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Civilizational Diversity and Support for Traditional Values

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

Values concerning religion, family and gender are conceptions of the desirable in these domains of life. Studies of development have shown that, instead of eagerly adopting modernity, people may resist it and adhere to traditional religious, family and gender values. Although Western societies increasingly move in the direction of modern values, the proportion of people in the world with traditional values may be increasing – given the higher fertility rates in less developed societies where traditional values are more common. This study develops a causal model of the social bases of support for traditional values: the individual's sex, age, education, occupational status and income; the level of socio-economic development of one's society; and the civilization of which one's society is a part. Multivariate regression analysis of data from representative samples of the populations of eighty societies in the 2000 (fourth) wave of the World Values Surveys confirms the hypotheses. Around the world, women are more traditional than men in religious values, but more modern in family and gender values. Traditional values are most often supported by older people, those of lower socio-economic status, living in less developed societies, in Islamic, Sub-Saharan African and Latin American civilizations.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA;, Email:


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