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Using the European Values Study (1981-2017) for the comparative study of value change: substantive insights and methodological challenges

Coordinator 1Dr Ruud Luijkx (Tilburg University)
Coordinator 2Dr Vera Lomazzi (GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)

Session Details

In these times of permanent global social change and dramatic transformations in Europe, the question about value changes is immanent. Ongoing technological developments induce transformations in social communication and in the working life. The working conditions of the Europeans are still scarred by the recent recession, visible in high unemployment rates, especially in the Southern countries. The refugee crisis divides Northern and Southern Europe; terrorism threats became part of social life. Events as the Brexit referendum, the rise of populist and extreme-right wing parties, and the difficulty in the formation of viable governments caused political uncertainty in many European countries. Do these events affect the values of the Europeans and in which manner? Data from survey programs like the European Values Study (EVS) are crucial for investigating such issues.
The EVS is a large-scale, cross-national, repeated cross-sectional survey research programme on human values. It provides insights into the beliefs, attitudes, values, and opinions of citizens all over Europe on topics as family, work, environment, perceptions of life, politics and society, religion and morality, national identity. EVS has an extensive geographical coverage and spans almost 40 years with surveys in 1981, 1990, 1999, 2008, and 2017. Even though several items have been changed over time, EVS still includes an impressive number of unchanged questions. Moreover, its comparability with the World Values Survey is massive, yielding global comparisons. In the 2017 wave, EVS and WVS agreed to cooperate for the data collection in Europe and coordinated the questionnaire’s design.
Wave after wave, the program made many efforts to improve the quality of the data and their suitability for comparative analysis. In the 2017 wave, most of these efforts are in the direction of increasing the centralization and the harmonization of the fieldwork procedures, concerning the translation process, fieldwork monitoring, mode of data collection, sampling design, etc.
This session welcomes paper proposals based on EVS, or EVS in combination with other survey data, possibly exploiting the very recent data of the last wave. We are particularly interested in papers which make use of the comparative potential of EVS from a methodological and a substantive perspective, both cross-nationally and over time.