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Postmaterialism

  • By: Sarah Hards
  • In: Green Politics: An A-to-Z Guide
  • Edited by: Dustin Mulvaney & Paul Robbins
  • Subject:Environmental Sociology, Environmental Technology, Policy & Management, Environmental Policy & Law (general)

The concept of postmaterialism was introduced in 1971 by Ronald Inglehart, who suggested that Western societies were experiencing a “Silent Revolution” in their values. The concept has been extremely influential in the study of public values and political behavior, including the study of environmental attitudes. The thesis suggests that there are two kinds of values characterizing advanced industrial societies: materialist values, which emphasize physical or economic security, and postmaterialist values, which emphasize self-affirmation, quality of life, democratic participation, social expression, and equality. Proponents of the thesis suggest that, as a result of economic development, advanced industrial societies are becoming more postmaterialist with each successive generation. The wide-ranging debate and criticism generated by the postmaterialism thesis has focused on both theoretical issues concerning the nature of ...

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