Chinese Youth's Post-Materialist Values in an Era of Multi-Modernity

Friday, July 18, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: F204
Oral Presentation
Jie SHEN , Chinese University , Beijng, China
Today's China’s society is in a compound of multiple dimensions of time and space. Characteristics of China’s modernization are late and exogenous onset. When the mainstream direction of China's social development is manifested as the transformation from traditional society to modern one, the developed Western societies that have completed the modernization goal constitute the environmental conditions affecting the development of China’s society. As a consequence, China’s society more clearly than ever in the history is at the same time being affected by three dimensions of time, or, put another way, in the present there are three dimensions of time – traditional, modern, postmodern -- coexist in the same space.

If so, although the total direction of social psychological changes in the course of the China’s modernization is the transformation from the tradition to  modernity, this is not intended to preclude the possibility that the present Chinese social psychological changes will present a more complex pattern than in any previous eras and societies.

Just as using Inglehart’s two important theoretical tools -- scarcity hypothesis, socialization hypothesis can attest that when China entered the take-off stage of its modernization, changing from a society of scarcity to one of prosperity, the spiritual world of the social members is undergoing rapid and profound changes, along with gradual improvement of their hierarchy of needs. It is Chinese youth who first shows these changes. In China, the post-materialist values have begun to emerge in these people born in the 1980s, and have further manifested by these groups born in the 1990s.

Occurrence and development of the post-materialist values among Chinese young people will definitely lead to changes in their activities of daily life and ways of social participation, and to affect the appearance of China’s society especially when they enter the society in an all-round way.