Revising the value shift hypothesis : South Africa's value dynamics between 1991 and 2001

Lombard, Karin (2001-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The World Values Survey has made a significant contribution to research in the field of values and value change, but a large amount of the research has been fashioned in a manner to tap values in industrialized and western states, rendering the theoretical models of explanation less than relevant for developing nations. This study aims to advance an understanding of value change within the South African context, particularly in light of the expansive political, social and economic changes to have transpired since 1990, whilst simultaneously addressing this issue of a lack of universal theory to understand value change. Primary amongst the theoretical frameworks addressing this issue of value change has been Ronald Inglehart's theory of a shift towards increased post-materialism in economically viable democratic countries. By subjecting survey data regarding value priorities from the South African rounds of the 1991, 1995 and 2001 World Values Survey to statistical analysis, the hypothesis of a similar situation in South Africa will be tested. After evaluating whether South Africa concurs with the post-materialist shift hypothesis, a unique dimension, including pre-materialist values, will be utilized in an attempt to establish whether South Africa has undergone any value change. This dimension is employed in the analysis of the 1995 and 2001 South African data, and whilst the value shift hypothesis promulgated by Inglehart appears largely unconcurred, an overall trend away from pre-materialism towards increased mixed type value priorities, with an ever so slight increase in materialists, has become evident. Although South Africa's value configuration is displaying an increasing convergence towards more moderate value orientations, most of the dynamics of change are manifesting themselves amongst and across various population sub-groups. South Africa's values are therefore undergoing relatively dramatic fluctuations, mainly reflected when the data are disaggregated for the various population sub-groups, the results indicating that longitudinal analysis along the pre-materialist/materialist continuum continues to be a more appropriate tool for tapping South Africa's underlying values. The consequences of these findings, for democratic consolidation, future political conflict, value change determinants and the appropriateness of this model for developing countries, will be assessed in detail. Consequently, by conducting these analyses, this research essay attempts to situate a global, but still largely Western theory, in a South African and developing world context. It thereby attempts to contribute towards filling a knowledge gap concerning the direction, degree and nature of the dynamics of value change.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hoewel die Wêreld Waardestudie sedert 1981 'n noemenswaardige bydrae gemaak het tot navorsing rakende waardes en waardeverandering, was dit tot dusver hoofsaaklik gefokus op waardes van geindustrialiseerde en westerse state. Dié fokus, het die studie grootliks van sy verklarende bruikbaarheid vir ontwikkelende lande ontneem. In hierdie opdrag sal daar gepoog word om die waardeveranderinge van Suid-Afrikaners, in die lig van die politieke- en ekonomiese omwentelinge sedert 1990, te beskryf. Dit sal gedoen word tesame met die aanspreek van die kwessie rondom die gebrek aan 'n universele teorie waarmee waardeverandering verklaar kan word. Ronald Inglehart se teorie, wat 'n skuif na post-materialistiese waardes in ekonomiese lewensvatbare state postuleer, was tot dusver die mees prominente teoretiese raamwerk wat waardeveranderinge beskryf het. Deur middel van die analise van die 1991, 1995 en 2001 data van die Suid-Afrikaanse rondte van die Wêreld Waardestudie, sal daar gepoog word om dié hipotese binne die plaaslike konteks te toets. Hierna sal 'n unieke dimensie, wat prematerialistiese waardes insluit, gebruik word om vas te stelof Suid-Afrikaners enige verandering in hul waarde oriëntasies ondergaan het. Hierdie dimensie is by die 1995 en 2001 studies ingesluit, en hoewel die resultate nie heeltemalooreenstem met Inglehart se hipotese nie, was daar 'n neiging weg van pre-materialisme in die rigting van meer gemenge waarde prioriteite, sowel as 'n baie klein toename in die aantal materialiste, merkbaar. Suid- Afrikaners blyk te beweeg in die rigting van meer gematigde waarde oriëntasies, en meeste van hierdie neigings manifesteer ditselfbinne en tussen die verskeie bevolkingsgroepe. Suid-Afrikaanse waardes ondergaan dus, in relatiewe terme, dramatiese veranderinge, wat veral na vore kom wanneer data vir die onderskeie bevolking sub-groepe afsonderlik geanaliseer word. Die resultate bevestig dat longitudinale analise in terme van 'n prematerialistiese/ materialistiese kontinuum steeds die beste metode is om waardeverandering binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks te meet. Die implikasies van hierdie bevindinge vir demokratiese konsolidasie, toekomstige politieke konflik, waardeveranderinge, en die toepaslikheid van die modelop ontwikkelende lande, sal in detail bespreek word. Hierdie studie poog gevolglik om 'n universele, maar hoofsaaklik steeds Westerse, teorie in 'n Suid- Afrikaanse en ontwikkelende staat perspektief te plaas. Daar word gehoop dat sodanige studie sal bydra om bestaande tekortkominge rakende die rigting, graad, en aard, van waardeveranderinge aan te spreek. The financial assistance of the National Research Foundation (NRF) towards this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed and conclusions arrived at, are those of the author and are not necessarily to be attributed to the National Research Foundation.

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