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Worldviews or Social Groups as the Source of Moral Value Attitudes: Implications for the Culture Wars Thesis

Abstract

Individual moral value attitudes are typically explained by reference to social experiences as indicated by social group variables. Contrary to this view, the emergent “culture wars” perspective claims that two worldviews that transcend social groups are ultimately and fundamentally responsible for moral value attitudes. Although this relationship has been claimed for the general population, it has not been investigated with national representative data. This paper contrasts the worldview and social group explanations by examining the relative importance of the worldviews implicated in the culture wars literature and the social groups found to be important in previous research. I find social groups to be more important than worldviews, but that worldviews also have explanatory power. I conclude with a discussion about possible clarifications of the “culture wars” thesis.

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Evans, J.H. Worldviews or Social Groups as the Source of Moral Value Attitudes: Implications for the Culture Wars Thesis. Sociological Forum 12, 371–404 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024625210910

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  • social group
  • worldview
  • attitude
  • culture war