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Book description

This book demonstrates that people's basic values and beliefs are changing, in ways that affect their political, sexual, economic, and religious behaviour. These changes are roughly predictable: to a large extent, they can be interpreted on the basis of a revised version of modernisation theory presented here. Drawing on a massive body of evidence from societies containing 85 percent of the world's population, the authors demonstrate that modernisation is a process of human development, in which economic development gives rise to cultural changes that make individual autonomy, gender equality, and democracy increasingly likely. The authors present a model of social change that predicts how the value systems play a crucial role in the emergence and flourishing of democratic institutions - and that modernisation brings coherent cultural changes that are conducive to democratisation.


'Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy is the crowning achievement of three decades of research on the origins, evolution, and consequences of human values. Bold in its theorizsng, pathbreaking in its methods, breathtaking in its empirical scope, and stunning in its findings, this book is one of the most important social science works ever produced on the relationship between values, development, and political regimes. Inglehart and Welzel make a compelling case for viewing development as the expansion of human autonomy and choice, and for political freedom and democracy as the consequence of economic development and cultural change. Anyone who thinks modernization theory is dead will have to grapple with the powerful logic of their evidence and argument. '

Larry Diamond - Stanford University

'This book is a landmark in the study of political culture and democratisation. It will polarise opinion, provoking both strong acclaim and fierce critique. For this work presents powerful evidence contradicting several major schools of thought in the social sciences. It will be debated and cited now, and in years to come.'

Hans-Dieter Klingemann - Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, Paris

'Inglehart and Welzel’s book is a tour de force. Its comprehensive theory of how social modernization shapes human development makes a major contribution to our understanding of political development. This theory is tested by a rich analysis of people’s opinions and values from all four waves of the World Values Survey - an unprecedented social science resource that covers 85 percent of the world's population. They conclude that social modernization shapes the human condition in predictable ways, and that the cultural consequences of modernization are a major force driving democratisation. Culture matters - in nurturing the conditions for democracy to develop and in shaping the workings of the democratic process.'

Russell J. Dalton - University of California, Irvine

'The book is a major contribution to the research on value changes and democratisation and will be of much interest to both students and researchers who study human development and democratic change.'

Source: Political Studies Review

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