Modernization and the Change of Developmental Idealism Beliefs in China: 1995-2007

Bin Lian, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The relationships between social change and family patterns have been a central interest to social scientists for many decades. Modernization theories argue that industrialization and economic development will change people’s attitude on family patterns. If that is correct, we expect to see an expansion of Chinese people’s beliefs in individualism and gender equality in their family lives, for China has the most rapidly increasing economy in recent decades. This paper studies changes in Chinese people’s perceptions of family lives from 1995 to 2007 using China’s part of World Value Survey. I find that although there are changes on people’s attitudes on family and work, they are neither constant through these twelve years nor correlated with the expansion of education and mass media. It seems that mechanisms predicted by modernization theorists are working in more complex ways in China, where they are affected by traditional Chinese family values and communist legacies.

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Presented in Poster Session 3