SOCIAL VALUES AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY: A COMPARATIVE VIEW.

Author:Anastasiu, Ionuj
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

Social values have always aroused great interest first in philosophical point of view, and subsequently in sociological and psycho sociological perspective. In this regard, values are defined, from sociological point of view, as representing a collective set of convictions, beliefs, ideas, principles etc. about what is good or bad, right or wrong, just or unjust, worthy of being desired or not in a certain culture (Kendall, 2011). In other words, values are standards through which people appreciate their own life or others way of life, the world they live in and other people. Some sociologists and philosophers have noted that values and norms have an accentuated cognitive component, so both are derived in a very small measure from emotion or other psychological factors (Borgatta & Montgomery, 2000). This means that values have an ideal, abstract component. Values are understood as being cognitive representations of individual needs and wishes, on the one hand, and of requirements of society, on the other hand (Grube, Mayton, & Ball-Rokeach, 1994). From a not very different perspective, values can be seen as generators of conflicts both individually, and in terms of large groups of people and even wholly societies. We can enumerate here some of the themes that raises heated debates or even major social conflicts in Western societies and not only: the right attitude towards migrants, the question of abortion, the marriage between same sex persons, the legitimacy of death penalty, teaching religion in public schools in secular countries, the cruelty to animals etc. One of the analyses that have become classics on social values has been undertaken by the Polish-American psycho sociologist Milton Rokeach, analysis which developed a famous values classification tool: The Rokeach Value Survey (Rokeach, 1979). Within this, is operated the distinction between two types of values:

  1. Terminal values defined as major values of the existence of every man and

  2. Instrumental values, which refer to preferred behavior in various life situations. Instrumental values are the means necessary to achieve terminal values.

    Instrumental values are: ambition, honesty, independence, responsibility, obedience, logic, helpfulness, self-control, courage, cheerfulness, love, capability, politeness, forgiveness, broad-mindedness, imagination, intellect cleanliness. Terminal values are: freedom, true friendship, a sense of accomplishment, equality, a world of beauty, wisdom, national security, family security, social recognition, salvation, a comfortable life, self-respect, a world at peace, mature love, pleasure, an exciting life, inner harmony, and happiness.

    On the other hand, the American sociologist Robin Williams undertook a relatively comprehensive analysis of American society. Following these researches conducted, he concluded that, despite the cultural diversity which makes its presence felt everywhere on the American soil, there are ten common values of the majority of Americans (apud Macionis, 2005; Kendall, 2011). The comparative analysis of the ten fundamental values from the system of Robin Williams that we performed...

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