Cultural Evolution: People's Motivations are Changing, and Reshaping the World

Cultural Evolution

People's Motivations are Changing, and Reshaping the World
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date of Publication:
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Product details:

No. of pages:291 pages
Size:228x151x16 mm
Weight:380 g
Illustrations: 58 b/w illus. 4 tables
Short description:

Presents and tests a theory that helps explain the rise of environmentalist parties, gender equality, and same sex marriage - and the reaction that led to Brexit and the election of Trump.

Long description:
Cultural Evolution argues that people's values and behavior are shaped by the degree to which survival is secure; it was precarious for most of history, which encouraged heavy emphasis on group solidarity, rejection of outsiders, and obedience to strong leaders. For under extreme scarcity, xenophobia is realistic: if there is just enough land to support one tribe and another tribe tries to claim it, survival may literally be a choice between Us and Them. Conversely, high levels of existential security encourage openness to change, diversity, and new ideas. The unprecedented prosperity and security of the postwar era brought cultural change, the environmentalist movement, and the spread of democracy. But in recent decades, diminishing job security and rising inequality have led to an authoritarian reaction. Evidence from more than 100 countries demonstrates that people's motivations and behavior reflect the extent to which they take survival for granted - and that modernization changes them in roughly predictable ways. This book explains the rise of environmentalist parties, gender equality, and same-sex marriage through a new, empirically-tested version of modernization theory.

'This book is the product of an extremely ambitious project - ambitious in terms of the broad scope of the various aspects of society that its theoretical insights purport to explain, but also in terms of the range of the social science disciplines that are swept up and integrated into this 'Evolutionary Modernization theory'. One could even regard this enterprise as striving towards what would be the equivalent of 'unified field theory' in physics. What Chutzpah! And what a burden of proof such an ambitious enterprise would face. Remarkably, Inglehart succeeds in this demanding task, the ultimate product of which I regard as one of the most important works in the social sciences in decades.' Richard Gunther, Ohio State University
Table of Contents:
Introduction: overview of this book; 1. Evolutionary modernization and cultural change; 2. The rise of postmaterialist values in the West and the World; 3. Global cultural patterns; 4. The end of secularization?; 5. Cultural change, slow and fast: the distinctive trajectory of norms governing gender equality and sexual orientation; 6. The feminization of society and declining willingness to fight for one's country: the individual-level component of the long peace; 7. Development and democracy; 8. The changing roots of happiness; 9. The silent revolution in reverse: the rise of Trump and the authoritarian populist parties; 10. The coming of artificial intelligence society.