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Critiques and Counter-Critiques of the Postmaterialism Thesis: Thirty-four Years of Debate

  • Author(s): Abramson, Paul R
  • et al.

I summarize and evaluate published critiques in English and French of Inglehart’s value change thesis, which he first advanced in 1971. I discuss them in the order in which they were published. Where Inglehart or Inglehart and his colleagues reply to a critique, the response follows my summary. Where authors have published more than one critique, I begin with their first and follow it through to their last. I summarize forty-eight critiques, beginning with Ike (1973) and Rokeach (1973) and ending with Lee (2007). I summarize eighteen responses by Inglehart and by Inglehart and his colleagues, beginning with Inglehart (1982) and ending with Inglehart and Abramson (1999). Much of my discussion focuses on two scholars who raise a series of critiques over several years, Flanagan (1979 through 2003) and Clarke (1991 through 2000). I briefly demonstrate that generational replacement was a driving force contributing to the trend toward Postmaterialism.

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