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Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521609715
ISBN-10: 0521609712
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Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence + States and Social Revolutions: A Comparative Analysis of France, Russia and China + Making Democracy Work: Civic Traditions in Modern Italy
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Editorial Reviews


"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 theorizing, 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 democratization. It will polarize 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 peopleas 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 democratization. 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

"Good books raise important questions after they have answered other important ones. Readers interested in political culture research and its contribution to understanding democratization processes will profit greatly from this book and, in addition, they will become acquainted with a professionally managed large-scale survey research project that offers many opportunities for further research."
-Franz Urban Pappi, Universitat Mannheim, American Journal of Sociology

Book Description

This book demonstrates that people's basic values and beliefs are changing, in ways that affect their political, sexual, economic, and religious behavior. Drawing on a massive body of evidence from eighty countries, the authors demonstrate that modernization 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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (August 8, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521609712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521609715
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By W. D ONEIL on January 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a major study by any standard. It presents both a grand synthesis and a great depth of hard data to back it up, and I can see nothing that would cast it in serious doubt. Inglehart and Welzel make a very strong case that for the most part socioeconomic conditions drive popular values and that these values in turn drive the institutions of government. If you take a subsistence agricultural society and industrialize it then, after a time, its people will turn away from a sense of impotence in the face of divine forces toward a confidence in society's potential to master nature and itself. If their government already had elements of democracy then they will probably embrace more democratization, based in mass parties and movements. But if they lack a democratic tradition they may well turn to the apparent strength and security of mass totalitarian government.

Moreover, if this industrial society becomes rich enough and sophisticated enough to move into an era of postindustrialism - an era in which industry produces more and more wealth with less and less direct labor and more and more people find secure and well-paid work in directing and facilitating industry through skilled mental labor - further values changes will come, but in a different direction. These postindustrial humans will grow suspicious and even hostile toward authority and relatively more concerned about freedom for themselves and others than further enrichment. This, in turn, will bring overthrow of any totalitarian institutions and both a broadening and deepening of democracy and popular commitment to democracy. But it will be democracy of autonomous individuals rather than disciplined masses.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. B. D. Rivage on May 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was in my final year of college in a seminar on democratization. This book stood out even among the biggest names and works (Huntington, Diamond, etc.) in the field, and provoked some of the most interesting discussions of my entire academic career. The statistical analysis is very sophisticated-and for those out there with the mathematical background to understand it, there will be plenty to keep you busy-but the results are presented so most readers can understand and appreciate them. The argument is not simple, and the other reviewer here does a fine job of summarizing it, but I will just say, I found this book so brilliant and inspiring, it convinced me to a pursue a phD in political science with a focus on democracy studies. My only regret about this book is that it doesn't have a snazzier title which might allow for it to be marketed to a wider audience. I think a lot of people outside the field of political science would find the book both stimulating and surprising.
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By Nicholas Creel on February 16, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great read overall. Even if you don't agree with the author, he is a first rate scholar in the field so you need to read this.
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