The empirical base for the seminar is the European Values Study project. The project was initiated by the European Value Systems Study Group (EVSSG) in the late 1970s – at that time this was an informal group of academics. Now, it is carried on in the setting of a foundation, using the (abbreviated) name of the group: European Values Study (EVS).
The EVSSG researchers aimed at exploring the moral and social values underlying European social and political institutions and governing conduct. At the time of the first survey, the first elections for the European Parliament were approaching, a bishops’ conference was organized, and questions were raised such as:
Do Europeans share common values?
Are values changing in Europe and, if so, in what directions?
Do Christian values continue to permeate European life and culture?
Is a coherent alternative meaning system replacing that of Christianity?
What are the implications for European unity?
[more on the Project’s history at https://europeanvaluesstudy.eu/about-evs/history/]
The EVS project emerged within a specific theoretical approach. These are theories of modernisation, and the universalisation of Western rationalism – a mainstream in the seventies. In the nineties, it was the theory of Ronald Inglehart assuming two dimensions of value changes, depending on the global processes of economic development and modernisation. The first of these trends is a change from the recognition of traditional institutions and authorities or traditional values, to the secular-rational ones, emphasising individual achievements. The second one is a shift from the materialistic orientation to post-materialist values.
In the framework of EVS project the representative surveys in European countries are conducted, according to the same (or nearly the same) questionnaire and following the commonly accepted sampling methods. These all is in order to ensure the cross-country comparability of the results.
There were 5 waves of the survey so far, the last one in 2017-2019 (in some countries the data collection processes are still going). Poland was one of the first 16 countries which had completed the fieldwork in 2017. Poland has joined the EVS project in 1990. This means, there data from 1990, 1999, 2008 and 2017 EVS waves are available for analysis. The data can be downloaded free of charge from GESIS Archive
Classes will address, among others, the following general issues:
Understanding the changes occurring within the theory, which constituted support for empirical research and show how these changes affect both the data collection as their interpretations
Investigate changes in value systems in Poland since the beginning of transition – considering the context of European integration processes, economic crises etc.
Methodological aspect: analysis of the "weak points" of comparability of existing data, e.g. different understanding of the basic concepts (like democracy, freedom) in different countries and different areas of Europe.
The following topics are to be discussed (some of them could be discussed during more than one class)
A little bit of history: Polish sociology and participation in comparative sociological projects in the XX century (especially in communist period).
EVS – history and theory. Discussion of the changes that have occurred within the theoretical approaches within the EVS over time, especially after including post-communist societies into the project.
Polish religiosity – its social/political functions and changes over the last 30 years.
Family, children and gender roles in Poland and how have they changed over the last 30 years.
Political values – democracy and political participation in Poland.
”Europeanism” of Poles – returning to Europe or challenging Europe: how the accession to the EU changed the values of Poles or how the values shaped the process of Poland joining the EU.
Polish ”immersion in history” – how the Polish national identity was / is being constructed, and how it is reflected in values.
The participants will be encouraged to perform their own analyses using EVS data to answer the research questions connected with these subjects.