Ronald F. Inglehart (born September 5, 1934) is a political scientist at the University of Michigan. He is director of the World Values Survey, a global network of social scientists who have carried out representative national surveys of the publics of over 80 societies on all six inhabited continents, containing 90 percent of the world's population. The first wave of surveys for this project was carried out in 1981 and the latest wave was completed in 2014. Since 2010 Inglehart has also been co-director of the Laboratory for Comparative Social Research at the National Research University - Higher School of Economics in Moscow and St Petersburg. This laboratory has carried out surveys in Russia and eight ex-Soviet countries and is training Ph.D.-level students in quantitative cross-national research methods.
In the seventies Inglehart began developing an influential theory of Generational Replacement causing intergenerational value change from materialist to post-materialist values that helped shape the Eurobarometer Surveys, the World Values Surveys and other cross-national survey projects. Building on this work, he subsequently developed a revised version of Modernization theory, Evolutionary Modernization Theory, which argues that economic development, welfare state institutions and the long peace between major powers since 1945, are reshaping human motivations in ways that have important implications concerning gender roles, sexual norms, the role of religion, economic behavior and the spread of democracy.
Ronald Inglehart's numerous writings have become extremely influential, with translations published in German, Italian, Spanish, French, Swedish, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Croatian, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Persian, Urdu and Indonesian. Brief descriptions of some of his most influential works include:
The Silent Revolution
In The Silent Revolution (1977) Inglehart discovered a major intergenerational shift in the values of the populations of advanced industrial societies. In his 1990 book Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society Inglehart uses a large body of time-series survey data from twenty-six nations gathered from 1970 through 1988 to analyze the cultural changes that are occurring as younger generations gradually replace older ones in the adult population. These changes have far-reaching political implications, and they seem to be transforming the economic growth rates of societies and the kind of economic development that is pursued. Economic, technological, and sociopolitical changes have been changing the cultures of advanced industrial societies during the past several decades. Inglehart examines changes in religious beliefs, work motivation, political conflict, attitudes toward children and families, and attitudes toward divorce, abortion, and homosexuality.
Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society
Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990). Economic, technological, and sociopolitical changes have been transforming the cultures of advanced industrial societies in profoundly important ways during the past few decades. This ambitious work examines changes in religious beliefs, in motives for work, in the issues that give rise to political conflict, in the importance people attach to having children and families, and in attitudes toward divorce, abortion, and homosexuality. Ronald Inglehart's earlier book, The Silent Revolution (Princeton, 1977), broke new ground by discovering a major intergenerational shift in the values of the populations of advanced industrial societies. This new volume demonstrates that this value shift is part of a much broader process of cultural change that is gradually transforming political, economic, and social life in these societies. Inglehart uses a massive body of time-series survey data from twenty-six nations, gathered from 1970 through 1988, to analyze the cultural changes that are occurring as younger generations gradually replace older ones in the adult population. These changes have far-reaching political implications, and they seem to be transforming the economic growth rates of societies and the kind of economic development that is pursued.
Modernization and Postmodernization
In Modernization and Postmodernization (1997) Inglehart argued that economic development, cultural change, and political change go together in coherent and, to some extent, predictable patterns. Inglehart theorised that industrialization leads to related changes such as mass mobilization and diminishing differences in gender roles. Changes in worldviews seem to reflect changes in the economic and political environment, but take place with a generational time lag. Following industrialization, advanced industrial society leads to a basic shift in values, de-emphasizing instrumental rationality. Postmodern values then bring new societal changes, including democratic political institutions and the decline of state socialist regimes.
Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World
Written with Pippa Norris, The Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change Around the World (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003) examines how the twentieth century gave rise to profound changes in traditional sex roles. This study reveals how modernization has changed cultural attitudes towards gender equality and analyzes the political consequences. It systematically compares attitudes towards gender equality worldwide, comparing almost 70 nations, ranging from rich to poor, agrarian to postindustrial. This volume is essential reading to gain a better understanding of issues in comparative politics, public opinion, political behavior, development and sociology.
Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide
Inglehart's 2004 book with Pippa Norris, Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide reexamines the secularization thesis. This book draws on a base of new evidence generated by four waves of the World Values Survey executed from 1981 to 2001 in eighty societies, covering most of the world’s major faiths. Examining religiosity from a broader perspective and in a wider range of countries than have been done before, this book argues that religiosity persists most strongly among vulnerable populations, especially those in poorer nations and in failed states, facing personal survival-threatening risks. Exposure to physical, societal and personal risks drives religiosity. Conversely, a systematic erosion of traditional religious practices, values and beliefs may have occurred among the more prosperous strata in rich nations. But at the same time, a growing proportion of the population—in both rich and poor countries—spends time thinking about the meaning and purpose of life. It is argued that in developed countries, the established churches are losing their ability to tell people how to live their lives, but spiritual concerns, broadly defined, may be becoming increasingly important.
Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy
Written with Christian Welzel, Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence (2005) demonstrates that people's basic values and beliefs are changing, in ways that affect their political, sexual, economic, and religious behavior. These changes are roughly predictable because they can be interpreted on the basis of a revised version of modernization theory presented here. Drawing on evidence from societies containing 85% of the world's population, the authors argue that modernization is a process of human development, in which economic development triggers cultural changes that make individual autonomy, gender equality, and democracy increasingly likely.
Inglehart's latest book, written with Pippa Norris. In Cosmopolitan Communications: Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) he argues that societies around the world have experienced a flood of information from diverse channels originating beyond local communities and even national borders, transmitted through the rapid expansion of cosmopolitan communications. For more than half a century, conventional interpretations, Norris and Inglehart argue, have commonly exaggerated the potential threats arising from this process. A series of fire-walls protect national cultures. This book develops a new theoretical framework for understanding cosmopolitan communications and uses it to identify the conditions under which global communications are most likely to endanger cultural diversity. The authors analyze empirical evidence from both the societal level and the individual level, examining the outlook and beliefs of people in a wide range of societies. The study draws on evidence from the World Values Survey, covering 90 societies in all major regions worldwide from 1981 to 2007. The conclusion considers the implications of their findings for cultural policies.
Awards and Recognitions
Inglehart has received the following honors:
- Doctor, honoris causa, Uppsala University, Sweden, 2006.
- Doctor, honoris causa, Free University of Brussels, Belgium, 2010.
- Doctor, honoris causa, University of Lueneburg, Germany, 2012
- Fellow, The American Academy of Political and Social Science
- Fellow, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences
- Winner of Johan Skytte prize in Political Science, 2011.
Further Literature on Inglehart
- Tausch, Arno (2015). The political algebra of global value change. General models and implications for the Muslim world. With Almas Heshmati and Hichem Karoui. (1st ed.). Nova Science Publishers, New York. ISBN 978-1-62948-899-8.