Postmodernization Erodes Respect for Authority, But Increases Support for Democracy

Ronald Inglehart

in Critical Citizens

Published in print March 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295686
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600043 | DOI:
Postmodernization Erodes Respect for Authority, But Increases Support for Democracy

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Presents an analysis of the reasons for the post‐modern shift to declining respect for/deference to authority among the publics of advanced industrial societies, and of the accompanying growing support for democracy. The early sections discuss: the changing emphasis on key aspects of life during the shift from modernization to post‐modernization; the authoritarian reflex that occurs in periods of rapid change and insecurity—in contrast to the greater emphasis on individual autonomy and diminishing deference to authority under conditions of prosperity and security that occurs in the post‐modern shift; and declining confidence in hierarchical institutions in post‐modern societies. The later part of the chapter examines predicted and observed changes in cross‐national norms concerning the authority using data from the three waves of the World Values Survey (1981–1997). Using these same data, it also examines the decline of confidence in the most hierarchical institutions of the survey countries over this time period—i.e. the armed forces, the police, and the church, and looks at support for strong leadership in relation to percentage priority to post‐materialist goals.

Keywords: advanced industrial societies; armed forces; authoritarian reflex; authority; church; hierarchical institutions; institutional confidence; leadership; modernization; police; post‐modern shift; post‐modern societies; post‐modernization; respect for authority; strong leadership; support for democracy

Chapter.  7964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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