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Globalization, "McDonaldization" and Values: Quo Vadis?

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

It is frequently asserted that the ongoing process that is commonly referred to as globalization should bring about wide-spread changes in values. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that the unparalleled increases in the flow of capital, goods, services and information coupled with the revolutionary developments in information and communication technologies should result in a convergence of values.

This paper is attempt to assess the direction and the magnitude of value change between 1981, when the first WVS/EVS surveys were conducted, and 2001, the last year for which data are available. Data from some 20 countries are analyzed to follow possible changes in values. Furthermore, the paper offers a test of the convergence hypothesis by examining the standard deviations and the coefficients of variation of a wide-ranging list of values.

The conclusion is that cultural value change has been rather limited during this period at least for this sample of countries. Among the dimensions studied, marriage, family and gender relations seem to be the area of most significant change. On the other hand, we have found almost no evidence for even a slow convergence of values.


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