorial culture are soft and womanly, using the intimate medium of television to express internal states, evoke emotions, maintain harmony and well-being.
In an ideational culture ethics is concerned with unconditional moral principles. In a sensate culture ethics is concerned with the pursuit of happiness. The former thus preaches value fidelity, the latter preaches pragmatism. In a sensate culture human activity is extroverted; in an ideational culture it is introverted. The former preaches the inner-directed values of humanism, the latter preaches the outer-directed values of materialism. Life view in a sensate culture stresses becoming; in an ideational culture it stresses being. The former thus preaches progress and modernity, the latter preaches the stability of tradition. Sorokin also holds that technology and engineering flower as a sensate culture reaches its apogee.
According to Sorokin's presages in the late 1930s, the sensate culture of our civilization was then at its apogee. Its vigorous empiricism, unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and estimable striving for material progress are degenerating to a lax and carnal sensuality, a shallow consumerism, and orgies of violence. At the time of writing, Sorokin predicted that the direction of developments would soon change and that Western civilization would head toward a new ideational culture. He would have agreed with the Swedish poet Nils Ferlin:
En dag skall det varda sommar har visorna tänkt
(Translation: Greta Frankel)
Forewarnings of the tidal changes can be detected in the sciences. The theoretical architecture of the sciences becomes more elegant than concrete. The instances where theory is grounded in the sensate culture of observation and practical experiments become ever more rare. Many experiments today are replaced by exercises in higher mathematics, and reality is often simulated with the aid of a computer. Ideational culture is thus infiltrating the strongholds of empiricism. A telling example is the idea of global warming due to carbon dioxide from oil heating and combustion engines. This warming cannot be proven by the temperature readings we have on record, but is a conclusion drawn from models. Such is the intellectual basis for the contemporary radical environmentalism that demands our immediate conversion to a more frugal life style. It is almost a new religion; the penance of mankind and the salvation of the earth are on its agenda.
Ferlin resignedly notes that ballads are poor sibyls, and Sorokin, himself, is vague about the actual point in time when the turnaround will take place. Yet his theory reminds us of something essential ¾ that there is more to man than that which is obvious in the Zeitgeist of our own times.
The concept of the spirit of the times (Zeitgeist) was introduced by Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). It has since been used mainly as a term to designate the "predominant ideas" of a period, for example, the spirit of romanticism. Sometimes the term is also used to designate "predominant structures," such as the character of the era of constitutional monarchy or of industrialism. One should, however, try to avoid deriving in the very definition the spirit of a certain era from its structures; it is a matter of investigation, not definition. Here we will use the term Zeitgeist values as a loose designation of those values of a period that are not cardinal values.
The Zeitgeist values of the latter part of the twentieth century do not lend themselves to simple enumeration, as did the cardinal values. Their content varies, seemingly unpredictably, like fashion trends; it has also been said that fashion follows the temper of the times.
But the apparent arbitrariness of the value dispositions of different eras is due to our lack of knowledge. In the Middle Ages people thought that comets followed a "wild and lawless" path, but we do not think so today because we have learned that their path follows physical laws and is fully predictable.
The contents in the values of an era may be hard to foresee, but the different attributes they have can be systematically classified. The coordinates that we shall use to get a reading on values were implicit in Sorokin's analysis from the 1930s. In the 1940s Charles Morris made them more explicit in a remarkable analysis of the world religions. He made it clear that at least three dimensions are needed, a Promethean, a Dionysian, and a Buddhist one.18 We will follow these leads in our own way, keeping in mind that the dimensions refer to formal attributes of values, not the actual contents of the values.
The first dimension of value space, depicted in Figure 3 from south to north, runs from being to becoming. It corresponds to a scale from traditionalism, where one upholds stability ("being"), to modernism, where one welcomes change ("becoming").
Modernism initially took shape under a banner bearing the slogans "faith in reason" and "technology." Here one could follow in Descartes' footsteps if one were philosophically minded, or in Diderot's if one appreciated science and technology. As we know, the procession became a massive one: it included Kant, Smith, Hegel, Marx, Newton and Darwin.
Of course, gifted skeptics existed alongside. Pascal, who was a contemporary of Descartes, placed at least in one context the motives of the heart on a par with those of reason. And Shakespeare's Hamlet makes the well-known comment: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Diderot's contemporaries included Swedenborg, Zinzendorf and Rousseau. And in the 19th century, which gave us so much rational science and technology, great irrationalists like Kierkegaard, Schelling and Schopenhauer were active. They sought to save traditional or religious wisdom from the simpler, but devastating, logic of rationalism.
Of the political traditions formed in the 18th and 19th centuries, both liberalism and socialism are affiliated to modernity in the form of rationalism. But classic conservatism was skeptical toward rational would-be improvers of the world and that applied to both left- and right-wingers.
The 20th century gave modernism a new content beyond technology and faith in reason: an élan vital, to use Bergson's phrase. New banners and slogans rallied to the cause of becoming modern. Nietzsche's contribution was creative self-realization, the idea of a sunny superman (Übermensch) who, unrestricted by traditions, creates himself and his world. Freud contributed therapeutic expression of drives, enabling the 20th-century human beings to affirm their biological selves, live for the moment and deny the magnitude and character-molding features of suffering.
Modernism is and always has been a movement without a definite end. The direction change to modernity, as we may label the northern end of our axis, thus has different meanings at different points in time. The only common element is "becoming". You could also say that each period in modern times has a notion of its own about "postmodernity".
Regional and nationalistic values stressing the importance of your roots while much in vogue these days are not modernistic but express the desire for stability as we may label the southernmost part of our axis. Stability has also different meanings at different times; the only common element is "being". The notion of social security (such as the overriding desire for "trygghet" in Sweden) was considered a modern value by the first generation in the welfare state, but today it is a traditional value.
The second dimension, which runs from west to east, spans the field from value fidelity, where "one dramatizes ones values," to pragmatism and instrumentality, where "one compromises one's values".
Value fidelity which can be called idealism if you approve of the value or dogmatism if you disapprove of it embraces values that one will not compromise. They typically include matters of conscience, such as loyalty toward one's family, solidarity with the weak, compassion for the ill, saving planet earth for future generations. Instrumentality that can be called pragmatism if your approve of it or opportunism if you disapprove includes values that we can experiment and compromise with to obtain an optimal result; they typically include practical deliberations and calculations in business or politics and the selection of technical solutions. Max Weber drew the distinction between value fidelity and instrumentality in the early 1900s. A wertrational action (value rationality) was separated from a zweckrational action (instrumental rationality). 19
The third dimension runs from the valleys to the mountains in our diagrams. It separates a concern with material things from a concern with human beings, thus bridging the poles of materialism and humanism. Such labels have many connotations and there are several other designations that can be used. For example, some have used the label "values of production" such as order, punctuality, ambition, efficiency and other values promoting economic growth as opposed to "values of reproduction" such as self-exploration, empathy, sensitivity to and concern for others, and other qualities necessary for personal inner growth and a genuine understanding of other people.
Arnold Mitchell, as we have seen, refined and re-labeled the opposite poles of this dimension in his distinction between Outer-directed and Inner-directed. 20 Values that appeal to external cues are outer-directed values. Values that appeal to internal cues are inner-directed. This terminology, however, is not consistent with Riesmans more well-known usage of these terms. 21
For a hundred years, sociologists and others have had an understanding that society has moved from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. The three-dimensional view of values proposed here can show that this is not the only possible path. Gemeinschaft is traditional stability, value fidelity, and humanism. Gesellschaft is change to modernity, pragmatism, and materialism. But a modern society may embrace humanism rather than materialism this is the message from the feminist movement. And it may embrace fidelity rather than pragmatism this is one of the messages from the environmentalist movement. And the peace movement often claims that the change to modernity is compatible with both humanism and value fidelity. Such movements are actually part of the modernity of our times, not calls to return to tradition. But they represent a different modernity without the pragmatism of the industrial and parliamentary era.
Let us divide the population according to types depending on their high or low position on each of the three dimensions. We get eight types of value carriers. 22
Thumbnail sketches of these groups in advanced societies reveal them as very distinct types.
1. The Upright in Southwest Valleys: stability, fidelity, materialism.
This segment consists of people who are rural or small-town in their minds if not always in their actual residence. "You must!" and "You must not!" are important words in their vocabulary. The Upright are patriotic and often suspicious of strangers and immigrants. They hate inflation and love law and order. As consumers they are cautious and apprehensive about experimenting. They like tried and true products; reliability is essential.
2. The Folks in Southwest Mountains: stability, fidelity, humanism.
This segment emphasizes where you as a person come from, your ancestry. The Folks are more concerned with family and relatives than with the material base of existence; old-fashioned religion thrives here. Love of the home community and the preservation of its traditions and surrounding nature are important concerns. Service to the next of kin is self-evident. The Folks are particularistic: nothing is as fine as one's own garden and nothing beats mother's cooking. When buying they often ask the advice of the local retailer.
3. The-matter-of-fact in Southeast Valleys: stability, pragmatism, materialism.
In this segment one seeks practical and technical rather than traditional solutions. Prescription medicine and obedience to doctor's orders are evident. Your car and residence, not your family, signal who you are. Cheers resound for the hometown sport team as it tries to advance in the league. As consumers The-matter-of-fact are more ambitious than their southwestern neighbors. More than others they go for big brands and standard products.
4. The Belongers in Southeast Mountains: stability, pragmatism, humanism.
These joiners believe that friends and clubs, not only possessions, signal who you are. In joint efforts they have learned to influence their conditions. They have others than relatives and old schoolmates as dinner guests but are usually uncomfortable with cosmopolitans and foreigners. As consumers they are also joiners; many shop in coop stores. More than others they look for value for money.
5. The Advocates in Northwest Valleys: modernity, fidelity, materialism.
Here are the people who like the comfort of modern living but do not use material goods as status symbols. They are very active in promoting their health. They are eager to recycle products. The typical Advocates are committed to egalitarian values, which they equate with democracy and anti-commercialism. They are convinced of the merits of their values and want to change society to correspond to their values, not to adjust themselves to society. The plight of the environment and of the Third World is on their minds. The Advocates often prefer single-issue groups to political parties. They are fairly big consumers but they are usually suspicious of advertising. Functionality in products is important.
6. The Zealous in Northwest Mountains: modernity, fidelity, humanism.
The Zealous are seekers in touch with their inner selves. Emotion and intuition are meaningful words for them. They engage in various forms of self-development. Like their neighbors in the northwest valleys they question tradition, hierarchy, and authority. The Zealous embrace not only environmental and Third-world causes but are also strong on peace, feminism, racial equality, gay rights, and animal rights. And they get personally involved. They are very critical consumers who tend to look for personal experiences rather than material things in the market place.
7. The Dare Devils in North East Valleys: modernity, pragmatism, materialism.
The Dare Devils are a breed of individualists who are less afraid of the complexity of life than those in other segments. They look for and enjoy challenge, e.g. entrepreneurship, modern, risky lifestyles in sports such as those centered around the surfboard, the parachute, the hangglider and in the financial markets. (From this segment "the yuppies" of the 1980s were recruited.) Their bonds to products, causes, and people may, however, be short-lived. They continually ask "What works for me?" and are ready to discard anything that is no longer flashy or profitable or useful. They are very interested in the technical features of the hardware they buy, but volatile in their pursuit of fashion in clothing, of cars, and of interior design.
8. The Minglers in North East Mountains: modernity, pragmatism, humanism.
In this segment we find networkers thriving on cosmopolitan contacts and markets. Eating an ethnic dish a day is a matter of course. Interest in new expressions of personal life is intense. In their way of living they combine familiar fragments in unexpected ways as in a music video. The Minglers are sophisticated consumers, more interested in software than hardware.
We refrain from classifying those who have nearly equal scores of all three dimensions into the above eight groups. They form instead a ninth group we call "Centerites". Methodologically they are uncertain to classify, and in real life they represent the minority who have average values on all dimensions.
The nine categories Folks, Uprights, Joiners, Matter-of-Fact, Zealots, Advocates, Minglers, Dare Devils, and the Centerites are proposed as valuegraphics in parallel to demographics of age, sex, occupation, et cetera in interviews using questionnaires. And, once established they are as easy to use. But, of course, the concrete descriptions of the types must be modified to reflect national cultures.
A point to keep in mind is that the three theoretical dimensions of the value space refer to formal attributes of values rather than concrete values as we exemplify in the text of the typology. We cannot tell whether a Belonger will be found in a Red Cross group, a soccer club, a church choir, et cetera. We can only tell that he or she has a tendency of being traditional and therefore, not joining in the latest pop bands, and is pragmatic and thus not joining into a fundamentalist Save the Earth group. We can further say that he or she, is humanistic, i.e. more interested in human beings than in things or machines, and therefore less likely to join a motorcycle club except for its companionship.
If values are the relatively enduring and persistent priorities for how we want to live, they should affect not only our choice of political parties but also our choice of voluntary associations to join and media to follow. Media and associations, furthermore, sustain and enhance values. Our choice of media and associations may be both cause and effect of our values.
By means of correspondence analysis we have entered into the value space a sample of memberships in associations (Figure 5). The data are from 1991 in Sweden. The various voluntary associations cluster in a V-shaped pattern in the value space. Close to the bottom of the V in the south are the old popular movements of the last century: free churches, consumer cooperatives, temperance lodges, rifle clubs, and village associations (hembygdsföreningar). From that area stretches toward the northeast one leg of outer-directed associations for sports, golf, choral music, jazz, and rock. Toward the northwest stretches another leg of inner-directed associations that promote the arts, humanitarian causes, and environmental concerns. The space map also shows that the northwestern valleys have fewer joiners than other regions.
In Figure 6 we have entered the readership of a sample of Swedish print media in the value space. There seems to be a lack of weeklies catering to the values in the northwestern and southeastern segments. The various media cluster along a southwest-northeast path, probably the same as the one Robert K. Merton in a celebrated media study called local-cosmopolitan. 23
There are correlations between the demographic categories and the value groups. For example. the young generally support the change to modernity more than do the old. Men tend to be more materialistic than women. The rural-urban-metropolitan scale is seen as a road from the lower left corner of the value space to the upper right corner.
We shall not join here the great debate between Hegelians who argue for the primacy of values and Marxists who argue for the primacy of social structure. In our data both are partially right, one more than the other depending on the concrete issue at hand. In every country where we have studied values, there are correlations between demography and values. Demographics and valuegraphics each contribute a unique piece of information, small or large, to the concrete issue at hand.
A Case of Value Change in Our Times: Swedish Youth after World War II 24
Value change leaves few unaffected, but the amplitude of change comes early and is most visible among the young. "We see one young generation after the other step into the arena, like a bull that we know will be killed." This reflection of Francois Mauriac's is quoted in Lars Ahlin's first novel, Tåbb, with the manifesto, from 1943. (Ahlin is one of Sweden's foremost postwar novelists.) Tåbb belonged to the young Swedish generation of the 1940s that embraced Marxism, conforming to the spirit of the time. The Depression was a recent memory. The Soviet Union had conquered Nazi Germany in the world war, and the Communists obtained 11.2 per cent of the vote in Sweden's 1946 general election and a somewhat higher proportion among the youngest voters.
In the 1940s Sweden was a hierarchical society with a clear class structure. The Uprights and The Folks were the main value bearers. The war years had emphasized its nationalistic and patriotic traditions. The population valued security and order. The postwar appeal of Communism rested mainly on its rhetoric advocating classlessness and international solidarity. A majority of Swedish youth, however, did not adopt Communism but stayed within the more nationalistic sentiments of the war years. Tired of wartime central planning they embraced private entrepreneurship.
Tåbb the bull was defeated in reality, if not in the novel. In the early 1950s, youth broke with both Communism and the rallying to nationalism that had prevailed in the war years of the 1940s, and embarked on a cosmopolitan track. The new cosmopolitanism was of a Western brand and it won over the Soviet brand of internationalism. The youngsters who put EU (European Union) stickers on their motorcycles were keen on expansion and interested in international affairs. They were slightly embarrassed about the limitations of their home ground, and loved the big wide world. Getting out of Sweden was the great event in life. They approved of the USA, the second great victor of the war. They were delighted with their living standards, and thought it was important to market themselves, their country, and its products. In time the young Swedes discovered the developing countries, and many felt particularly welcome there since they carried no recent colonial past.
In the early 50s the dominant value carriers became people the quality of being Matter-of-fact. External forms meant a great deal. Miss Sweden beauty contests were actually regarded as important occasions. The prevailing values were pragmatic and outer-directed. Pro-technology attitudes were much in evidence. Sweden was early in taking steps to develop nuclear power, both for military and domestic purposes. In this climate of ideas, the Social Democratic party was able to govern only by showing its most liberal side, entering a coalition with the Agrarian party and relying on the electoral lag in the upper chamber of Parliament.
The period 1958-66 has been termed (by Stefan Dagler) one of "trustee liberalism." Young students increasingly often enrolled in the natural and social sciences, and the status of the liberal arts subjects and classical languages declined. Innocuous musical groups, such as the Beetles and Hep Stars, were popular among teenagers. Trusteeship replaced adventure, and certain indolence spread among young people. The leading Swedish publicist of those times, Herbert Tingsten, wrote a book with the evocative title From Ideas to Idyll, propounding the thesis that politics had left ideology behind and become a matter of administering and selling.
But there was movement beneath the tranquil surface, and a youth revolt was brewing. An anarcho-liberal period took hold among young people in 1966-68. Hedonism seeped into every corner of society. A pragmatic attitude captured also the literary discourse and it became common to celebrate one's "faithlessness" to styles and ideals and former positions. The cultural pages of the press discussed infidelity. Copulation was depicted at the cinema. Now, people could make love for friendship's sake or for pleasure without forming ties. Pornography was countered with increased goodwill. Young Swedish women traveled to Poland for the abortions that were freely available there but not yet in Sweden. The youth cult penetrated the country. Throughout the West, being young was now beginning to be thought of as being better than being a mature adult a dangerous situation for any civilization. A mood of exhilaration began to prevail among young people.
The backgrounds for these developments were the record years of the economic prosperity and the war in Vietnam. The Advocates emerged as the most visible value carriers. Young people protested not only against superpower violence in a developing country, but also against the violence they felt that schools and employers, police and social-welfare authorities exercised against those who dressed differently (in jeans!), smoked differently, or went on strike at times other than those agreed upon. The stress was on informality, not on order and hierarchy. There was a reaction against big cities, big companies and big organizations, and a call for general decentralization.
Out of the youth revolt, two waves emerged: the "red" and the "green." The red wave, in 1968-71, politicized adolescence, and students flocked to socially oriented university courses, such as sociology and government. The support for a mixed economy advocated by previous Social Democratic leaders such as Per Albin Hansson's and Tage Erlander was regarded as a capitalist blunder and added to the targets of anti-capitalist protests: "Palme and Geijer, Lyndon's lackeys!" (Palme was head of government and Geijer head of the labor unions.) Young students, often from a middle-class background, joined the anti-capitalist wave and a massive generation gap arose. The dominant values were anti-authoritarian: hierarchies should give way to heterarchy, bureaucracies to networks, and social relations should be egalitarian. This was a period of intense value change, particularly among university students.
Thus, Tåbb's children turned red, and succeeded where Tåbb had failed in vitalizing the socialist elements in the Swedish climate of opinion. Among intellectuals, Marxism emerged from its ghetto and became respectable. In politics, socialist proposals gained more of a hearing. On the left, the Communists enlarged their share of young voters, while the Social Democrats' share diminished.
Then followed a green wave in 1971-76. Among the social concerns of youth, environment came to the fore. The small Swedish Agrarian party changed its name to the Center party and promoted the green cause and its support among young voters quadrupled to over 30 per cent in 1972-73. The reassessment of the early 1960s continued; support for cosmopolitanism and large-scale technology was replaced by localism. Now, the local community formerly so embarrassing that people preferred to avoid the subject was to be revered, and multinationals hated. International trade was no longer exciting; handicrafts and barter were in fashion. The greatest achievements of technology computers and nuclear-power plants were evil, and should be banished.
By the mid-70s The Zealous were as much in evidence as The Advocates. Feminist values had gained ground already in the 60s with the debates on abortion and now they took on a new life with broad focus. Militant feminism, however, soon gave way to a wave of coziness, particularly evident in Sweden of 1976-80. Young people now departed not to foreign countries, not to the revolution, nor to nature, but to pads not far from their parents. They sought sweet partners, and embraced the thesis that small is beautiful. They extolled confidence, not protest. They took jobs in the expanding social sector. Their quest was for a small workplace, a small cottage, a small kitty to spend, a small vision, a small love, a small child and a small change in society. The prodigious security they sought was thought to lie in smallness. The inner life became important, and people lost some interest in the outer world's conventions and ideologies. The self came to the fore; the mode was intraceptive, i.e. one listened to the signals from the inner world rather than to those of the outer world. The social critic Jan Myrdal complained that even the left wing had entered psychoanalysis. It became more important to understand deviants both ideological renegades and ordinary criminals than to judge them. Those who now set out to explore Europe on inexpensive train passes did so not to see other surroundings and great cities, as in the 1950s, but mainly to explore their own psyche and develop friendship with their travel companions. Self-actualization was the catchword of the day.
In the first half of the 1980s, many young people made a dramatic return to cosmopolitanism and the values of the external world; there was a Fifties air in the world of youth. The Dare Devils became dominant in the young ranks. One embraced with zest a rich and complex life. There was less fear of fragmentation many members (not all, of course) of this generation had learned to cope with the consequences of the sexual freedom of their parents; three out of ten had grown up in settings with changing patterns of step-parents and step-siblings. Complexity was actually to them a part of their joy of living. The excitation of the fragmented rock video catches this mentality very well. Entrepreneurship again tempted many, this time with a strong feeling that it was a road not only to riches but to self-development. No longer did more than one half the school leavers seek public-sector jobs. Only one-sixth (17%) did so, while 77 per cent wished to enter the private sector 42 per cent as employees and as many as 35 per cent as entrepreneurs. This was "the blue wave" in politics inspired by Reagan and Thatcher. At its height, in 1984-85, the Swedish Conservative party had swelled to the same size as the Social Democratic party among those 18-24 years old: the former had 37 per cent and the latter 38 per cent in this age group. The life style among young Swedes became yuppie-ish.
The fall of the Berlin wall 1989 renewed the faith in the Western ideals of free markets and democracy. The cosmopolitan Minglers became the most favored breed of youth while the adult European middle classes renewed their pledge to Geist und Geld und Familie. The speculative excesses of finance capitalism during the 1980s had, however, created severe problems for traditional industrial capitalism. Thus the very moment of capitalism's triumph over communism became marred by a severe recession in the capitalist world. In Eastern Europe the most visible result of the end of the cold war was a resurgence of nationalist values. And in Western Europe the attitudes toward immigrants and refugees became more hostile. Values seemed to turn back to square one: the nationalism of The Folks and The Upright.
Many zeitgeist values have coexisted with one another during the period we are reviewing. A brief review tends to overstate the homogeneity of each youth generation. For example, not all the children of the anarcho-liberal and "red" parents of the 1960s became "blue"; a minority turned "green." These new greens evinced a pronounced pessimism. Their consciousness was heavy with cosmic evil as manifested by holes in the ozone layer and in the transformation of the atmosphere into an international rubbish dump. May Earth's sinners be punished for such evil! They fight not for small-scale quality of life, like the first green wave; now it is the very conditions of life, the most global concerns conceivable, that are their urgent concern.
The Swedes who attached EU stickers to their motorcycles when they were 18 in 1950 experience the real European Union of the 1990s as pensioners. But in the early 90s the majority of young Swedes are actually disillusioned with the proposed European Union, i.e. the Mastricht treaty of December 1991. Despite the rapid changes, the world is moving far too slowly to match the changing values of the young.
The key emerging values among Swedish youth 1945-1990 have been entered into our three-dimensional value space in Figure 7. All the details from our review cannot be fitted into the diagram. But there is enough there to indicate that our three dimensions are a fitting framework for a historic review of values.
There is mobility between value segments as few people stay in the same segment all their lives. Such mobility always entails problems of adjustment and risks of loosing one's bearings. This topic requires its own paper; here only two observations.
The urbanization and industrialization of Western Europe brought about an upsurge in friendly voluntary association in the nineteenth century. Also the contemporary underdeveloped countries seem to emerge with a flora of associations and popular movements when their social structure changes toward that of a modern society. And long before, De Tocqueville, observing the settlers from aristocratic Europe in achievement-stressing America, was surprised by the abundance of voluntary associations they created in their newfound land.
In these instances, we might assume that new associations with humanistic values facilitate the transition to modernity. The south to north path of modernization has a half-way house of joiners in the southeastern mountains.
The movement northwards inevitably leaves some behind. After the fall of the Berlin Wall many people in Eastern Europe knew that they personally would never enjoy the good life in a market economy. Their age, education, and circumstances repeated the same message: that kind of modernity is not for me! Their consolation lies in turning to their roots, which often means a rampant nationalism.
In some contemporary Arab countries not only older people but also young and educated persons have grown profoundly pessimistic about the journey into a Western-type modernity. They turn to Muslim fundamentalism instead.
The road to modernity is always precarious and the calls to return to tradition abound at every turn.
Any movement eastwards in value space increases the risk of anomie in Durkheim´s sense. When people move this way their fixed values are replaced with more fleeting and changing values. Back in the west of our value space, the values may at best allow you to negotiate the means to achieve them. In the east, both means and ends are negotiable. This may, of course, be a great advantage to the individualists. But the flexibility also leads to disorientation and confusion, particularly if the move toward the east is sudden.
In our type of society, the migration eastwards seems to be accompanied by a surge in the purchase of consumer goods. People apparently compensate for the firm values they have lost by acquiring material possessions. Thus the move toward pragmatism is also precarious. An eastward migration in value space benefits mainly the materialistic valleys of the northeast.
At this point in our argument we can pause and say that a sociological typology of values is at hand, and also a theory that allows us to understand the mode of actualization and the emergence of spontaneous orders. The theory specifies three dimensions and contains the promise of propositions that explain some social change.