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East Asian Values Surveys : making a case for East Asian-origin values survey concepts

Ostasiatische Wertestudien: ein Argument für Konzepte der Werteforschung aus Ostasien
[working paper]

Vinken, Henk

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Corporate Editor Zentrum für Umfragen, Methoden und Analysen -ZUMA-
Abstract This paper aims to contribute to social scientific work towards enhancing the cultural fit of comparative values surveys projects on a conceptual level both for Western and East Asian survey research communities and their publics. It starts with noting that, after a long period in which Western values were regarded superior ('orientalism'), in recent decades certain East Asian and specifically Confucian values are much celebrated ('reversed orientalism'). Yet, most contemporary cross-culturally comparative values surveys, also those surveying East Asian publics, still build on Western, universalist, individualist values conceptions only. Universalism claims values concepts have an absolute nature, are part of the basic human (psychological) condition, and are thus applicable in any cultural context. Particularism, more likely to be found in the East Asian context, claims that at least some concepts depend on the social context, can thus not be generalized, but consequently are unique to particular cultures. Universalism mimics individualism like particularism matches collectivism; values dimensions that are believed to distinguish Western from East Asian cultures. A subsequent review of recent values literature on the domains of work, politics, religion, and family life, more precisely illustrates the nature of these East Asian context values. Some concepts emerge across domains: sacrifice for one's in-group, preservation of reciprocal relationship, and assurance of material benefits seem basic traits that cross the work, political, religious and family values domains in East Asia. The paper shows that most Western values are not universal and thus that comparative surveys building on this logic are inadequate. It is time to enrich our comparative surveys with insights from non-Western cultures. Doing so also enables us to survey how particular East Asian values really are. The paper finally proposes to engage in systemic analyses of East Asian values surveys and organize a series of seminars which include Western and East Asian survey experts who list the key candidate items for inclusion in future comparative values surveys and who discuss appropriate 'collectivist' survey methodologies. (ZUMA)|
Keywords statistics; method; Asia; Far East; data collection method; empirical social research; methodology; value; statistical method
Classification Methods and Techniques of Data Collection and Data Analysis, Statistical Methods, Computer Methods
Method basic research
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
City Mannheim
Page/Pages 35 p.
Series ZUMA-Arbeitsbericht, 2006/05
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications