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Volume 27, 2011

Modernization in Times of Globalization II

Raymond Boudon
Pages 21-36

Modernization, Rationalization and Globalization

Is moral evolution a mere illusion, as postmodern thinkers state or a more or less permanent feature of history though it can be thwarted by unfavorable conjunctures, as Weber or Durkheim thought? The question is tentatively answered by a reanalysis of data drawn from the World Values Survey conducted under the lead of the University of Michigan. The data on seven Western countries show, when comparing the answers of younger to older respondents and of more to less educated respondents, that definite trends characterize the frequencies. On the questions regarding issues related notably to work, authority, morals, religion, politics and attitudes towards other people, the younger and the more educated appear as giving answers less inspired by tradition. On the whole, the data illustrate Weber’s notion of ratio­nalization. The same trends can be observed in countries outside the Western world as India, Russia and Turkey. Such trends may plausibly be reinforced by globalization.