Postmaterialism and Democracy: What Does the Postmaterialist Value Shift Mean for Democracy?
Nickens, Bradley Harrison
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This thesis explores the possible impact of a postmaterialist value shift on the future of democracy in advanced industrial democratic countries. Research over the past few decades has questioned the responsiveness of representative democratic institutions in advanced industrial democracies to individual and communal needs in society. Radical democratic theorists have called for direct action, structural reform, and other social and political changes to make democracy â stronger.â Increased education levels brought on by continued economic and physical security in advanced industrial societies has led to a change in the ability of citizens to access the political process. How the relationship between the citizen and the state is altered as a result of continued prosperity is a primary motivation for this research. Working with World Values Survey data, I examine individual and societal level relationships between postmaterial values and direct political participation and acceptance of participatory values. Empirical evidence supports the hypotheses that postmaterial values are positively associated with direct political participation and as the level of Postmaterialists increases in a given society the level of participatory behavior and acceptance of participatory values will also increase. Substantive analysis suggests that increase in the level of postmaterialism in a country will lead to increases in alternative political activity and other forms of direct participation.
- Masters Theses