Preference for modernization is universal, but expected modernization trajectories are culturally diversified: A nine-country study of folk theories of societal development

Kuba KRYS, Colin A. CAPALDI, Yukiko UCHIDA, Katarzyna CANTARERO, Claudio TORRES, İdil IŞIK, Victoria Wai Lan YEUNG, Brian W. HAAS, Julien TEYSSIER, Laura ANDRADE, Patrick DENOUX, David O. LGBOKWE, Agata KOCIMSKA-ZYCH, Léa VILLENEUVE, John M. ZELENSKI

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Cultural sensitivity in societal development has been advocated for since at least the 1960s but has remained understudied. Our goal is to address this gap and to investigate folk theories of societal development. We aimed to identify both universal and culturally specific lay beliefs about what constitutes good societal development. We collected data from 2,684 participants from Japan, Hong Kong (China), Poland, Turkey, Brazil, France, Nigeria, the USA, and Canada. We measured preferences for 28 development aims. We used multidimensional scaling, analysis of variance, and pairwise comparisons to identify universal and country-specific preferences. Our results demonstrate that what people understand as modernization is fairly universal across countries, but specific pathways of development and preferences towards these pathways tend to vary between countries. We distinguished three facets of modernization—foundational aims (e.g., trust, economic development), welfare aims (e.g., poverty eradication, education), and inclusive aims (e.g., openness, gender equality)—and incorporated them into a folk meta-theory of modernization. In all nine countries, the three facets of modernization were preferred more than conventional aims (e.g., military, demographic growth). We propose a method of implementing our findings into a culturally sensitive modernization index.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalAsian Journal of Social Psychology
Early online date30 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (grants #P17806 and #17F17806) and Polish National Science Center (#2020/37/B/HS6/03142).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Asian Journal of Social Psychology published by Asian Association of Social Psychology and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd.

Keywords

  • cultural sensitivity
  • culture
  • HDI
  • modernization
  • societal development

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