How Selfish Are Self-Expression Values? A Civicness Test

Welzel, C.
Various analyses of World Values Survey data find a syndrome of emancipative orientations, mostly known as “self-expression values,” on the rise throughout all countries with longitudinal evidence. But, as much as scholarship agrees on the rise of self-expression values, there is disagreement on whether these values are civic or uncivic in character. Some declare self-expression values uncivic because they see them as indicative of egoism and weak social capital. Others consider self-expression values as civic for the opposite reasons. They interpret them as a sign of altruism and strong social capital. Cross-cultural evidence from the World Values Surveys supports the civic view on both accounts.

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