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Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 7$
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Michele J. Gelfand, Chi-yue Chiu, and Ying-yi Hong

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190879228

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190879228.001.0001

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Modernization, Existential Security, and Cultural Change

Modernization, Existential Security, and Cultural Change

Reshaping Human Motivations and Society

(p.1) Chapter 1 Modernization, Existential Security, and Cultural Change
Handbook of Advances in Culture and Psychology, Volume 7

Ronald F Inglehart

Oxford University Press

Survey data from countries containing over 90% of the world’s population demonstrate that in recent decades, rising levels of economic and physical security have been reshaping human values and motivations, thereby transforming societies. Economic and physical insecurity are conducive to xenophobia, strong in-group solidarity, authoritarian politics, and rigid adherence to traditional cultural norms; conversely, secure conditions lead to greater tolerance of outgroups, openness to new ideas, and more egalitarian social norms. Existential security shapes societies and cultures in two ways. Modernization increases prevailing security levels, producing pervasive cultural changes in developed countries. But long before, substantial cross-sectional cultural difference existed, reflecting historical differences in vulnerability to disease and other factors. Analysts from different perspectives have described these cultural differences as Collectivism versus Individualism, Materialism versus Postmaterialism, Survival versus Self-expression values, or Autonomy versus Embeddedness, but all tap a common dimension of cross-cultural variation that reflects different levels of existential security.

Keywords:   Key Words: existential security, modernization, cultural change, xenophobia, authoritarianism, individualism, autonomy, Postmaterialism, self-expression values

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