The Diverse Paths of Individualisation in East Asian Societies: Findings from the Fifth (2005-2009) and Sixth Wave (2010 – 2014) of World Values Survey

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal III (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Wing Shek Adrian LUI, Macquarie University, Australia
Neo-modernisation theory (Inglehart and Welzel 2005, Welzel 2013) argues that there is a global trend of increasing ‘emancipative values’, associated with the process of individualisation. This phenomenon is a result of the rise of post-industrialism, following a chronological development from agrarian, industrial, to post-industrial societies. This paper argues that this view is inadequate for understanding the process of individualisation in the advanced East Asian economies, where many people have experienced such a socio-economic transformation in less than a generation since the post-war years. Their process of individualisation is highly influenced by their modernity projects, which aim to modernise the societies through rapid integration into the global division of labour (Castells 1992).

Using the personal value instrument tool developed by Schwartz (2007) and indicators of emancipative values developed by Welzel (2013), this paper measures the level of individualism and civicness, as well as different aspects of ‘emancipative values’, based on data from the fifth (2005-2009) and sixth wave (2010 – 2014) of the World Values Survey. The findings suggest that diverse paths of individualisation can be identified in East Asian and Western societies and also among societies within the East Asian region. This paper analyses the impact of modernisation and how it shapes the changing state-family-individual relationships, resulting in diverse paths of individualisation in East Asian societies. The analysis points to the need to develop new typologies of individualisation and new indicators which are able to capture the complexity of the development in different societies and how these modernisation projects are manifested in personal attitudes and values towards private relationship with family and friends and collective life in economic production and political participation under different local circumstances in an increasing globalised world.