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BOGDAN VOICU and MĂLINA VOICU
(Editors)

The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006


A sociological perspective

INSTITUTUL EUROPEAN
2008
Table of contents

Bogdan Voicu, Mălina Voicu


Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values / 11
Defining values / 11
Uses of the study of values / 13
Contemporary approaches to values and culture / 18
The structure of the current volume / 22
References / 26

Claudiu D. Tufiş
Comrades or citizens? Support for democracy and market
economy / 31
The simultaneity of transition to democracy and market economy / 31
A model for the analysis of support for democracy and market
economy / 34
Political culture / 34
Support for the political-economic system / 35
Diffuse support for democracy / 37
Predictors of diffuse support for democracy / 38
Diffuse support for market economy / 42
Predictors of diffuse support for market economy / 43
Results / 44
Conclusions / 55
References / 57

5
Mircea Comşa
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases / 63
The theoretic relevance of the left and right concepts / 63
How the left and right concepts are used / 67
What can be understood by left and right? / 74
Left or right? / 77
The relevance of self-placement on the left-right axis / 80
Social bases of self-placement 85
Partisan bases of self-placement 88
Attitudinal-axiological bases of self-placement 92
Ideological self-positioning: between party loyalty and values / 97
Conclusions / 104
Annexes / 107
Reference list / 111
Databases used / 114

Claudiu D. Tufiş
Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition / 115
Trust – theoretical aspects / 117
Trust and risk / 117
Trust and social capital / 119
Institutional trust and interpersonal trust / 120
Trust and uncertainty / 120
Trust – analysis model / 123
Dependent variables / 123
Socio-economic characteristics / 124
Values / 124
Social position / 125
Psychological factors / 126
Evaluations / 126
Treatment of missing data / 127
Results / 128
Conclusions / 139
References / 142

6 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Mălina Voicu
Religiosity and religious revival during the transition period in
Romania / 144
Determinants of religious diversity in Eastern Europe / 145
The strategy for analysis and the employed indicators / 150
Religiosity and religious revival in post-communist Romania / 154
Religious revival: economic decrease or religious diversity? / 160
Conclusions / 165
Annex / 167
References / 168

Raluca Popescu
Family values in Romania and in Europe / 170
The family between change and stability / 171
Changes at a demographic level / 171
Changes in family lifestyles / 172
The importance of the family / 173
The place the family occupies in the individual’s life/ 173
The importance of marriage: is marriage an outdated
institution? / 177
The importance of marriage: tolerance for different aspects
regarding marriage and sexuality / 178
Alternative lifestyles: single mothers / 182
Alternative lifestyles: consensual couples / 183
Roles and statuses in the family / 185
Satisfaction with the family life / 187
European patterns of family value orientations / 188
Conclusions / 191
References / 192

Paula A. Tufiş
Social status and child-rearing values / 193
The role of child-rearing values in social reproduction / 197
Socio-demographic characteristics and parental values / 198

7
Mechanisms mediating the relationship between social status and parental
values / 200
Data and methodology / 205
Model and sample / 205
The measurement of parental values / 207
Determinants of parental values / 209
Results / 211
Conclusions / 220
Appendix / 223
The comparability of results between urban and rural areas / 223
Additional results / 224
References / 228

Horaţiu Rusu
Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian
young people / 232
Theories on collective identities or “How can we establish that a certain
bird is a duck?” / 233
The axiological dimension of identity / 237
Indicators and methodology / 239
What kind of value identifications can we find from young people? / 241
Young people’s values identification: which way? / 245
Conclusions/ 250
Annex / 252
Part A – The used indexes in cluster and ANOVA analysis and
in their way of construction / 252
Part B – The items in the Schwartz scale / 256
References / 257

Bogdan Voicu
Between tradition and postmodernity? a dynamic of value
orientations in Romania: 1993-2005 / 261
On modernization and post-modernization / 263
Attitudes towards environment protection / 268
Between tolerance and normativism / 269
Work ethos 272

8 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Religiosity / 274
Traditional order or autonomy? / 275
Democracy of authoritarianism? / 279
Family, marriage and gender relations / 280
Post-materialism – at the end of the tunnel? / 283
Romania 2005: (still) at the beginning of modernity / 284
A few technical considerations / 284
A map of Europe / 284
Romania 2005: differences between groups / 292
Conclusion. The fifth transition: from communism to
postmodernity? / 297
Annex / 301
References / 305
Appendix: List of Romanian political parties & map of the
regions / 309
Romanian political parties / 309
The Map of Romania and the location of the main regions referred in the
text / 310

9
Introduction.
Romania and the comparative study of values1
BOGDAN VOICU, MĂLINA VOICU

This volume discuses the situation of the Romanian society after more
than fifteen years of major social changes. We are interested in social values, as
determinants and products of the economic and social organization and also
constitutive elements of the social development mix. We place our discussion in
a comparative perspective, often making comparisons to other European
countries. Also, we are interested in the dynamics and the way values have
changed in this entire post communist period.
Before starting to discuss about Romania and Romanians’ values, there
are some issues that need clarification: what values are, what they are good for,
what is the importance of studying these values, who and how studies values in
the contemporary sociology. These are the topics that we address in the current
introduction. The order in which we have listed them gives the order of the
following sections. In the end of this introductory chapter, we discuss the
structure of the volume and the data we use.

Defining values
Talking about values was and will always be a very difficult task
because of the different connotations that are given to the term in various
scientific domains, connotations further propagated into common language. The
most frequent meaning is the one coming from the humanities. In esthetics,
philosophy and literature, the term tends to have a normative meaning. Values
become criteria that people and collectivities use in order to make the

1
We thank Dumitru Sandu for reading very attentively an earlier version of this chapter
and making very useful comments.
11
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

distinction between good and evil, between beautiful and ugly or between
desirable and undesirable (Ester and others, 1994).
After the first half of the 20th century, a still vivid debate in the social
sciences reflected the tendency of western countries to renounce normativism in
favor of accepting diversity. Without acquiring the consensus in what concerns
the way they manifest themselves, in our days, sociology, psychology,
anthropology place values at the level of the individual, but still as a main factor
in the nature of our society. They are not those clear guidelines that establish an
absolute good or an absolute beauty anymore. For psychologists, values
represent anchors that allow individuals to become oriented in the surrounding
world, acting as decoding systems of the bonuses of the potential directions of
action, benefits deriving from everyone’s scale of preference, from personal
aspirations or needs2. In turn, sociology defines values as inner to the
individual, but with an important social determinant, as expressed and at the
same time induced by norms, habits or ideologies3. In the field of sociology as
in the one of psychology too, values act like an engine in everyday choices,
helping in tiding up the individual’s priorities and personal life.
At individual level, they are consistently structured in value systems,
(Rockeach, 1973), values from a specific domain (for instance, religion, family,
social relations, work etc.) being determined and also determining the values of
all the other domains. Kluckhohn (1951:411) talks not only about values, but
also about values orientations, more generally speaking, acting as organized and
generalized conceptions, influencing behavior, regarding nature, the human
place and role, the relations with other people, what is desirable or undesirable,
no matter if these last ones are related to environment or to inter-human
relations.
Values cannot be directly observed. No one can precisely describe
which the values of somebody else are. They behave as latent realities, inner to
individuals, but with an important social determinant. Human collectivities
develop common sets of values that insure social cohesion and the possibility of
living together in the same environment, but also allow value orientations
specific of some subgroups and even of individuals who nevertheless adhere to
common values.
The inclusion of values in values systems and the pronounced social
determinacy lead to their stability. Values do not change from day to day; they
need a long time to restructure, every change practically affecting all the other
spheres of one’s life. This leads to the fact that, in studying value dynamics,
long time intervals are needed (5-10 years) so that the possible fluctuations
become visible.

2
See van Deth and Scarbrough (1994:22).
3
Deth and Scarbrough (1994:22), Parsons (1964), Voicu and Voicu (2002) and so on.
12 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

Uses of the study of values


During the 20th century, several paradigms dominated the discourse
about change and development4. The oldest one asserts the determinant role of
the economy and of the production relations for all the other components of the
social system. Progress is mainly dictated by the changes in the economic
system, by the political organization, relations and social values with dynamics
dictated by the dynamics of economy. Max Weber’s works would emphasize
another factor, namely culture, with the modern rationality as the spark of
progress. Finally, the paradigm of factor complementariness is the one that
becomes salient in contemporary literature. Built on older or newer papers, from
Parsons to Inglehart and Giddens, such an approach discusses the
complementarily of the dynamics of economy, culture and political
organization, human capital and so on in generating development.
The current volume deals mainly with culture. Like values, the term is
poly-semantic, being used mainly with three meanings that overlap5 to a large
extent. Human sciences had the chronological anteriority. Philology and
philosophy defined through culture only the noblest ideas and manifestations of
human beings, mostly the artistic ones, which would lead to the highest
sublimation of life and beauty. Herder would start a true revolution in
knowledge, noticing that anyone, any group has a culture. In fact, it was a type
of denormativization. Beauty was not absolute beauty anymore, being
relativized in a way that was meant to rule the intellectual debate of the 20th
century, becoming dominant at its end. In this context, culture was redefined as
a way of living and thinking. Contemporary sociology uses culture with this
meaning, mainly discussing rules and institutions as ways in which values and
values orientations manifest6, as reflection of the patterns of thinking specific to
each community. Anthropology and history add some perceptible and visible
material elements, products of a non-material culture, understood in the two
denotations already mentioned. These elements of culture are the rituals and the
objects produced by human communities or societies. Material culture plays the
role of symbols in which ideas, values, rules organizing the non-material
culture, mirror.
Values and also culture, in their sociological meaning, are constitutive
elements of the social development mix. Their study facilitates the knowledge
of the evolution of society, of its dynamics, of the potential current needs that
the human collectivities might manifest. Some examples allow us to better
describe this contribution.

4
See Voicu, 2001.
5
See Berger, 1995.
6
Hofstede (2001), Schwartz (2003, 1994a), Inglehart (1997) and others explicitly
define values as the central element of culture.
13
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 1. The Cultural Map of the World, according to Inglehart typology

Data source: EVS/WVS 1999-2001. The positioning of every country on the two axes
must be interpreted in a relative way (for example: Sweden is more modern than the
USA, but not necessarily completely modernized). The two displayed dimensions are
the full factor scores described by Inglehart (1997), not their reduced version used by
Inglehart-Welzel (2005).
We will start with the cultural map of the world (Inglehart, Welzel,
2005). The literature discussing about social change has been dominated for
many decades by the analysis of two major processes: modernization and
postmodernization. Modernization can be schematically reduced to the
preference for rationalization and planning to the detriment of tradition as a
generation element of the majority of everyday decisions. Likewise, the
reductionist perspective of cultural postmodernization can be represented by a
striking orientation for self expression, for the satisfaction of superior needs.
The type of analysis proposed by Inglehart (1993, 1997) presumes taking into
account the two dimensions built as aggregates7 of the values in the following
domains: work, family, relations between sexes, social relations, politics,
environment protection, religion and so on. Based on data provided by the

7
Factor scores.
14 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

European Values Survey and World Values Survey (see the following section),
such an approach allows structuring a cultural map of the world (figure 1). This
facilitates the comparative analysis of the contemporary human societies. For
example, Romania’s position is somewhere at the periphery of the ex-
communist countries group, being more traditional and less oriented towards
superior needs. Besides, the differences between the East and the West and
between the North and the South can be easily recognized on the map. The
American exceptionalism is also visible: The US, where modernization
developed differently from Europe in what concerns, for example,
secularization (Lipset, 1996; Baker, 2005; Inglehart and Welzel, 2005), display
a much more traditional society than Western European countries and even
some ex-communist countries. Except for this outlier, the cultural map of the
world roughly overlaps the map of development, no matter if the development
is measured through the human development index or through its components,
such as GDP/capita, life expectancy, or level of education.
A second example is connected with the evolution of the ideas of the
political parties’ supporters. For a long time, the left-right distinction has been a
common place in social sciences and also in common language. Placement on
this continuum defines, in a reductionist way, the parties’ and electors’ opinion
on most political problems. Figure 2 considers the sympathizers of the main
Romanian political parties and shows the dynamics of their self-positioning on
the left-right scale between 1996 and 20038. Several major tendencies can be
noticed: at the beginning, on average, the groups of voters of all the major
parties seem to go toward the center. In the second half of the 90s, the cross-
party differentiations become more and more visible. The voters of PSD (former
FDSN, PDSR and so on) represent the group that heads towards the left and
strengthen its position in this area. At the opposite, PNL voters gravitate
towards the right, occupying alone this area, after PNŢ-CD stops attracting
supporters. PRM voters oscillate around the middle value on the scale (5.5),
reflecting the concern of the sympathized party for combining nationalist,
xenophobic discourse, specific to the extreme right with the communist sort of
demagogy, specific to the extreme left.

8
For details related to the main Romanian parties, please check the appendix at the end
of the current volume. This book also includes an excellent chapter written by Mircea
Comşa which focuses on the self-positioning on the left-right scale. In this introduction
we do not go into so much detail like the mentioned analysis, but we offer an example
about the way values structure the domain of political choices.
15
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 2. The evolution of self identification with the political left or right of the
main Romanian political parties’ electors between 1993 and 2006

July 1993 PRM/


PUNR FDSN PNL PNŢ-CD

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
FSN UDMR

Nov. 1997 PRM/


PDSR PUNR PD PNL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
UDMR PNŢ-CD

Nov. 1999
PD PNL
UDMR PDSR

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PRM/ PNŢ-CD
PUNR

Nov. 2005
PSD PRM UDMR PNL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PD

Oct. 2006
PSD PRM PNG UDMR PNL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PD

May 2007 UDMR PNL


PSD PRM

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
PNG PD

LEFT RIGHT

Sources: EVS&WVS Romania, the waves in July, 1993, November, 1999, November,
2005, respectively the survey Values ’97 realized by the University of Bucharest
(coordinator Dumitru Sandu) in November, 1997 and the November 2006 wave of the
Public Opinion Barometer of the Foundation for an Open Society (BOP-FSD). The
scores represented graphically are the averages for every party’s electors, of the answers
given to the question: Related to politics, people talk about “left” and “right”.
Generally speaking, where would you place yourself on the below scale? 1 – “left”…
10 – “right”. The electors are the ones who claimed that they would vote with the
respective party in case of organizing elections right in the following weekend. Among
PNL electors, we counted all the liberal parties’ electors (PNL–AT, PL, PL’93, NPL,
PAC, PNL–CD, PNL–C, UFD and so on depending on the reference year). For 1993,
1997 and 1999, PRM and PUNR electors were considered part of the same group.

16 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

The three groups represent the constants of these dynamics. At the


opposite, UDMR and PD voters are the ones that change the way they define
themselves depending on the context. UDMR electors head towards the left or
right in their self identifications, anticipating the changes of the alliances made
by the governing party that holds the office all the way since 1996. The
cooperation with PNL and PNT-CD is marked by positioning rather to the right.
However, this modifies during the second part of the 90s. Electors head towards
the left, their position in 1999 announcing the government alliance’s potential
after 2000 (PSD-UDMR). The presence in the government after 2004, together
with the PNL and PD also marks a new movement to the right.

Figure 3. The dynamics of values orientations towards the maximal or minimal state
for the supporters of several Romanian political parties between 1993 and 2006.

The
10 state
should take more
responsibility to ensure that
everyone is provided for
9

PSD
6 PRM
PSD PRM
UDMR
5
PD
UDMR
4 PNL
PD
PNL

3
1993 1997 1999 2005 2006

Individuals should take more


responsibility for providing for
1
themselves

Sources: EVS&WVS Romania, the waves in July, 1993, November, 1999, November,
2005, respectively the survey Values ’97 realized by the University of Bucharest
(coordinator Dumitru Sandu) in November, 1997 and the November 2006 wave of the
Public Opinion Barometer of the Foundation for an Open Society (BOP-FSD).
The scores represented graphically are averages, every party’s electors, of the answers
given to the question: Which of the two remarks written on the vertical axis is more
representative for the one who answers? The answers can be granted a number from 1
to 10. The electors are the ones who claimed that they would vote with the respective
party in case of organizing elections right in the following weekend. Among PNL
electors, we took into consideration all the liberal parties’ electors (PNL – AT, PL,
PL’93, NPL, PAC, PNL – CD, PNL – C, UFD and so on, depending on the reference
year). For 1993, 1997 and 1999, PRM and PUNR electors were considered part of the
same group.

17
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

In the case of the PD, the party’s identity oscillations are accompanied
by similar oscillations in the way electors define themselves. Initially placed
rather to the left side of the political spectrum, they advance gradually to the
right, with a recoil lately manifested and probably given by the separation
attempt from the PNL and also by the tendency of the sympathizers’ rising
number and – implicitly – of their diversification.
Finally, but not accidentally, PNG voters have an average of self
identification with the left or the right that does not significantly differ from the
one of the PRM electors.
PSD electors assume the extreme left position, with a more accentuated
involvement of the state in the social life than in the case of other parties. At the
counter pole, there is the PNL, whose electors assume rather a liberal position,
allowing the individual to be more responsible for his/her own wellbeing.
In the early ‘90s, there was a general tendency of decreasing the
orientation towards the maximal state. An increasing number of people claimed
that individuals should be more responsible for their own welfare, while the
state should reduce the scope of its intervention. However, such a position was
threatened at its turn in the following years, and the change modified again its
direction by inverting it. From this point of view Romania could be
characterized as being in the process of modernization9.
On the other hand, orientation changes in case of the voters of the
parties are also accompanied by changes of the socio-demographic structure of
these electorates. This is the case of the PD and PRM, parties for which the
value differences are the result of the actual change in the voters’ body.

Contemporary approaches to values and culture


Currently, the comparative analysis of the social values in different
societies is highly influenced by a few major streams. In the following, we do
not intend to be exhaustive, but to present the basic principles underlying the
analysis of some of the groups active in the study of values, in a world in which
this kind of enterprise suffered a real boom10.
The most important stream is the one clustered around the European
Values Survey and World Values Survey (EVS/WVS). The EVS program was
initiated in the late 70s with the main intention of investigating the religious

9
Traditionally, the state has a reduced role in providing welfare, because people,
families and communities take care of it. Modern state, in its European version, tended
to become “a wellbeing state”, with slight variations resulting from its liberal, socio-
democratical, conservatory or Mediteranean character, where the state assumed a very
important role in social services promotion and redistribution.
10
For a relevant discussion about the increasing number of value studies and on the
increasing impact of studying values in various fields, see Ester, Braun, Mohler, (2006).
18 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

values in Euro-Atlantic area. In this process, the opinions of some


representative samples for the countries in Western Europe, the USA and
Canada11 were investigated through the first wave of the survey (1981). Other
waves of the values surveys were realized in 1990-1993, 1995-1997, 1999-
2002, 2005-2007, including more and more societies. Notably for this book,
Romanian national representative samples were investigated in each wave
starting with the 1990-1993 one. Rather personal than methodological
motivations led to the settlement of two different teams, one of EVS and the
other of WVS. The EVS rule consists of repeating the surveys once every 9
years and keeping part of the questionnaire unchanged for allowing the
longitudinal analysis. The WVS differs from the EVS through the fact that it
proceeds data collecting every 5 years. The main part of the questionnaire is
common and the waves 1990-1993, respectively 1999-2002 are almost
identical. Until now, the 1999-2002 wave is the most comprehensive, covering
81 societies and including samples which stand 95 per cent of the Earth’s
population.
The value surveys, as the EVS and WVS are known, use the same type
of starting assumptions, originating in modernization and postmodernization
theories. Individual level variations in the spheres of family, religion, work,
politics, social relations, environment protection, equality, redistribution and so
on are usually interpreted through variations resulting from the modernization
process, or late modernization process, anticipating postmodernism. The
empirical defining of the two value axes usually follows the analysis proposed
by Inglehart (1990, 1997).
Inglehart (1991, 1990, 1997) builds his conceptual explanation starting
with two main hypotheses: the scarcity hypothesis argues that individuals’
priorities are determined by the socio-economical environment in which they
develop and that individual scales of preferences tend to give priority to the
things that are rare. These ones can satisfy the basic needs (in poor societies) or
superior needs (in communities defined by abundance). The connection to
Maslow (1954) and his hierarchical pyramid of needs is obvious. The second
hypothesis, the socialization one, claims that individuals’ values and the way
they organize their preferences depend on the socio-economical conditions in
their primary socialization stage. The individuals who experienced an
abundance of goods in their pre-grown up stage, will tend to express rather
superior needs, their values orienting them towards satisfying such needs.
Hence, there is a tendency to express superior, postmaterialistic needs when
economic and scientific progress occur and makes basic needs meet. The paired
relation is valid, too: modern and postmodern values adoption emancipates
individuals, eliminating some of the constraints that institutionally or morally

11
For detailed description of EVS/WVS, see Halman (2001), Inglehart and others
(2004), Voicu and Voicu (2002), Arts and others (2003) and so on.
19
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

lock liberty. Modernity involves the secularization of authority, while


postmodernization leads to authority emancipation (Inglehart, Welzel, 2005: 25-
26). Creativity, innovation capacity, inventiveness are released and this leads to
technical progress and increases of productivity.
Inglehart’s empirical analyses of social values bases on factor analyses
using the EVS/WVS data sets. The cultural space is empirically described as
having two dimensions. The first axis opposes traditionalism to a secular-
rational way of relating to the world. The second one, opposes survival values,
the ones of the orientation towards satisfying basic needs and insuring order,
and self-expressing, self achievement values, orientations to superior needs.
Hagenaars and his colleagues from the group located at Tilburg University
propose a similar approach (Hagenaars et al., 2003), but they label the two
resulting dimensions as normative-religious, and respectively, as autonomy -
social-liberalism. These two factors are analogous to the Inglehart’s ones.
EVS and WVS continue to be the most famous and cited international
comparative research projects. An internet search using the key words
“European Values Survey” provides 14.900 more links. Searching for “World
Values Survey” adds 126.000 other links12. At the same time, other comparative
research projects hit lower scores: ”European Social Survey” – 86.300;
International Social Survey Program – 26.800.
The second most important group in the study of values is the one
developed around the works of the social psychologist Shalom Schwarz.
Conceptually, he talks about values and culture, looking for those values
universally acknowledged. Following Rokeach (1973), his initial works
(Schwartz, 1994) discuss 10 basic values, structured on two axes: openness to
change versus conservatorism and egocentrism (hedonism, strength, self
achievement) versus universalism, benevolence, (transcendental) interest
towards the others13.
Later on, Schwartz (2004) re-groups again the 10 basic values in seven
important dimensions defined as higher-order or cultural-level values:
egalitarianism (equality and social justice), intellectual autonomy (curiosity and
broadmindedness), affective autonomy (hedonism, search of quality of life),
mastery (controlling the social and natural environment; involves ambition and
daring), hierarchy preference (and authority), embeddedness (strict social order,
obedience and respect for traditions), harmony (world peace, communion with
nature and so on). Revising these seven dimensions, the polarities induced by
modernization and postmodernization processes can be observed. In fact,
Schwartz identifies three polar axes: autonomy versus society dependency,
egalitarianism versus preference for hierarchy and domination versus harmony.

12
The internet search was realized on the 12th of January, 2006, using Google.
13
Self-enhancement versus self-transcending.
20 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

The empirical work on various convenience samples, including mainly


students and teachers, from different cultures and nations, allowed Schartz and
his followers to validate the proposed model as universal. The lack of empirical
validation on larger samples made Schwartz theory difficult to test and develop.
This was also complicated by the oscillations in defining the dimensions of the
cultural space. Recently, the 2002 wave of the ESS and the 2005-2007 wave of
the WVS included a set of items permitting social values measuring and testing
Schwartz’s theory on larger samples (Ramos, 2006; Petterson, 2006).
These ones, like the presence of the scale in a survey realized on a
representative sample in Spain (2004), permitted some analyses14 which discuss
the possible convergence or complementariness between the two dimensions 15
proposed by Inglehart (1990, 1997) and the two (three) dimensions proposed by
Schwartz. Unfortunately, there was very little communication between the two
groups of cross-cultural study of values. (Vinken and others, 2004).
Inglehart’s analyses are realized especially at the level of the entire
world samples of different WVS waves. With few exceptions, his theory was
not subject to empirical testing in the case of specific individual societies. In
exchange, Spini (2003) realizes a confirmatory analysis on data coming from
Schwartz’s samples of students and teaching staff and he verifies the structural
consistency of the explanatory model for almost each of the considered
societies.
Another influential group of theories is the one initiated by Hofstede
(1980, 2001). Hofstede’s theory about values is derived rather empirically and
is developed through the systematical study of IBM employees in numerous
societies16. For Hofstede, culture is universally defined through five value
orientations. The first one is the power distance, the inequality defined bottom-
up, referring to the individuals’ in an inferior position acceptance of inequality
as a matter of course. The second dimension is given by individualism or
autonomy, as opposed to collectivism or integration in extended, usually closed,
social networks. Masculinity refers to the principle in accordance to which men
are more likely than women to be in decision-making positions. Uncertainty
avoidance, the forth value dimension resides in the orientation towards usual
things and the avoidance of what is new. Finally, long-term time orientation is
defined through thrift, planning, perseverance, as opposed to the prevalence of
respect for tradition, social duties accomplishment, “protecting the social
image”.
Hofstede’s studies, realized mainly inside a multi-national corporation,
are important particularly because they show that, in globalizing environment
conditions, the values of the employees depend on the culture of the collectivity

14
Petterson, 2004, 2006.
15
Traditional – secular and survival values – self expression values.
16
Hofstede (2001) relates about 70 investigated societies.
21
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

where they live. For Hofstede, this dependency is not a local one, but it
represents an evidence for the influence of the “national” culture over the value
orientations of the individuals.
All these above-described approaches try to reduce the complex space
of values, trying to theoretically and/or empirically build a reduced number of
dimensions, more easily to analyze and interpret. The difficulties that such
attempt encounters are, undoubtedly, remarkable, especially in what concerns
values measurement, whose latent character is one of the few points of
methodological consensus (Jagodinski, 2004).
Apart from “dimensionalists”, there are some other groups approaching
the problem of values cross-culturally. Such a group is the one which studies
“cultural traumas” as sources of social change, marking some communities’
cultural identity for long-term periods, if not even permanently (Smelser &
Alexander, eds., 1999; Sztompka, 2000; Alexander et al., 2004). Another group
is the one built around the discussion about diversity of modernity, different
from a culture to another (see Sachsenmaier, Riedel, Eisenstadt, eds., 2002).
These streams focus for the moment on theoretical construction of their
explanations, generally avoiding to empirically validate their assumptions at the
individual level.
In social sciences literature written in Romania, all these streams from
the study of social values have had rather a minor impact so far. Early ‘90s did
not bring almost any global systematic approach of cultural modernity or values
dynamics. During the last years, a few writings on this topic have been
published, some of them (Roth, 2002; Chiribucă, 2004; Vlăsceanu, 2001) taking
over and presenting modernization and postmodernization theories, others
(Sandu, 1996; Voicu, 1999, 2001, 2005; Vlăsceanu, 2007) drawing out personal
syntheses and more elaborate explanatory frameworks. They had already been
anticipated by punctual empirical analyses, promoted mainly by Dumitru Sandu
(1999, 2003) and also by the team working on the study of values in Romania
(see the appendix). It is interesting to remark that all these analyses use, as a
theoretical basis, only the modernization and postmodernization theories17.

The structure of the current volume


The present volume does not intend to build a theory of values or to
develop one of the existing theories. What we intend to do is to use the
knowledge we already have through the different currents that mark the
contemporary study of values and to describe a part of contemporary Romania,

17
The only Romanian article that we know, presenting some other types of dimensional
approaches belongs to us (Frunză, Voicu, 1996). In the respective paper, we mention
Schwartz’s and Triandis’ approaches rather vaguely. Also, Voicu (2005) uses the
arguments in the theory of cultural trauma, as they appear at Sztompka.
22 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

the way it is today and the way it developed through the communist period. We
are interested in changes at the level of social values in the spheres of family,
voting behavior, religion or attitude towards democracy and so on.
Each of the materials included in the volume is conceived as an analysis
focusing on the case of Romania. However, the general principle that guides our
approach is to refer, whenever it is necessary, a larger context, namely the
European framework. We do not discuss the impact of values in all its possible
facets, in all imaginable domains. It would be practically impossible to achieve
such a goal. What we do is to characterize the dynamics of the social values in
Romania between 1993 and 2006 in few domains connected to our research
interests. A first grouping includes three articles dedicated to value orientations
towards the element of social organization of the public space. Claudiu Tufiş
opens the volume with a study dedicated to the orientations towards democracy.
Mircea Comşa discusses in detail an element of the political behavior in a study
that provides – for the first time in Romania – an empirical and conceptual
material dedicated to electors’ self positioning on the left-right scale. Then,
Claudiu Tufiş devotes a chapter to confidence in institutions.
A second set of articles begins with Mălina Voicu’s analysis over
religiosity in Romania, seen from a comparative perspective. This marks the
passage to value orientations which manifest particularly in sphere of private
relations. Raluca Popescu discusses the social values inside the family, also
referring briefly to gender relations problems. Paula Tufiş brings to foreground
parents’ value orientations in what concerns children’s socialization, another
domain practically unexplored up to the moment in Romanian literature.
At the end of the volume, Horaţiu Rusu tries to describe the way in
which our days teen-agers differ from teen-ager generations in 1999 and in the
early ’90s. A more global perspective over values evolution closes the volume.
Bogdan Voicu comes up with an aggregate analysis over Romania’s position
and dynamics, from a cultural modernity point of view, in comparison to the
rest of the European countries.
In our studies we use several data sets, paying the most attention to the
EVS/WVS Romanian waves. The first data are from 1993, because, in the 1990
wave of the EVS/WVS, Romania collected data two years later than the rest of
the Europeans. The survey was conducted by the the Research Institute for the
Quality of Life, under Ioan Mărginean’s coordination, while Marian Preda
assured the coordination of the network of field operators.
In the 1995-1997 wave of the WVS, because of some communication
deficiencies, Romania is practically absent. A mixed team from the University
in Bucharest and the Research Institute for Quality of Life under Dumitru
Sandu’s18 coordination received a CNCSIS (National University Research

18
Mălina Voicu was also part of the team. She was the coordinator of the data
collecting process and she also participated in designing the questionnaire together with
23
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Council) grant, collecting data in November 1997 according to a very different


questionnaire from the WVS questionnaire; as a consequence, the data base has
never been integrated with the others. In 1998, the Independent Center for
Social Studies, coordinated by Pavel Câmpeanu, also collected some data
according to the WVS questionnaire. However, since the quality of the
respective data is very difficult to control (Sandu, 2003:42), in the current
volume we preferred not to use that wave of the WVS.
In November 1999, a team from the Research Institute for the Quality
of Life, coordinated by Cătălin Zamfir, Mălina Voicu and Lucian Pop19 led the
data collecting, and the subsequent analysis of the Romanian version of the
1999-2002 wave of the EVS. A failed attempt of put together a volume in which
all the results would be presented, eventually materialized through a series of
articles that appeared in the 2001 and 2002 issues of the Romanian Sociology
journal.
The Romanian team for the study of values, developed mainly inside
the Research Institute for Quality of Life, acquires consistency and a sort of
stability during 1999-2005. The group’s website20 certifies the members’
activity. Since 2005, Mălina Voicu has been a member of the Executive Board
of the EVS.
In 2005, data for WVS 2005-2007 are collected, with Bogdan Voicu
and Mălina Voicu as Romania’s principal investigators. The Research Institute
for the Quality of Life (RIQL) assured an institutional support, but the data
collecting process was realized with the institutional, logistic and financial aid
coming of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) through the program provided
by the Public Opinion Barometer (BOP), coordinated by Ovidiu Voicu and
assisted by Mihaela Ştefănescu. The Romanian team, including the authors of
the current volume, would discuss and finalize the questionnaire variant applied
together with BOP members and OSF representatives21. Thus, it resulted in the
inclusion of the Romanian variant of the WVS 2005-2007 in BOP-FSD wave
from November, 2005, in the first data collecting of this type realized without
external financing. The OSF contribution was determinant from a financial
point of view, but particularly due to the members of the board of the BOP-FSD
and of the coordinator of the program, Mr. Ovidiu Voicu, all of them being
active in the critical analysis and the polishing of the Romanian version of the

Dumitru Sandu, Lucian Pop and Mihai Surdu. Among the authors of the current
volume, Paula Tufiş and Bogdan Voicu collaborated during the different stages of the
data collecting process.
19
Bogdan Voicu, Paula Tufiş, Claudiu Tufiş, Cosmina Rughiniş, Ruxandra Noica,
Elena Gheorghiu and Monica Şerban were also part of the team.
20
http://www.iccv.ro/romana/teme/EVS/evs.htm.
21
Dumitru Sandu, Gabriel Bădescu, Manuela Stănculescu, Cosima Rughiniş, Ovidiu
Voicu, Mihaela Ştefănescu.
24 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values

WVS 2005 questionnaire. The Gallup Organization Romania was the data
collecting agency for the respective 2005 wave.
A new wave of European Values Survey is scheduled to take place in
2008. The team, hosted by RIQL and led by Mălina Voicu, includes all the
authors of this volume, to which adds Marian Vasile. Data collection is
scheduled for April-May 2008, and the results will start to be presented to the
public in the autumn of 2008.
The series of the data sets resulting from the value surveys allows the
analysis of the dynamics of the Romanian values. It also provides an empirical
support for the comparison to the rest of the European countries22. This is the
main data source for the papers collected in this book.
A few other sources complete the empirical material of the current
volume: the complete series of the Public Opinion Barometer of the Foundation
for an Open Society (BOP-OSF), data bases of the Research Institute for the
Quality of Life, etc.
The present volume does more than just exploiting these numerous
empirical resources. At the beginning, each one of the chapters tries to make an
incursion in the scientific information already existing in that field of expertise.
The main concepts and explanatory theories structuring the perspective that we
adopted are presented. At least from two points of view – ideological self
positioning and values of children’s socializing – the theoretical information
touched upon in the volume is new in the Romanian literature. In their turn, the
rest of the chapters offer interesting syntheses too for the analyzed domains.
The conceptual framework that we provided serves to the elaboration of
some hypotheses that are tested empirically through various statistic procedures.
In the entire volume, we tried to avoid technical language and to offer intuitive
explanations to the readers who are not familiar with the different statistic
procedures that we used and, also, to maintain the text at a reasonable standard.
Most of the commentaries referring to analysis procedure that we used are
usually included in footnotes and they appear properly in the body text only in
the short sections, where the discussion is rather methodological. Even on these
occasions, technical explanations are rather succinct. Still, the authors are very
open to offer details and any comment is welcome.
There are several colleagues that supported us in our current project. To
a large extent, the volume is due to the contribution of all those who helped at
data collecting in the previous waves of values surveys, either the ones we
already mentioned – coordinators, members of the research team, or field

22
Waves 1990-1993 and 1999-2001 are more useful in this respect because they cover
the majority of the European Countries. The wave in 2005-2007 had not finished the
data collecting process when we were writing this article and that is why data were
available only for Romania, Italy, Poland, France, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Great
Britain, Germany, Holland, Andorra and Russia.
25
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

operators. We thank them all. Special regards are directed to the people
involved in the program for the Public Opinion Barometer of the Foundation for
an Open Society, the one that contributed to the financing of the WVS 2005
data collecting. The Research Institute for the Quality of Life was the proper
environment for developing a group to study social values and the help coming
from its management board (Cătălin Zamfir and Ioan Mărginean) was very
important from this point of view.
Finally, two CNCSIS grants (AT-102/2006 and ID-56/2007),
coordinated by Bogdan Voicu and including all the authors of the current
volume as team members, supported writing, translating and publishing the
volume.
This English edition of the book reproduces the Romanian version
(published in 2007). The initial English translation was done by the authors for
chapters 1, 3, 4 and 7. Irina Nicula initially translated the rest of the book, with
the authors substantially reviewing the translation. Dean Hufstetler further
reviewed the entire book, contributed to this version with the final language
proofing, and with several valuable suggetsions.
As compared to the Romanian edition, we have added an appendix
including a map of Romania, with its main regions, as well as a description of
the Romanian political parties. Both the regions and the political parties are
often referred to in the book, and the short presentation from the Appendix may
be useful for the non-Romanian readers.

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26 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values
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27
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
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Volumul I. Schimbarea socială şi acţiunile indivizilor, Iaşi: Expert Projects.
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în Cătălin Zamfir (coordonator), Politici sociale în România: 1990-1998,
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internaţională, Calitatea Vieţii no. 1-4/2002.

Appendix. A selection of products of the group of studying


the social values in Romania
Mălina Voicu (1999) - „Între cratiţă şi parlament – legitimitatea politicilor de suport
pentru femei în România”, in Revista de Cercetări Sociale, no. 3-4/1999
Bogdan Voicu (1999) - „Modernitatea între tradiţie şi postmodernism”, in Revista de
Cercetări Sociale, no. 3-4/1999

28 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Introduction. Romania and the comparative study of values
Mălina Voicu (2000) - "Atitudinea fata de impozite in Romania", in Sociologie
Romaneasca, new series, no. 3-4/2000
Bogdan Voicu (2001) - „România pseudo-modernă”, în Sociologie Românească,no. 1-
4/2001, p. 36-59.
Mălina Voicu (2001) - „Modernitate religioasă în societatea românească”, in Sociologie
Românească,no. 1-4/2001, p. 70-96
Mălina Voicu, cu Bogdan Voicu. 2002. Gender values dynamics. Towards a common
European pattern?, Romanian Journal of Sociology, XIII (2002), 1-2, p. 42-63.
Mălina Voicu, Bogdan Voicu – „Studiul valorilor europene: un proiect de cercetare
internaţională”, Calitatea Vieţii, no. 1-4/2002.
Paula Tufiş (2002) - Structură socială şi etnicitate, Sociologie Românească, 2001, 1-4,
p. 97-123.
Cosima Rughiniş (2003) - Valori europene în relaţiile intime. Studiu comparativ,
Sociologie Românească, 2002, 1-2, 38-75.
Mălina Voicu, Bogdan Voicu (2003) – „Studiul valorilor europene: un proiect de
cercetare internaţională”, Calitatea Vieţii no. 1-4/2002
Mălina Voicu (2003) – „Egalitate, inegalitate şi roluri tradiţionale. O analiză
comparativă a valorilor implicate în legitimarea politicilor de suport pentru
femei în ţările europene”, Calitatea Vieţii no. 1-4/2002.
Mălina Voicu, Bogdan Voicu (2003) - „Volunteering in România: a rara avis” , in Paul
Dekker şi Loek Halman (editori) – „The Values of Volunteering. Cross-
Cultural Perspectives”, Kluwer Publishers, 2003, 143-160.
Bogdan Voicu , Mălina Voicu (2003) – “Volunteering in CEE: one of the missing
links?”, presented at the round-table Globalization, Integration, and Social
Development in Central and Eastern Europe, University “Lucian Blaga” of
Sibiu, 6-8 September 2003
Gabriel Bădescu (2003) - Încredere şi democraţie în ţările în tranziţie, Sociologie
Românească, 2003, I, 1-2, 109-128
Mălina Voicu, Bogdan Voicu. 2004. Promoting volunteering in Eastern Europe,
European Conference and Exchange Forum about Volunteering, 7-9
November, Maastricht.
Mălina Voicu. 2004. Women Work and Family Life: Value Patterns and Policy Making,
în Will Arts şi Loek Halman (editori) – European Values at the turn of the
Millenium, Brill Book, Leiden
Mălina Voicu. 2004. How secular is Romania?, presented at the Annual Conference of
the International Study of Religion in Eastern and Central Europe
Association ( ISORECEA), organized by the Catholic University Pázmány
Péter , Budapest, December, 2004
Bogdan Voicu. 2005. Social capital: bonding or bridging Europe?, in Horaţiu Rusu,
Bogdan Voicu eds. 2005. EU Integration Process from EAST to EAST: Civil
Society and Ethnic Minorities in a Changing World, Sibiu: Psihomedia: in
print.
Mălina Voicu. 2005. Religiousness and gender across Europe. in Horaţiu Rusu, Bogdan
Voicu eds. EU Integration Process from EAST to EAST: Civil Society and
Ethnic Minorities in a Changing World, Sibiu: Psihomedia: in print.
Bogdan Voicu, Tanya Basina. 2005. Social capital and civic participation in Ukraine
and Romania, presentation at EU Integration Process from EAST to EAST:

29
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Civil Society and Ethnic Minorities in a Changing World. Roundtable for
young social scientist, Lejpaia, 10-13 June, 2005.
Bogdan Voicu. 2005a. Penuria Pseudo-Modernă a Postcomunismului Românesc.
Volumul I. Schimbarea socială şi acţiunile indivizilor, Iaşi: Expert Projects.
Bogdan Voicu. 2005b. Penuria Pseudo-Modernă a Postcomunismului Românesc.
Volumul II. Resursele, Iaşi: Expert Projects.

30 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?
Support for democracy and market economy

CLAUDIU D. TUFIŞ

The fall of communism represented a defining moment for the


Romanian society. Although repeating this statement ad nauseam has
transformed it into a veritable cliché, this does not make it any less true. The
1989 anti-communist revolutions represent “a major cultural and civilizational
break […] the slow emergence of the new postcommunist culture and
civilization” (Sztompka, 1996: 120). The year 1989 marked, thus, the beginning
of a complex transition, of a radical social change. If the transitions to
democracy in the Latin American countries, those that indicated the start of the
third democratization wave (Huntington, 1993), required only political reforms,
in the case of the postcommunist countries transition required not only political
but also economic and social reforms. All three types of reforms are necessary,
because democracy has survived only in countries with a market economy and it
has never survived in countries with other types of economic systems (Dahl,
1998: 166). Vitányi showed that if the required political changes can be
implemented in only a few years, the economic changes are much more
complicated, while the cultural ones require even more time (Vitányi, 1999:
187-188).

The simultaneity of transition


to democracy and market economy
This dilemma of simultaneity is characteristic to postcommunist
transitions. With the exception of Germany and Japan, where democracy and
market economy have been implemented by an external actor after the Second
World War (Crawford, 1995: 3), democracy and market economy have never

31
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

been introduced at the same time in any other country (Schopflin 1994; Hall
1995; Offe 1997; Pickel and Wiesenthal 1997). Given the record of previous
attempts to simultaneously switch to democracy and market economy, scholars
have been rather skeptical about the success of the postcommunist transitions:
“many scholars have identified the economic decline that accompanies
economic restructuring as the essential dilemma of the dual transition, arguing
that if the well-being of the majority of a population is substantially harmed by
reforms, popular support for democracy will erode” (Kullberg and Zimmerman,
1999: 326). Similar arguments could also be found in Przeworski (1991),
Diamond (1992), Haggard and Kaufman (1995), Nelson (1995), Gati (1996), or
Mărginean (1999). These warnings were extremely important, if we take into
account the fact that, according to the literature, “if democracy and capitalism
are to take root in the former communist states, it is necessary not only to create
the institutions and processes intrinsic to those systems, but also to foster
popular attitudes that are accepting and supporting of them” (Mason and
Kluegel, 2000: 11). The citizens’ support is not only necessary for the good
functioning of the new systems; it is necessary for the existence of the
democratic systems (Easton 1965; Miller 1974; Norris 1999).
This is, in fact, one of the key ideas in the literature: democratic
consolidation is not possible in a society that does not accept democracy’s
ideals. The stability of a democracy depends on the degree of consistency
between the basic principles of the political system and the political values of
the citizens (Almond and Verba 1963; Dahl 1989; di Palma 1990; Diamond
1993; Sørensen 1993; White, Gill and Slider 1993; Hahn 1995). This argument
is not without its critics. Barry (1970: 48-52) argued that a country can become
a stable democracy even if it lacks, initially, a sufficiently large number of
people with democratic values, because democracies educate their citizens with
such values. Przeworski (1991) completely eliminates citizens from the
democratization process, arguing that all democracy needs in order to survive is
a self-enforcing equilibrium (although many times this equilibrium is not a real
democracy).
How people react when faced with major social changes is perhaps one
of the most important elements during the transition: “the people are the
ultimate movers of reforms” (Sztompka, 1996a: 127) and, at the same time, they
are “the main obstacle to reform” (Przeworski, 1993: 185). In addition to this
attitudinal congruence, the behavior of the citizens also has an important role in
the process of democratic consolidation (Bunce, 2003: 170). Democracy
requires the active involvement of its citizens (Dalton and Wattenberg 2000;
Norris 2002).
Democracy needs democratic citizens. During the last days of 1989,
twenty-two million comrades witnessed the fall of the communist system under
which they lived for more than forty years. Fifteen years later, in 2004, twenty-
two million citizens voted for their fifth time, choosing their third

32 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

postcommunist president. It seems we got used to playing the democratic game.


But are we playing it because we like it or because we are forced to play it? Did
we manage to transform from communist comrades to democratic citizens?
To answer this question one needs to understand what a democratic
citizen is. What I understand by this is a person that is attached to the idea of a
democratic political system and who considers that, despite all its problems,
democracy is a governing system that is better than all others that have been
tried (the Churchill hypothesis). This is, however, a minimal definition, to
which other attributes can be added (trust, participation, tolerance) to define
different types of democratic citizens.
In the Romanian case there seems to be an additional dimension that is
relevant for this definition: attitudes toward planned economy and market
economy. The importance of this dimension can be explained by the influence
of two factors. First, at the public level, there is a clear correspondence between
communism and planned economy, and between democracy and market
economy. Second, external pressures have defined democracy and market
economy as the two sides of the same coin, suggesting that a country cannot
have a democracy without a market economy. International financial institutions
(especially the International Monetary Fund) have always conditioned their
assistance on the implementation of specific economic and financial reforms.
The majority of these reforms originated from what has come to be known as
“the Washington consensus” (for more details see Williamson 1990, 2000).
Under these conditions, the simultaneous implementation of both a new
political system and a new economic system requires analyzing people’s
attitudes toward both systems (Centeno 1994; Simai 1999a).
Rose presents a similar argument, considering that since it is difficult
finding a democracy without a market economy one cannot talk about a
consolidated democracy unless the public accepts the values of both systems
(Rose 1992). Previous studies show that democracy and market economy are
not always simultaneously accepted, because economic and political reforms are
interpreted differently by the public (see, for instance, McIntosh et al, 1994:
507). This is even more important, given that it is generally accepted in the
literature that economic reforms add a series of constraints to the
democratization process. Przeworski (1991) offers a detailed analysis of the
negative effects of the transition to market economy on democratization1.

1
See, also, Diamond (1992), Haggard and Kaufman (1995), Nelson (1995), or Gati
(1996) for similar discussions.
33
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

A model for the analysis of support


for democracy and market economy
Following the discussion presented above, I analyze in this chapter the
attitudes of the Romanians toward democracy and market economy. The main
question I address is: to what extent do Romanians accept, more than fifteen
years after the fall of communism, the basic principles of democracy and market
economy? Although often we do not hesitate to blame the politicians for all the
problems we faced throughout the transition (and we are usually right when
making these accusations), we rarely stop to think that maybe part of the blame
belongs to us. Are we, Romanians, truly democratic citizens, are we tolerant,
are we willing to behave democratically, or, rephrasing, do we have a
democratic political culture?

Political culture
Talking about political culture change from a culturalist perspective is
somewhat problematic, this approach being often criticized for its difficulties in
explaining change. Eckstein (1988) acknowledged that the postulates of
culturalism (oriented action, orientational variability, cultural socialization, and
cumulative socialization) do indeed lead to an expectation of continuity but, at
the same time, he argued that this is not an unsolvable problem and presented a
general culturalist theory of change. His theory deals with both gradual (normal,
every-day) and drastic (social discontinuity) changes. Eckstein suggests that, in
the case of drastic changes, “cognitions that make experience intelligible and
normative dispositions (affect, evaluative schemes) must be learned again, and
learned cumulatively […] changes in political cultures that occur in response to
social discontinuity should initially exhibit considerable formlessness”
(Eckstein, 1988: 796)2.
Starting from Merton’s (1957: 141-157) types of individual adaptation
– ritualism, innovation, retreatism, rebellion, and conformism – Eckstein
presents the following as a set of strategies available for dealing with drastic
changes: ritual conformity (characterized by an individual’s rejection of the
cultural goals and acceptance of the norms), self-serving conformity (the new
goals are accepted but the norms are not), retreatism (both goals and norms are
rejected), and intransigent resistance to authority (the goals and norms are not
only rejected, they are replaced). These strategies lead, eventually, to new
cultural models and themes.
Swidler proposed a similar theory, built around the concept of strategy
of action, defined as patterns of organizing action, allowing the achievement of
different life goals. In a departure from the traditional view of culture, Swidler

2
Similar arguments can be found in Lipset (1960) and Huntington (1968).
34 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

argued that strategies of action are more stable than goals, the result of this
being that during unsettled lives people might prefer goals for which they
already have a strategy of action (Swidler, 1986: 277). This view may be
helpful in explaining, for instance, why some groups accept the ideals of a
market economy, while others reject them or accept them only after significant
delays (needed for updating their strategies of action).
These two theories suggest that changes in political culture are possible
and they complement each other to indicate a likely scenario for this change.
The fall of the communist regime led to new goals (democracy and market
economy) and new functioning rules for the society, and these need to be
accepted by the citizens. The adaptation from the old goals and norms to the
new ones is a long-time process, characterized by competition among different
ideologies. During this process, people can use any of the strategies discussed
by Eckstein.
Given the duality of the postcommunist transition, it is possible that
different combinations of strategies will be used, depending on the relative
importance of different goals and norms for the citizens. It should be noted that
some combinations have a higher probability of being used than others. For
instance, conformism with respect to both democracy and market economy is
likely to be a very common combination. Partial adaptation, especially through
conformism with respect to democracy and ritualism with respect to market
economy can also be a common combination, characteristic to those that are
afraid of the negative effects of the transition to market economy. A third
frequent combination is defined by ritualism with respect to both democracy
and market economy, characterizing those who are not convinced by the goals
of the new ideology but that are following its norms. Over time it is expected
that only some of the combinations will function and that those that fail will be
abandoned. It is also expected that more and more people will adopt the ideal
combination for the success of the transition: conformism with respect to both
democracy and market economy.

Support for the political-economic system


Using WVS/EVS 2005 data, I analyze in this chapter Romanians’
attitudes toward democracy and market economy, trying to discover if the
transition to conformism discussed above can be observed in Romania.
Attitudes toward democracy and market economy can be interpreted, using
Easton’s (1965, 1975) theory, as a form of diffuse support for the principles that
create the new political and economic system in Romania3. These attitudes
represent, in fact, a form of unconditional support: diffuse support is defined as

3
For a detailed discussion of the political regime as an object of support, see Easton
(1965: 190-211).
35
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

“evaluations of what an object is or represents […] not of what it does” (Easton,


1975: 444) or as “a reservoir of favorable attitudes” (Easton, 1965: 273).
Easton’s model includes three objects of support (political community,
political regime, and authorities) and two types of support (diffuse and specific).
In contrast to specific support, the diffuse type is more durable, it is generated
through both socialization and direct experience, and it is expressed through the
belief in the legitimacy of political objects4. At the intersection of the two
dimensions there are different types of support, that become more and more
important for the stability of the political system, from specific to diffuse
support and from support for authorities to support for the political community.
A country’s chances of having a stable democracy are significantly influenced
by the degree of diffuse support for democratic values, goals, and norms among
its population (Dahl, 1996: 3). Similarly, Merkel (1996) considers attitudinal
consolidation (defined as specific and diffuse support) as an important
component for democratic consolidation, next to structural and representative
consolidation.
Morlino and Montero (1995) modified this model and showed that
diffuse support is mainly determined by the perceived efficacy of democratic
practices, considering that in the context of countries in transition the lack of
other alternatives can increase diffuse support. Przeworski extended this idea:
“what matters for the stability of any regime is not the legitimacy of this
particular system of domination, but the presence or absence of preferable
alternatives” (Przeworski, 1986: 51). This type of support, determined by the
lack of alternatives, is defined by Valenzuela (1992) as “inverse legitimation”.
It should be noted, however, that this type of legitimation is more fragile than
the one determined by the belief in the regime’s qualities.
The application of this concept in the Romanian case suggests that
democracy benefited right from the start of the transition from a plus of
legitimation, generated by the consensus over the type of political system that
had to be implemented. Although communism or nationalism could be
interpreted as possible alternatives, democracy, as an ideology, became the
preferred solution relatively easy. Discussing the chances of communism
surviving in the former communist countries, Dalton was asking: “After all,
what does a communist say after attending communism’s funeral?” (Dalton,
1994: 481).
In the case of market economy, the public debates regarding Romania’s
future economic system have continued for a long time, generating a certain
uncertainty among the population and blocking the appearance of an initial
reservoir of attitudes favorable to market economy. Countless opinions have
been formulated during these debates, covering a vast ideological space, from

4
Easton (1965: 267-340) and Easton (1975: 444-453) offer a detailed discussion of
diffuse support.
36 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

those considering that the state economy could survive the fall of communism
to those that were arguing for gradual economic reforms and to those proposing
a “shock” reform as the only solution to Romania’s economic problems.

Diffuse support for democracy


Linde and Ekman (2002) and Canache, Mondak, and Seligson (2001)
discuss in detail different ways to measure support for democracy. I use in this
chapter two variables that refer to support for democracy as a political system:
how good is it for Romania having a democratic political system and how
important is it for the respondent living in a democratically-governed country.
These two variables are significantly correlated (r = 0.307) and can be grouped
in an additive index of diffuse support for democracy that I use as dependent
variable in the models presented in this chapter. These variables are also used in
Maravall (1997), Plasser, Ulram and Waldrauch (1998), Fuchs, Guidorossi and
Svensson (1999), Klingeman (1999), and Hofferbert and Klingeman (2001).
Given that attitudes toward democracy can be influenced by social
pressure, in addition to the dependent variable discussed above I also present
results for three additional dimensions that can clarify to what degree the
support indicated by the dependent variable is real or only declarative. The first
dimension measures attitudes toward alternatives to democracy: an authoritarian
regime, a military regime, or a technocratic regime. The correlations among
these three variables vary between 0.200 and 0.289, and a factor analysis
solution groups them into a separate factor from the variables included in the
dependent variable. These variables are used in a similar manner in Hahn
(1991), Gibson, Duch and Tedin (1992), McIntosh et al (1994), Gibson (1996b),
Miller, Hesli and Reisinger (1997), Miller, White and Heywood (1998), Plasser,
Ulram and Waldrauch (1998) and Voicu (2005).
The second dimension represents tolerance toward population sub-
groups that differ from the majority group: people belonging to other races, of
other ethnicities, with other religions, with different sexual preferences, gypsies,
immigrants, cohabitating couples, and people suffering from AIDS. The
analysis of this dimension is required by the fact that tolerance is identified as
one of the defining characteristics of a democratic political culture.
The third dimension includes characteristics that Romanians consider to
be important for democracy: governments should tax the rich and help the poor,
religious leaders should interpret the laws, free elections, having unemployment
benefits, the army should rule when the government is incompetent, civil rights
should protect people’s freedom, prosper economy, harsh sentences for
criminals, people should be able to change laws through referenda, and women
should have the same rights as men.

37
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Predictors of diffuse support for democracy


Although a large proportion of the Romanian population is
characterized by high levels of diffuse support for democracy, there are also
people that are indifferent, or even opposed, to democracy. What are the factors
that affect diffuse support for democracy? During periods of significant social
changes, people characterized by modernism have a more positive attitude
toward the new regime than people characterized by traditionalism5. The
interpretation of society’s modern groups as the most pro-democratic groups is
consistent with Swidler’s argument that strategies of action are more important
than goals, leading to the possibility that people will prefer those goals they can
achieve using the strategies of action they have. These strategies of action
depend on characteristics that allow an easier adaptation to change (age,
education, residential area). People belonging to this group are also more
interested and more active in political life.
Thus, a first group of variables that can affect support for democracy is
composed by respondents’ socio-economic characteristics: gender, age,
education, income, ethnicity, religion, and the size of the locality of residence.
Gender is used as a control variable because, although women are usually more
traditional than men, I do not believe there are significant differences between
the two groups. Previous studies showed either that men support democracy
more than women (Finifter and Mickiewicz 1992; Gibson, Duch and Tedin
1992; McIntosh et al 1994; or Miller, Hesli and Reisinger 1994) or that there are
no significant differences (Dalton 1994; Gibson 1996b; or Mishler and Rose
2002). The only significant differences have been found in studies that used
data from the beginning of the transition in Russia. The variable is coded 0 for
females and 1 for males.
Age can be interpreted as an indicator for different socialization
experiences. A person reaching adulthood during Romania’s period of
industrialization and economic development (between the 1950s and the 1970s)
will have different attitudes toward democracy and communism compared to a
person who reached adulthood during the last years of the communist regime.
Age can also have another type of influence: young people have more resources
to successfully adapt to the new regime, while older people have only limited
resources. Even more, attitudinal change becomes more and more difficult as a
person gets older. I expect, then, age to have a weak negative effect on diffuse
support for democracy. Gibson (1996), Bahry (1997), and Jacobs, Müller and
Pickel (2003) have also found significant negative effects in similar studies.
Education is probably the variable with the strongest effect in this
group. It is agreed in the literature that people with a high level of education

5
Bogdan Voicu writes about traditionalism, modernism, and postmodernism in the
Romanian society in his chapter in this volume.
38 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

have smaller chances of being negatively affected by the transition, are more
modern, and have more resources to adapt to the new system, all these
suggesting that the level of support for democracy increases with education.
Hahn (1991), Finifter and Mickiewicz (1992), Gibson, Duch, and Tedin (1992),
and Bahry (1997) showed that education has significant positive effects on
support for democracy. The education variable has five categories: four grades
or less, five – eight grades, nine – eleven grades, high school or post-high
school, and university or post-university.
The next variables in the group are used as control variables. Income is
measured as deciles of income per capita. Ethnicity is coded 1 for Romanians
and 0 for other ethnicity. Religion is coded 1 for Christian-Orthodox and 0 for
other religions. The last variable in the group is the size of the locality of
residence, measured through six categories: village, commune center, small
city, medium city, large city, and very large city. This variable also
distinguishes between rural and urban areas. Rural areas are characterized by
traditionalism, low education, high poverty, and an aged population, all factors
that create an environment that is hostile to change and that suggest that people
living in rural areas support democracy less.
The second group of variables I use in the model measures respondents’
activities in the political life: interest in politics, NGO membership, and protest
activities. All variables in this group should have significant positive effects on
diffuse support for democracy because they indicate to what degree respondents
use standard methods of expressing their opinions in a democratic regime.
Interest in politics can be interpreted as “an indicator of citizens’
cognitive involvement in the political process” (Plasser, Ulram, and Waldrauch,
1998: 130). It also seems to be related to attitude formation and to political
participation (van Deth 1990; Niedermayer 1990; Maravall 1997). From a
theoretical perspective, “it is a central tenet of classical democratic theory that,
if popular sovereignty is to have meaning, citizens should be informed about the
issues confronting society and should care about their resolution. […] some
minimal levels of interest, knowledge and participation would appear to be
essential” (Hahn, 1991: 415). This view is consistent with Almond and Verba’s
(1963) understanding of the different types of political culture. I measure
interest in politics using an additive score composed of two variables: interest in
politics and the importance of politics in the respondent’s life. The correlation
between the two components is 0.526. The variable ranges between 0 and 6.
The two variables included in this index are standard measures that have also
been used in previous studies (see Gabriel and van Deth 1995; Plasser, Ulram
and Waldrauch 1998; Mishler and Rose 2001; or Martin 2003).
In developed democracies citizens have at their disposal a series of
points of access to the political system, through which they can express their
wishes or their discontent: voting, party membership, NGO membership, lobby
activities, protest activities, etc. Although most of these points of access also

39
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

exist in Romania, they do not function with the same efficiency. As I have
shown in the chapter on trust in this volume, political parties are the institutions
Romanians trust least. Even more, most of the parties are highly centralized,
most of the decisions being made by the party leadership without taking into
account the opinions of the regular party members. Romania also does not have
a lobbying law, paving thus the way toward semi-legal forms of lobbying. The
election turnout, which decreased significantly between 1990 and 2004, is,
probably, the most widespread political activity among the general population,
but the fact that a person votes every four years does not say very much about
its political activism.
Membership in NGOs is one of the best indicators of participation to
the social life. Given that in Romania membership in NGOs is lower than in
developed democracies, it can be said that the Romanian civil society is
underdeveloped (Carothers 1996; Verdery 1996; Rupnik 1997; Tismăneanu
1998). Even more, it can also be characterized as being dominated by elites. It
should be noted that several important political figures have entered the political
arena coming from the civil society. Some of the most significant examples
include Emil Constantinescu (founding member of the Civic Alliance who
became president), Victor Ciorbea (former trade union leader who became
prime minister), Miron Mitrea (former trade union leader who became
minister), and Monica Macovei (former president of the Romanian Helsinki
Committee who became minister). Regular citizens seem to have more
difficulties in organizing into groups meant to protect and promote their own
interests. Howard (2002), analyzing civil society in former East Germany and
Russia, suggests that postcommunist citizens refuse to become active members
of civil society because of their experiences during the communist regime, when
voluntary participation in different organizations was mandatory. Based on the
previous discussion, I consider NGO membership as a strong indicator of a
person’s activism. The variable that I use is coded 0 for people that do not
belong to any voluntary organization and 1 for people that are members (active
or inactive) in any of the following organizations: religious or church
organizations, sport or recreation, education, art or music, trade unions, political
parties, environmental organizations, professional associations, charitable
organizations, consumer organizations, or other.
The third variable in this group is represented by protest activities,
coded 0 for people that never took part in a protest action, and 1 for a person
that participated in at least one of the following types of protest: signing a
petition, boycotting, or participating in demonstrations. The fact that a person
has been active in protest activities shows that the person decided to express its
dissatisfaction using one of the few means at his/her disposal. I consider such a
person to be much more attached to democracy, compared to an individual that
is just as dissatisfied, but considers the expression of its lack of satisfaction to
be a useless act. If the first person considers they have a chance to solve their

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Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

problems by their actions, the second one has a more cynical view on
democracy.
The next set includes three variables that indicate respondents’ general
value orientations: preference for left or right6, preference for liberty or
equality, and position on the materialism – postmaterialism dimension.
The variable of self-identification with left or right is used as a control
variable. Theoretically, there are no arguments to sustain that supporters of the
left are more pro-democratic than supporters of the right or the opposite. On the
other hand, it is possible that both extreme left and extreme right supporters are
less attached to democracy, but both extremes are rarely visible in the
Romanian society.
Preference for liberty or equality is coded 0 for those that prefer
equality and 1 for those that consider liberty as being more important. This
variable indicates different value profiles and should have a significant effect on
diffuse support for democracy, with those preferring liberty being more oriented
toward democracy.
A respondent’s postmaterialism level should also influence support for
democracy. The materialism – postmaterialism index is composed of 12 items,
using the standard method, and it ranges between 0 (the respondent did not
choose any of the postmaterialism values) and 6 (the respondent selected all six
postmaterialist values). For more details on this index, see Inglehart (1971,
1977, 1981, 1990) and Inglehart and Abramson (1999). Although people
characterized by postmaterialism may be dissatisfied with the functioning of
democracy and may want some aspects of the political system to change, the
goal of their demands is improving democracy, postmaterialists being more
attached to democratic values than materialists.
Returning to Easton’s model, it should be noted that diffuse support for
democracy is the most stable form of support. Yet, Easton shows that diffuse
support can be influenced by specific support (which is determined by
evaluations of the performance of the political system). Starting from this idea,
the fourth group of variables in the analysis model includes a series of variables
testing the significance of these relationships. The first variable in this group is
an index of trust in the state’s institutions7. This index measures specific (or
generalized, according to some scholars) support for the structure of the
political system and should have a significant positive effect on diffuse support
for democracy. The second variable in this group is satisfaction with the way
democracy functions in Romania. This variable, which measures specific
support for the actions of the political system and is determined by how people
evaluate the functioning of democracy, should have a significant positive effect.

6
See Mircea Comşa’s chapter in this volume for the analysis of the left-right dimension
in the Romanian society.
7
For details on this variable see my chapter on trust in this volume.
41
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

The third variable is an index of satisfaction with the cabinet’s activity in


different areas: standard of living, public order, jobs, agriculture, privatization,
health, education, housing, industry, and environmental protection. The more
satisfied with the cabinet’s actions a person is the more reasons for this person
to have favorable attitudes toward democracy.
Although Easton refers in his model only to the political system, in the
Romanian case, as I argued above, the political system cannot be separated from
the economic system. It is thus possible for diffuse support for democracy to be
influenced by both diffuse and specific support for market economy. I discuss
these variables in the following section, devoted to support for market economy.
The last variable I use in the model starts from Anderson and
Tverdova’s (2001) observation that support for democracy is significantly
influenced by how the respondent voted in the last elections: those who voted
for the governing party (or parties) support democracy more than those who
voted for the parties that lost the elections. Although the WVS questionnaire
does not have an item referring to the vote during the last elections, respondents
are asked who they would vote for if elections were held next Sunday. I recoded
this variable so that 1 corresponds to those who would vote for one of the
governing parties and 0 corresponds to those who would vote for an opposition
party.

Diffuse support for market economy


The transition to market economy represents the second dimension of
the postcommunist transition in Romania. In measuring diffuse support for
market economy I take into account four variables that show the respondents’
acceptance of basic principles of the capitalist economic system: competition,
private property, income differentiation, and responsibility for personal welfare.
I recoded the variables so that the minimum value (1) on each scale represents
acceptance of a value opposed to market economy (competition is a bad thing,
state property should extend, income differences should be reduced, and the
state should be responsible for individual welfare), and the maximum value (10)
indicates acceptance of values characteristic to market economy (competition is
good, private property should extend, income differences should increase, and
individuals should be responsible for their own welfare). These variables have
also been used in previous studies: Finifter and Mickiewicz (1992), Duch
(1993), McIntosh et al (1994), Miller, Hesli and Reisinger (1994), Gibson
(1996b), Firebaugh and Sandu (1998), and Hofferbert and Klingemann (1999).
The more a person accepts market economy values, the more attached to the
ideals of this economic system the person is.
Factor analysis shows that the four variables are grouped not in one, but
in two factors (the correlation between the two factors is 0.173). The first factor
(41.27% of the variation) groups attitudes toward income differentiation and
responsibility for personal welfare, suggesting it captures an orientation towards

42 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

a social-democratic model of market economy or towards some form of


protection against the inequalities produced by a pure market economy. The
second factor (28.37% of the variation) groups attitudes towards competition
and private property, being, thus, a factor of orientation towards the classical
(liberal) model of market economy. Starting from the solution offered by the
factor analysis, I use the two indices (built as additive scores) as dependent
variables in the models of diffuse support for market economy. I will use the
same set of independent variables for both dependent variables, letting the
results show the differences between the two components.

Predictors of diffuse support for market economy


Just like in the previous model, the first group of variables in this model
is composed of respondents’ socio-economic characteristics. Gender is a control
variable, although it is possible that women are less attached to the ideals of
market economy if we consider that gender inequality on the job market
increased during the transition. Such a negative effect was found in McIntosh et
al (1994), Miller, Hesli, and Reisinger (1994), and Gibson (1996b).
Age is one of the variables that create a significant distinction between
the winners and the losers of the transition. The changes in economic structure
required adaptation through re-specialization, something that gets more and
more difficult as a person gets older. Financially, retired persons lost more
during the transition compared to employed people. Even more, although
official statistics do not indicate unemployment as an important problem for
older people, this happened only because the unemployment rate for this age
group has been artificially reduced by decreasing the minimum retiring age.
Thus, older persons moved from the active to the inactive group, evading
unemployment. All these suggest that losses during the transition are associated
with age. McIntosh et al (1994), Gibson (1996b) and Firebaugh and Sandu
(1998) report age as having a negative effect on support for market economy.
Previous studies have usually shown a positive relationship between
education and attitudes toward market economy8. This relationship can be
explained by the fact that education offers people the necessary tools to
successfully adapt to changes in the economic structure. I expect education to
have a significant positive effect on diffuse support for market economy.
Income will also have a positive effect: to fully enjoy the advantages of a
market economy a certain level of income is necessary. Those who do not reach
this level have all the motives to be unhappy about market economy.
The size of the locality of residence should have a significant positive
effect on support for market economy. The bigger the locality, the more
opportunities of finding a good job. Even more, most of the foreign investments

8
See, for instance, Duch (1993), McIntosh et al (1994), Firebaugh and Sandu (1998), or
Gibson (1996: 968).
43
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

were directed toward large and very large cities, leading to their rapid economic
development, while smaller cities and the rural areas had to survive only with
the economy they inherited from the communist regime.
Respondents’ values are represented by the second set of variables,
which includes preferences for left or right and preferences for liberty or
equality. Those that feel closer to the left should have more support for the
social-democratic model of market economy, while followers of the right
should be more attracted to the liberal model of market economy. With respect
to preferences for liberty or equality, I expect this variable to have an effect
only on the social-democratic model (with those preferring equality supporting
more this model), but not on the liberal model of market economy.
Evaluations of the current personal, local, or national economic
situation and optimism or pessimism about the future personal economic
situation can have a significant effect on diffuse support for market economy.
The more satisfied a person is with the current situation and the more optimistic
about his/her future situation, the more attached to the values of market
economy this person should be. The variables included in this group correspond
to the theories developed in the literature to explain voting decisions: the
pocketbook theory (prospective and retrospective) and the sociotropic theory
(see Fiorina 1981, Kiewiet 1983, Lewis-Beck 1988, and MacKuen, Erikson and
Stimson 1992).
The last group of variables used in this mode attempts to capture the
effects of other types of support on diffuse support for market economy. This
group includes: trust in the state’s institutions (as an indicator of specific
support for the structure of the political system), satisfaction with the
functioning of market economy in Romania (as indicator of specific support for
market economy), and satisfaction with the cabinet’s actions in different areas.
The last two variables should have the strongest effects on diffuse support for
market economy.
Starting with the next section I present the results of statistical analyses
for three models: diffuse support for democracy, diffuse support for market
economy (the social-democratic type) and diffuse support for market economy
(the liberal model). In addition to these models I also present some results
related to tolerance for minority groups and to the way Romanians define
democracy.

Results
In analyzing the data for this chapter I used the Norm software (Schafer
2000). Thus, for those respondents who did not answer all questions I estimated
their answers based on the principles described in the chapter on trust included
in this volume.

44 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

Figure 1 presents the evolution of attitudes toward democracy and its


alternatives between 1999 and 2005 (the variables were not included in the 1993
and 1997 surveys). The data show that diffuse support for democracy has
significantly increased during this period. Almost 95% of the Romanians
consider (in 2005) that having a democratic political system is good for
Romania, compared to only 75% in 1999. The second indicator of diffuse
support is not presented in this figure, because it is available only for 2005.
When asked to rate from 1 to 10 the importance of living in a country that is
governed democratically, 95% of the respondents give a passing grade (at least
5) and almost half give the highest grade (10). The mean of this variable is 8.5.
These two variables show that, 16 years after the fall of the communist regime,
Romanians are extremely attached to the idea of living in a democracy (see,
also, Mărginean, Precupeţu, and Precupeţu, 2001: 23).

Figure 1. Diffuse support for democracy (% of population with positive attitudes


towards democracy)

100
Democracy (%
pro)

Military regime
(% con)
75
Technocratic
regime (% con)

Authoritarian
regime (% con)

50

25

0
1999 2005

Data source: WVS 1999 and WVS 2005.

There can be, however, significant differences between what people are
saying and what they are really thinking or doing. Is it true that almost all of the
Romanians are strongly democratic beings? Figure 1 also presents three
variables measuring attitudes toward three alternatives to a democratic regime: a
military regime, a technocratic regime (in which experts, and not the

45
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

government, take the important decisions for the country), and an authoritarian
regime (in which there is a strong leader who does not bother with elections and
the parliament). These variables are often used in the literature as indicators of
(anti-) democratic attitudes.
More than three quarters of the Romanians consider that a military
regime would not be good for Romania, a result that is consistent with the
previous variables. If we look at attitudes toward a technocratic or an
authoritarian regime, however, we obtain a completely different image, in
which the real support for democracy is lower than the declarative support (see
Voicu 2005): only a quarter of the respondents believe a technocratic regime
would be bad for the country, and only 22% have a negative opinion about an
authoritarian regime that does not have a parliament and elections. How can
these differences be interpreted?
A possible explanation could be that when respondents are asked about
their attitudes toward democracy they automatically offer the answer they
consider to be correct (or expected from them) as result of social pressure. The
differences could also be explained by the fact that the last two variables do not
measure only democratic attitudes; they capture other attitudes as well. In the
case of the variable on technocratic regime, a positive answer should be
interpreted as indicating a favorable attitude toward decisions made by experts
rather than a negative attitude toward decisions made by one of the key
institutions of a democratic regime. Similarly, a positive answer on the variable
referring to an authoritarian regime should not be interpreted as an anti-
democratic answer, but rather as an indicator of a poor opinion about the quality
of the Romanian parliament and elections. These two variables do not show
acceptance of non-democratic alternatives. They actually show preference for
an efficient governing act, with decisions that are made quickly, by people that
know what they are doing. They also indicate a negative vote given to
Romanian politicians, suggesting that Romanians see the MPs as wasting time
on useless debates rather than adopting necessary legislation and do not
consider the cabinet as being composed of experts. If one remembers cases such
as the fight to replace Adrian Năstase from the leadership of the House, then it
is easy to understand why Romanians prefer a strong leader that does not waste
time with the parliament. It should also be noted that, for three of the four
variables presented here, the percentage of people with democratic attitudes has
significantly increased between 1999 and 2005.
Tolerance is one of the most important attitudes for a democratic
regime. In the 2005 survey, respondents received a list of ten groups of people
and were asked to indicate those they would not like having as neighbors. I have
eliminated from this analysis two groups, because in their case intolerance can
be justified and does not represent an anti-democratic behavior: people that are
dependent on drugs (76% of Romanians would not like having them as

46 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

neighbors) and alcoholics (more than 68% of the Romanians would not like
such neighbors). The rest of the results are presented in Figure 2.
Less than 20% of the respondents have an intolerant attitude with respect to
five of the eight groups included in analysis: cohabitating couples, immigrants, and
people of other race, ethnicity, or religion. These results are consistent with those
presented above and create the image of a relatively tolerant population.

Figure 2. Intolerance to minority groups (% intolerants in population)

75

50

25

0
Homosexuals Gypsies AIDS Other race Immigrants Cohabitating Other Other
infected couples religion ethnicity

Data source: WVS 2005.


Unfortunately, Romanians do not manage to show the same level of
tolerance with respect to the other three groups: around 40% would not like
AIDS infected people as neighbors, percentage that increases to 50% in the case
of gypsies and to 60% in the case of homosexuals. If in the case of AIDS
infected people intolerance can be explained by the lack of education regarding
how this disease can be contacted, the reluctance to accept gypsies or
homosexuals as neighbors is a clear indicator of an anti-democratic attitude.
Intolerance toward gypsies is a classical example of racial discrimination, and it
can be explained by the almost daily promotion of negative stereotypes through
mass media. Intolerance toward homosexuals can be largely explained by the
fact that Romanians are, generally, a very religious people that consider such a
sexual preference at odds with their faith. Regardless of its causes, however,
intolerance is characteristic of a large proportion of the population.

47
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Additional information on Romanians’ democratic attitudes is presented


in Figure 3. For each of the ten characteristics, respondents have been asked to
rate the importance for democracy on a scale from 1 to 10. Only four of these
characteristics (free elections, equal rights for men and women, protection of
individual rights, and the possibility of changing laws through referenda) belong to
the classical definition of democracy and in all cases respondents have identified
them as such (three of these variables have a mean score higher than 9.25 and the
fourth has a mean score of 8.4). The results, however, suggest that Romanians
define democracy in a much wider sense than those studying democracy, including
in this definition aspects related to economy and maintaining order.

Figure 3. Characteristics essential for democracy (average score on a ten-point scale)

Data source: WVS 2005. The variables are measure on a scale from 1 (not essential for
democracy) to 10 (essential for democracy).

Surprisingly, Romanians consider having a prosperous economy as the


most important characteristic of a democracy (average score 9.46). The existence of
unemployment benefits is also seen as a very important characteristic of a
democracy (mean score 8.84). The third characteristic that belongs to the economic
domain (taxing the rich and helping the poor) has a lower average score (6.79),
being considered of only average importance for democracy. Although these results
show that democracy and market economy need to be analyzed together (as I
suggested above), they also demonstrate a certain level of confusion among the
public with respect to what democracy is. This conclusion is strengthened by the
large average score (9.32) obtained by another characteristic that, normally, is not
relevant at all for a democratic system: harsh sentences for criminals. Just like in the

48 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

case of support for an authoritarian or a technocratic regime, these results suggest


that people think of some of these characteristics as areas where the transition failed
to meet their expectations, rather than thinking of them as characteristics that are
essential to democracy.
The results presented so far show that Romanians declare a very high
level of support for democracy that increased over time. But this is happening in
a context in which a large proportion of the population defines democracy in a
peculiar way and does not hesitate to exhibit an intolerant (anti-democratic)
behavior towards some minority groups.

Table 1. Diffuse support for democracy


Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

Intercept 4.760 *** 4.647 *** 4.494 *** 4.040 *** 3.699 *** 3.719 ***

Male 0.154 ** 0.087 0.096 + 0.095 + 0.066 0.067

Age 0.010 0.016 0.018 0.020 0.026 0.027

Education 0.061 + 0.024 0.015 0.022 -0.005 -0.005

Deciles income per capita 0.063 *** 0.058 *** 0.054 *** 0.043 ** 0.028 * 0.027 *

Ethnicity: Romanian -0.018 -0.032 -0.051 -0.080 -0.076 -0.083

Religion: Orthodox 0.042 0.045 + 0.041 0.027 0.026 0.024

Urban 0.093 0.112 + 0.101 0.152 * 0.123 * 0.120 +

Interest in politics 0.047 * 0.045 * 0.018 0.009 0.010

NGO member 0.240 *** 0.233 *** 0.215 ** 0.173 * 0.175 *

Protest 0.304 *** 0.293 *** 0.323 *** 0.296 *** 0.293 ***

Ideological self-placement to right -0.004 -0.022 -0.027 -0.031

Prefers liberty to equality 0.205 ** 0.135 * 0.077 0.078

Postmaterialism 0.070 + 0.063 + 0.050 0.049

Trust in state’s institutions 0.023 ** 0.024 ** 0.024 **

Satisfaction with functioning of democracy 0.142 *** 0.136 *** 0.135 ***

Satisfaction with cabinet’s actions -0.010 -0.014 * -0.015 *

Support for market economy (liberal) 0.045 *** 0.045 ***

Support for market economy (social-democrat) 0.023 *** 0.023 ***

Satisfaction with market economy -0.024 -0.025

Vote for governing party 0.074


2
Adjusted R 5.0% 7.8% 8.9% 14.2% 17.5% 17.5%
2
R change 5.0% 2.9% 1.1% 5.3% 3.2% 0.1%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

49
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Table 1 presents the results of regression analyses explaining diffuse


support for democracy9. The final model (model 6) explains 17.5% of the
variation in diffuse support for democracy. Five of the six groups of
independent variables used in the model contribute to explaining some of the
variation in the dependent variable, the most important being the socio-
economic characteristics and other types of support for components of the
political system.
Among the groups of socio-economic variables, income is the only one
with a significant effect: the higher a person’s income, the higher its level of
diffuse support for democracy. The total effect of this variable, however, is
relatively small. Residence in urban areas also has a marginally significant
positive effect. The coefficients for this group of variables lead to a very
important conclusion: diffuse support for democracy does not depend on
respondents’ socio-economic characteristics. Men and women, young and old
people, people with low or high levels of education, all of them support
democracy to the same extent. If there were any differences in support that
could be explained by these variables, they have disappeared during the
transition.
The second set of variables in the model measures the effect of being
involved in the political life on support for democracy. Two of these variables
have significant positive effects: both membership in NGOs and previous
participation in different forms of protest increase diffuse support for
democracy. These results confirm the theories arguing that democracies need
active citizens to develop. Given that in Romania both types of behavior are
relatively rare, it is possible that support for democracy will increase to the
extent that people will become more involved in the political life. Most
probably this increase will be determined by increased participation to voluntary
activities (the Romanian transition has been characterized by low levels of
protest).
Although two of the variables measuring respondents’ values have
significant effects when they are introduced in the model (model 3), they lose
their significance in the final model, which includes all independent variables.
Preferences for left or right, preferences for liberty or equality, and the level of

9
I estimated the models in SPSS 14.0.2. using the OLS (Ordinary Least Squares)
regression. The starting model includes as independent variables only the socio-
economic characteristics of the respondents. For each group of variables I introduced in
analysis I estimated a new model. The coefficients in the table are unstandardized
regression coefficients (b). The last row in the table (R2 change) shows the increase in
the explanatory power of the current model compared to the previous model. The
coefficients on this row are a measure of the importance of different groups of variables
in explaining diffuse support for democracy. For instance, in Table 1, Model 2 differs
from Model 1 by the political activism variables. By adding these variables, compared
to Model 1, the explanatory power of Model 2 increased with 2.9%, from 5.0% to 7.8%.
50 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

postmaterialism do not distinguish among people with different levels of


support for democracy.
Diffuse support for democracy seems to be influenced by other forms of
support for the political system. Both trust in the state’s institutions (as indicator
of specific support for the structure of the political system) and satisfaction with
the way democracy works (as indicator of specific support for the actions of the
political system) significantly increase the level of diffuse support for
democracy. These results confirm Easton’s hypothesis that diffuse support can
be affected by specific support. The third variable in this group (satisfaction
with the cabinet’s actions in different areas) has a significant but negative effect
which is difficult to interpret because, theoretically, this coefficient should have
been positive. This negative coefficient could be partially explained if one
interprets satisfaction with the cabinet’s actions as an indicator of respondents’
critical attitudes. If this is true, then those who are critical with respect to the
actions of the cabinet should have higher levels of diffuse support for
democracy, an interpretation that corresponds to our image of democratic
citizens as well-informed, critical people that play the role of guardians of
democracy. It should be noted, however, that post hoc explanations are rarely
convincing.
The coefficients of the variables in the next group, diffuse and specific
support for market economy, show that people who support market economy
(either the liberal or the social-democratic type) are also more likely to support
democracy. This finding suggests that Romanians understand that democracy
cannot exist without market economy. It is interesting to note that satisfaction
with the functioning of the market economy does not have a significant effect
on support for democracy, indicating that Romanians are willing to support
democracy even if they may be dissatisfied with the current situation of the
economy. The last variable in the model, voting intention for a governing party,
does not have a significant effect, suggesting that people do not condition their
support for democracy on who is governing the country.
The results in Table 1 show that diffuse support for democracy is not
affected by respondents’ socio-economic characteristics (with the exception of
income), confirming the results presented before, which showed democracy as
being accepted by most of the population. Democracy benefits from citizens’
involvement in the political life, although their numbers are not very large.
Finally, diffuse support for democracy is significantly influenced by diffuse
support for market economy and by specific support for the structure and
actions of the political system.
Moving on to diffuse support for market economy, Figure 4 presents the
evolution of attitudes toward four essential values of market economy from
1993 to 2005. The attitudes toward competition and private property represent
diffuse support for the liberal model of market economy, while attitudes toward
income differences and responsibility for individual welfare represent diffuse

51
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

support for the social-democratic model of market economy (one in which the
state intervenes to eliminate the inequalities generated by the market economy).

Figure 4. Diffuse support for market economy

100

75

50

Individual
welfare

Income
25 differences

Competition

Private
property
0
1993 1997 1999 2005

Data source: WVS 1993, WVS 1997, WVS 1999, and WVS 2005. The data represent
percentages of population with positive attitudes toward the four components of market
economy.
Diffuse support for the liberal model of market economy presents minor
fluctuations, but it remains at approximately the same level throughout the
whole period of time: around 90% of the Romanians have a positive attitude
towards competition and about 63% have a positive attitude towards private
property. Support for the social-democratic model of market economy,
however, increases significantly between 1993 and 2005. If in 1993 only 40%
of the population considered that the state should be responsible for individual
welfare and that income differences should be reduced, by 2005 almost two
thirds of the population supports these values.
It should be noted that the social-democratic model, which asks the
state to intervene on the market to protect its citizens, is ideologically opposed
to the liberal model, which considers that the state should not intervene (or it
should do so only to a small extent) on the market. It is interesting then to find
out that even if support for the social-democratic model increases, this is not
followed by a decrease of support for the liberal model, suggesting that
Romanians support market economy and, at the same time, require state
intervention to help those who suffered during the transition.

52 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

The results of the regression analyses presented in Table 2 confirm this


interpretation. In reading the results in this table one should take into account the
coding of the two dependent variables. The variable for the liberal model is coded
so that a high score indicates acceptance of the liberal values and a low score
indicates their rejection. In the case of the variable for the social-democratic model,
a high score shows acceptance of state intervention on the market, which is opposed
to the principles of the liberal model. As a result of this coding scheme, the
coefficients of the independent variables will have opposed signs for the two
dependent variables. The final model explains 14% of the variation in diffuse
support for the liberal model of market economy and 17% in the case of the social-
democratic model (reminder: I use the liberal and social-democratic terms referring
to ideologies and not to the political parties with the same names).
In contrast to support for democracy, in these models the respondents’
socio-economic characteristics explain the largest part of the variation in the
dependent variables. This suggests the existence of significant differences in
support for market economy among different population subgroups; whereas in the
case of support for democracy only minor differences have been found (income was
the only variable with a significant effect in that model). Taking into account the
effects of the independent variables included in the model, it can be seen that
support for the two dependent variables has different determinants. Men show more
support for the liberal model than women, but there are no significant differences
between the two groups with respect to support for the social-democratic model.
The age coefficients are not significant, showing that age does not generate
differences of support for market economy. In the case of the social-democratic
model of market economy, age has significant coefficients in the first two models,
but this effect disappears when the evaluations of the personal and national
economic situation are included in analysis.
Education has a strong significant effect in both models. The more
educated a person is, the more that person will support the liberal model of market
economy and oppose the social-democratic model. The liberal model of market
economy has more support from people with high income (significant positive
coefficient) but in the final model for the social-democratic model income has only
a marginally significant effect. The results for education and income confirm the
theoretical expectations: those who had the least to lose during the transition
(people with high education and high income) have all the reasons to support the
liberal model of market economy and, at the same time, do not feel the need for the
state to intervene on the market. The last variable in this group, residence in urban /
rural, shows that urbanites have more support for the liberal model of market
economy, but do not differ significantly from those living in rural areas with respect
to support for the social-democratic model.
The two variables indicating the value profile of the respondents have
coefficients that are consistent with theoretical expectations. With respect to the
left-right dimension, supporters of the right favor the liberal model, while

53
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

supporters of the left seem to be more attached to the ideals of the social-
democratic model. At the same time, those who consider liberty more important
than equality have higher levels of support for the liberal model, while those
who value equality more have higher levels of support for the social-democratic
model (moreover, the effect of this variable on support for the social-democratic
model is twice as large than in the case of the liberal model).

Table 2. Diffuse support for market economy


The liberal model The social-democratic model

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4

Intercept 8.697*** 7.756*** 7.408*** 7.363*** 13.117*** 14.732*** 18.494 18.230

Male 0.642** 0.641** 0.638** 0.626** -0.390+ -0.387+ -0.399+ -0.403+

Age -0.072 -0.055 -0.041 -0.064 0.262*** 0.234** 0.073 0.081

Education 0.471*** 0.445*** 0.435*** 0.460*** -0.605*** -0.565*** -0.517*** -0.520***

Deciles income per capita 0.300*** 0.285*** 0.274*** 0.256*** -0.276*** -0.252*** -0.146** -0.113*

Ethnicity: Romanian -0.019 -0.017 -0.005 -0.016 -0.136 -0.141 -0.224 -0.193

Religion: Orthodox 0.033 0.025 0.026 0.001 -0.123 -0.110 -0.093 -0.074

Urban 0.535* 0.474* 0.501* 0.562* -0.090 0.006 -0.155 -0.166

Ideological self-placement to right 0.111* 0.108* 0.083+ -0.185** -0.141* -0.121*

Prefers liberty to equality 0.839*** 0.838*** 0.769** -1.303*** -1.261*** -1.191***

Current personal economic situation 0.016 -0.062 -0.792*** -0.693***

Future personal economic situation 0.145 0.032 -0.611*** -0.517***

Current national economic situation -0.050 -0.184 0.100 0.225

Trust in state’s institutions 0.035 0.041

Satisfaction with cabinet’s actions 0.088*** -0.083**

Satisfaction with market economy 0.073 -0.418**


2
Adjusted R 11.3% 12.6% 12.6% 13.8% 9.7% 12.4% 15.9% 16.5%
2
R change 11.3% 1.3% 0.0% 1.2% 9.7% 2.6% 3.5% 1.2%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

The next group of variables in the model makes a clear distinction


between the supporters of the two models of market economy I analyze. The
evaluations of the personal or national economic situation do not have any
effect on the level of support for the liberal model of market economy. The
support for the “pure” model of market economy is not influenced by how
respondents evaluate the state of the economy. In the case of support for the
social-democratic model of market economy, however, the evaluations of the

54 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

personal economic situation play an important role: people who consider they
are worse off now than a year ago show higher levels of support for state
intervention on the market, and this effect is amplified if the same person
expects its economic situation to get worse during the next year. Evaluations of
the national economic situation do not have a significant effect on support for
the social-democratic model. These results confirm both variants of the
pocketbook theory (retrospective and prospective) but do not offer any evidence
for the sociotropic theory.
The last group of variables in the model measures the effect of other
types of support on support for market economy. Satisfaction with the cabinet’s
actions increases support for the liberal model of market economy and
decreases support for the social-democratic model. The latter is also influenced
by satisfaction with the functioning of market economy in Romania: the more
satisfied a person is with how market economy is working, the more it rejects
the social-democratic model and the opposite. Given that some of the main
reasons for being dissatisfied with the transition to market economy include the
increasing inequalities and the decreasing standard of living, one can understand
why these factors generate favorable attitudes toward state intervention on the
market.
Overall, the results presented in Table 2 suggest that the differences in
support for the two models of market economy are determined by the
respondents’ experiences during the transition. The more a person lost during
the transition, the more reasons it has to support the social-democratic model of
market economy, in which the state should be responsible for individual welfare
and should reduce income differences. If the economic situation in Romania
will improve (and this scenario seems less a fantasy in 2007 than it seemed only
years ago) and if this improvement will not be reflected only in macroeconomic
indicators but also in everyday life, then it is likely that people will not feel such
an acute need for the state’s corrective intervention on the market and will
support the liberal model more and more.

Conclusions
What are the answers to the questions stated at the beginning of this
chapter? Are Romanians truly democratic citizens or are they only declaring
themselves as such? As I have shown, most of the Romanians support the idea
of a democratic political system in Romania, and the percentage of supporters
has significantly increased between 1999 and 2005 (see Figure 1). Although
many Romanians still support non-democratic alternatives, I believe this can be
explained by the fact that these indicators capture not only support for
democracy but also dissatisfaction with some problems that were common
during the transition. It should be noted, however, that these problems are not

55
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

problems of democracy; they are rather the result of having an insufficiently


developed political class.
Much more disturbing is the tendency of more than half of the
Romanians to have intolerant attitudes toward some minority groups in the
Romanian society: gypsies and homosexuals. This result suggests that the
transition from communist comrades to democratic citizens has not finished yet,
and it is possible that this transition will end only when the generations that
reached adulthood under the communist regime will be completely replaced by
younger generations. On the other hand, even the most developed democracies
have a small percentage of the population that is characterized by discrimination
against minority groups. Of course, this does not make them morally acceptable.
A society that considers itself to be democratic has a duty to fight for the
elimination of these types of attitudes but, at the same time, has to acknowledge
that complete elimination is impossible: there will always be people that are
ignorant enough not to be able to abstain from discriminating on the basis of
race or sexual preferences.
Another interesting result is shown by Figure 3: Romanians define
democracy in a wider sense than the definitions used in the literature. In
addition to the standard attributes of a democracy, which are correctly
identified, Romanians also include in the definition characteristics related to
market economy (prosper economy and social protection) and a characteristic
related to maintaining order (harsh sentences for criminals). It is very likely that
the definition given to democracy is influenced by the serious problems the
Romanian society faced during the transition: economic decline and increased
criminality.
Based on these results it can be argued that Romanians have already
travelled a long way towards becoming democratic citizens, but they still have
some way to go. I also believe, although I did not analyze relevant data in this
chapter and I draw this conclusion based on personal observations, that, in
2005, Romania’s citizens were more democratic than its institutions.
Fortunately, the last years have shown a tendency toward increasing the
transparency and the responsibility of the state’s institutions, leading me to
believe that, in time, these institutions will become as democratic as the citizens
they serve.
The results presented here suggest that although democracy and market
economy are two distinct systems, the need for their simultaneous
implementation has generated at the population level a complex of attitudes that
links the two systems to one another: a person that supports democracy has a
higher probability of supporting market economy as well.
The regression analyses presented in this chapter lead to a series of
interesting conclusions. First, it is evident that market economy is a much more
controversial issue than democracy: if support for democracy is influenced only
by the respondent’s income, support for market economy divides the population

56 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Comrades or citizens?Support for democracy and market economy

in multiple subgroups based not only on income, but also on gender, education,
and residential area. It seems that market economy still has some way to go in
order to gain the same level of support that democracy has.
Moreover, there is not yet a clear consensus with respect to the type of
market economy preferred by Romanians. Some support the liberal model,
while others (and the results suggest they are primarily those who had more to
suffer during the transition) prefer the social-democratic model, according to
which the state has to intervene in order to correct the disequilibria generated by
the market economy. It is possible that support for this model represents in fact
a type of delay in adapting from the planned economy to the market economy,
but the results presented in Figure 4 show that more and more people support it,
suggesting that the explanation resides in the economic problems of the
transition and not in the inadequate adaptation to the new economic system.
According to these results, the new political and economic system
seems to enjoy diffuse support coming from a large proportion of the
population. If one also takes into account the fact that during the last several
years Romania has become a country that is governed more and more
democratically, and that the state is increasingly withdrawing from the
economy, paving the way for a “real” market economy, it can be argued that the
story of the Romanian transition, although marked at times by dramatic
moments, is approaching a happy end.

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62 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Ideological self-placement:
identification, sophistication, bases
MIRCEA COMŞA

Fairly often we here media talk about left and right wing politics: “that
party is moderate left; that candidate is right wing; that policy is left wing, and
so on”. Gradually, in Romania too, the actors’ positioning on the left-right axis
has become somewhat common practice, at least in the media or in the
politician’s speeches1. But what do these labels mean for the common people?
Do these concepts have a (well defined) content, a shared meaning? And, if so,
how close are the laymen’s views and those of the specialists? What is the
percentage of those that self-position on the left-right dimension and, related to
them, what is the percentage of left-oriented, right-oriented or centre persons?
Has the Romanians’ self-placement on the left-right axis changed over time? In
comparison with the citizens of other countries (either former communist
countries or from the EU), where are Romanians placed on the left-right axis? Is
there any connection between self-placement and the individuals’ socio-
demographic characteristics? What about a connection with values or
preferences for the parties? These are the main questions that the current text
tries to answer to. In the beginning we will analyze, at a theoretical level, some
relevant aspects of self-placement on the left-right dimension.

The theoretic relevance of the left and right concepts


In every society there are a few social cleavages (Lipset and Rokkan,
1967), some of them being predominant in each important historical period.
Each of these cleavages sets its mark upon society’s systems, and, by extension,
upon the political system shaping it at least by setting the relevant dimensions

1
This statement represents more of an intuition, an approximation, rather than an
observation of some content analysis of the political programs or media speeches.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

of the political conflicts. Some examples of possible dimensions are: left-right


(Evans et al., 1996), materialist-postmaterialist (Inglehart and Abramson, 1994;
Inglehart, 1990, 1997), libertarian-authoritarian (Kitschelt, 1992), liberty vs.
equality (Noelle-Neumann, 1998) or “the new social movements” that mainly
target aspects concerning European integration (pro-integration vs. anti-
integration, positive integration vs. negative integration) (Hix, 1999; Scharf,
1996; Gabel, 1998), peace and ecology. In some authors’ opinion (Sani and
Sartori, 1983), it is possible that, over time, most of these dimensions be
incorporated in the left-right dimension, and, according to some analysis, this
process is already happening (for example Noelle-Neumann, 1998).
As we suggested earlier, the concepts of ideological cleavage and of
ideological dimension refer to different things. And so, the cleavage is an
opposition of values or interests in a society (for example, between the working
class and the capitalists, between the State and the Church, between rural and
urban), as opposed to the ideological dimension, that is a heuristic instrument
used by politicians, citizens and analysts to organize and shape the political
controversies and the behavior of political actors. The fact that most citizens are
poorly informed in politics is the main assumption of most analyses. In this
context, unfavorable to the correct functioning of the democratic system,
ideology, or, to be exact, ideological labels are targeted onto two main goals,
and these are: it facilitates political communication (a more brief and efficient
way of political communication), and, closely connected, it helps individuals at
making political decisions, at forming political opinions in insufficiently
informed conditions. Therefore, the left and right ideological labels are tools
that people use to orient in a complex political context. They work as a
mechanism that helps one understand what happens in the political scene by
reducing its complexity (Fuchs and Klingemann, 1990: 205; Knutsen, 1998b:
393). Even more so, the left-right dimension is a useful tool for the experts and
politicians as well, by being a useful way in which they analyze and understand
events (Gabel and Huber, 2000).
But what happens to the political left or right? If in the specialized
literature there is a high consensus regarding the fact that the left-right
dimension is important for understanding the political ideology and attitudes (it
is often used as an independent variable to explain partisanship, the position
adopted in a controversy, voting behavior, etc), but regarding the contents of
this dimension, a low consensus may be observed (Potter, 2001). With this
aspect in mind, two main theoretical directions can be identified: one that gives
this dimension a meaning (any meaning), and one according to which there is a
variable content of this dimension (depending on the population and
timeframe).
It has been often thought that the left and right terms are connected to
social and political specific conflicts (the class conflict), or to types of
approaches to solving problems (state intervention vs. free market), or to certain

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Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

moral values (equality vs. freedom). Surely, in certain times and contexts, the
self-placement process on the left-right axis was closely connected to these
conflicts, approaches and values (van der Eijk et al., 2006). Consequently,
according to the first perspective, left and right politics can refer to ideal types
of socialism and capitalism (Kitschelt, 1992: 12), to the distribution of material
and economical goods (Inglehart, 1990, 1994), or to the opposition between
equality and freedom (Noelle-Neumann, 1998: 329). Many occidental empirical
studies make the distinction between two meanings associated with the left-right
axis: one tied to economy and the other to the socio-political domain. From the
economical perspective, the left refers to the equal distribution of resources and
state intervention, and the right refers to the free market and to justified
inequality. From the political perspective, to the left, the focus is on rights and
social freedoms, and to the right, on order, discipline, tradition (Evans and
Whitefield, 1998). Other analysis (Knutsen, 1995a) lead approximately to the
same conclusions: the left is associated with traditional, secular values, to socio-
democracy and post-materialistic directions, whereas the right is associated to
religious values, economic liberalism and post-materialistic directions.
On the other hand, the meaning of the left and right terms is the
collective result of the way in which the various social actors interact politically
(what matters is their verbal and symbolic interactions) (van der Eijk et al.,
2006: 181). Consequently we can not refer to a constant definition of these
terms, as they are being continuously redefined by the social actors through
interacting, as a consequence of new problems, conflicts and strategies. Briefly,
the meaning of the left and right terms is politically built through the sustained
process of cooperation and political conflict (van der Eijk et al., 2006).
Consequently, according to the second perspective, the left and right concepts
are devoid of all content, and given meaning by each particular individual
(Knutsen, 1998b: 393). The political left and right are viewed as some kind of
“empty containers ready to be filled with political content, which happens at
different times and among different political and social groups” (Tarchi, 1995:
187, apud Knutsen, 1998a).
Of course, the two perspectives are not self-exclusive, and it’s possible
that a part of the meanings associated with the left and right concepts be
relatively widespread (in both space and time), whereas the other part be
contextually definable (in accordance to space, time and social class). Some of
the analyses show that, even if common elements do exist, the meaning of the
left and right political labels vary on more than one dimension: between
countries, over time and in certain social classes. Thus, the meanings vary in
accordance to age and political group (Inglehart, 1984; Fuchs and Klingemann,
1989); to the elderly the left is associated with the attitudes and the
controversies of socioeconomic nature (social program support, class interests,
the influence of syndicates), and the right with limiting the intervention of the
government, support for the middle class and the influence of the business

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

sector. For the youth, the protection of the environment, social inequality and
lifestyles are connected together with socio-economic interests, the left being
associated with the opposition of nuclear energy, sex-equality support, pro-
disarming and the approval of social programs (Dalton, 2002).
The content of the left and right concepts varies not only by country (as
opposed to Europe, in the US the left is tied to liberalism and the right to
conservatory politics), but even in the same country, by time period (especially
for countries on the path of becoming democratic). Some analyses uphold this
kind of variation. In Russia, the meanings of these labels were inverted during
the 90s (with the passing from the communist regime to capitalism and an open
market economy); the left came to be associated with free market, democracy
and liberalism, and the right to the meaning of the communist and socialist
regime (Evans and Whitefield, 1998). Thus, the associated meanings are
flexible in times of political change, and fixed in times of stability. A similar
conclusion obtained through a different kind of analysis (the analysis of party
documents and the investigations of political elites) shows that the placement of
parties and politics on this dimension at different moments in time or in
different countries is subject to change (Gabel and Huber, 2000). In stable
democratic systems, once set, the meanings associated with the left-right
dimension become relatively persistent, as they are being sustained by multiple
mechanisms, both institutional and informal (parties, syndicates, the media, the
family unit, the local networks, etc) being propagated through these mediums as
well (Evans and Whitefield, 1998).
No matter the chosen perspective, if they are to be used as a means of
obtaining knowledge, the ideological labels have to meet certain criteria. Often,
the criteria mentioned by some authors are different in number and specificity.
And so, Zechmeister (2006) proposes two generally formulated conditions:
“first, they must reference relevant political divisions and actors and, second,
they must be understood and used in consistent manners” while Todosijevic
(2004) identifies five conditions that he formulates empirically2. The most often
used arguments for supporting the relevance of self-placement in the left-right

2
These are the following: (c1) the elite uses the left-right dimension in a coherent
manner (in agreement with the parties positioning on the axis; with a correlation
between the preferred positions and politics); (c2) the public uses the left-right
dimension in a coherent manner as well (the voters are to perceive the position of their
party on the axis; a correspondence is to be between the perceived positions of the
parties on the left-right axis, and their real positions); (c3) the public and the elites
coherently use the dimension in the same way; (c4) the relevance of the dimension for
voting (that is for a relation to exist between the preference in politics and voting; the
public is to prefer the parties situated as close as possible to their own position on the
axis); (c5) to be a congruence between the voters preferences in politics and those of the
elites of the voted parties (the electors are to vote with the parties that promote the
politics they prefer themselves).
66 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

dimension are the usage of this direction by the population (the percentage of
individuals that self-position) and the positioning of parties on the axis (the
percentage of individuals that correctly position themselves on this axis) and by
how “correct” one should understand “according to the expert opinion or to the
party program”. Another possible criterion is the one of coherence between self-
placement and the voted party. The coherence position is valid when the voter
prefers one of the parties situated on the axis closest to his own position (if
another choice is made, a situation of incoherence appears) (Boy et al., 1997).
There are two ways to find out the degree in which Romania’s
population correctly uses the concepts of left and right, based on the available
data (BOP, EVS & WVS). The first method is the identification of the meanings
associated with these ideological labels through an open question that, even
though limited3, can offer a direct representation of the aforementioned
concepts. Another possibility is the analysis of the relationship between self-
placement and certain variables with which, according to the theory and to
empirical analysis performed in other European countries, it should be
associated, in a particular frame. The possible variation categories are those
socio-demographical (gender, age, education, income, social status, job, living
conditions), different attitudinal and axiological scales (economic liberalism,
attitude towards democracy, communism, authoritarianism, nationalism, etc),
the political actors (the party or leader vote, the party loyalty, the faith in the
party and the leaders, etc). In a more general way, our approach follows the
search for an answer to the question: “In what degree can we speak of stability
and consistency in the belief and political values system in Romania?” To
answer this question, we will analyze one by one, aspects of the left-right
dimension usage, the meanings of the left and right terms, self-positioning on
the left-right axis, and its social, axiological and partisan bases.

How the left and right concepts are used


In Romania, the left-right opposition was, at least until 2000, scarcely
used, as the communism-anticommunism, reformatory-anti-reformatory axis
were preferred (Sandu, 1996, 1997; Bădescu and Sum, 2005). This was to be
expected, given the particular context in which the Romanian parties appeared
and developed (the slow breach from communism and the centralized

3
The percentage of those who answer the open questions is generally lower in
comparison to the same questions, but with different possible answers (Comşa, 2003).
What is more, in the case of certain population categories, the meanings may exist in a
form that is difficult to put into words, and even at a level of low consciousness.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

economy), as well as the early overall stage of democracy.4 Consequently, it is


to be expected that the usage of the left-right dimension in describing and
analyzing the Romanian political space be reduced, both with the political
actors and with the population. Indeed, the notoriety of the left and right
political concepts is relatively low with the Romanian adult population,
according to BOP-FSD data (November 2003), where only half of the
respondents said they had heard of these concepts (Figure 1).

Figure 1. In politics, left and right are commonly used terms. Have you heard
about these things?

NA
6%
Yes
49%

No
45%

Source: BOP-FSD, October 2003; NA means “no answering”.

Even though the notoriety of the labels is approximately 50%, the


degree of those who self-position on the left-right axis is somewhat larger,
varying between 50%-60%5. Thus, in 2006, 61% of the population had self-
positioned (51% in 2005), and 36% answered that they didn’t know where they

4
„ In young democracies, where the components of democratic politics are relatively
new and often in flux, the meanings of ideological labels are likely to be less developed
and evolving.” (Zechmeister, 2006).
5
The fact that the percentage of those who self-position is larger in comparison to those
who have heard of these labels is not surprising and is found in other democracies as
well (Lambert et al., 1986). The difference can be explained through the tendency of the
individuals to respond even when they do not have an answer (the first question of
notoriety acts as a filter) or through the memory anchor (the explicit connection of the
left and right concepts with the position of some parties or with their own individual
position).
68 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

had placed themselves on the axis, and 3% didn’t answer at all (BOP-FSD,
October 2006)6.
Who are those that do self-position? Are they any different than those
that don’t, and if yes, how? According to other empirical and theoretical
analyses we expect that the two population groups would be very different, at
least in what concerns the gender, age, education level, social class, living
conditions, media exposure and interest towards politics. More to the point it is
to be expected that this percentage is higher with men, and that it would rise
along with all of the aforementioned factors. The analyzed data (Fig 2) confirm
these differences7. Thus, men self-position in a percentage of 60% and women
in a percentage of 44%; people having only middle school self-position in a
percentage of 34% whereas those with higher education 68%; the people from
the lower classes are at 36%, those from the middle classes are at 67%; the
people not interested in politics are at 27%, whereas those with a high interest in
politics are at 80%; those who use one information source at most are at 23%
and those who use more than 5 are at 78%. The data show associations with the
age (the elderly use self-positioning less) as well as with the type of locality (the
percentage is higher in the urban areas), but these are mainly the result of some
differences associated with urban – rural divide. Following from this difference
in the structure of the population (and because of the different media access),
the percentage of people who self-position is different in these two living
environments. Similarly, the elderly are less educated and less interested and
informed (they have lower access because of the rural living environment) and
consequently they use the discussed dimension in a smaller extent.

6
In conformity to some analysis (Krosnick and Berent, 1990), the usage of the ordinal
scale with possible answers labeled only in the extremes increases the percentage of the
non-answers. Consequently, it is possible that part of those who do not self-position will
have difficulties in this respect. Data shows that, even when clearly defined labels are
offered (right, center-right, center, center-left, left), 43% of the subjects are not able to
identify with one of the five offered ideological options, considering that the ideology is
irrelevant (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2002) (the percentage of those who’s self-position grows by
a small amount). On the other hand, when the ideological labels take the form of the
main ideological orientations (social-democratic, liberalism, socialism, etc.), the
percentage of those who are able to declare their attachments is larger. Thus, when
looking at the closed questions (that offer possible answers), the percentage of those
who feel they are near an ideological orientation is somewhere between 64-72% (MMT
research, 2000).
7
All associations are statistically significant (p = 0.000). The intensity of associations
(given the fact that the variables are nominal, the volume of the population constant and
the number of degrees of freedom is relatively close, I used the contingent coefficient)
is ordered by interest (0.37), information (0.29), education(0.26), subjective class (0.20),
locality type (0.19), gender (0.15) and age (0.14).
69
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 2. The variation in the percentage of individuals who self-position,
depending on certain characteristics (%)

total 51
rural - peripferal 41
male 60
rural - center 47
female 44
small urban 46
18-34 years 57
big urban 64
35-54 years 57

55+ years 42 no interest in politics 27

at most comprehensive school 34 little interest in politics 52

apprentices / unfinished college 56 medium interest in politics 76


college / unfinished faculty 61
high interest in politics 80
superior studies 68
information sources 0-1 23
low class 36
information sources 2-3 45
labor class / down-middle class 53
information sources 4-5 62
middle class 57
information sources 6-7 72
upper-middle class 67

Source: Analysis based on data EVS&WVS 2005

The existence of the differences discussed earlier is not in itself a proof


of a causal relation between the analyzed characteristics and the usage of
ideological self-positioning. To achieve this, a multivariate dependent data
analysis is necessary, as well as the ordering (before and after) of variables and
relations in a coherent logical model, both theoretical and statistical. Such a
model can present itself in the form of Figure 38.

8
The SEM model (structural equation modeling) built with AMOS 7. The values
presented in the model are standard regression coefficients. In case of each dependent
variable, the overall explained variance (R2) is marked in the upper right, in relation to
the input field. All the variables have been measured at an ordinal level (4-5 categories),
with the exception of the “the usage of the left-right axis” and gender variables, who
both had 2 categories. The reference categories for the gender variable was “female”
and for the dependent variable “usage”.
70 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases
Figure 3. A model explaining the usage of the left-right dimension

age
.05
-.30 -.05 e4
.14 .09
.30 .15 political interest
education .06
e1 .15
.46 .34
.35
-.10 -.22 .06
.33 e6
-.07 .23
gender
.29 L-R usage
-.06 .07
-.09 subjective class

e3 .14
.29 .12

.36 .35
.08
.42 income information

e2 e5
.26
.06
.08

locality type

GFI = 0,996; AGFI = 0,981; delta2 IFI = 0,994; CFI = 0,993;


RMSEA = 0,035; pclose = 0,937

Source: Analyses based on EVS&WVS 2005 data. The values associated with the
arrows represent the standardized coefficients; the upper right values, related to each
dependent variable, show the total explained variance.

The model we constructed explains 23% of the variance of the


dependent variable (the usage of the left-right scale), with the predictability
principle represented by the interest for politics (0.34). Consequently, the
capacity to use the left-right scale is dependent mainly on the level of interest
for politics. Significant effects also appear in case of the education, location,
sex, subjective class and information variables.9 Thus, middle class individuals
from large cities, with a higher level of education and information have a larger
capacity for ideological self-placement. Age and income both determine the
capacity to self-placement, but to a smaller extent. If the effect of the political
interest is nearly entirely direct, gender, education and type of locality influence
more indirectly the usage of the left-right scale (approximately two thirds from

9
The hypothesis of the dependence of ideological self-placement on the level of
education and the degree of political information (Inglehart and Klingemann, 1976) is
confirmed by the data in Romania’s case too.
71
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

the total effect is indirect) (Table 1). The largest part of indirect influences of
gender and education take place by means of interest towards politics (women
and individuals with less education are less interested in politics, and therefore,
a lower percentage of them are capable of self-positioning on the left-right
axis). In the case of gender, a significant part of the influence is transmitted
through variable information (men use more sources of information, and
therefore a higher percentage of them manage to self-position). Similar
conclusions appear in the case of other analysis referring to Romania as well
(Comşa, 2006: 146-7). In these analysis too, differences in gender are
maintained even when a series of socio-demographic variables are controlled.
Different interest towards politics and the ability to use political concepts are
the result of differences in gender socialization (on the other hand, the
differences tend to decrease from a generation to the next one).

Table 1. A model explaining the usage of the left-right dimension (the standardized
effects significant for p=0.000)
Effect Locality Sex Educatio Individual Subjectiv Interest
Age Information
type type (female) n income e class in politics
Direct 0.06 -0.07 -0.05 0.06 0.00 0.07 0.34 0.12
Indire
0.11 -0.10 -0.04 0.15 0.04 0.04 0.01 0.00
ct
Total 0.17 -0.17 -0.09 0.21 0.04 0.11 0.35 0.12

Source: Analysis based on EVS&WVS 2005 data.

But does the percentage of individuals who self-position vary over


time? Data show that we can talk rather of stability than about some dynamics
of this percentage.10 Thus, the percentage of individuals who self-position is
relatively stable in time after 1990, with a few exceptions (1993 and 1998) (Fig
4).11 It is very probable that the greatest part of the variation is caused by errors
in the samples, by the somewhat different methodology in collecting data and
by differences in style in data collection of the institutes that lead the public
surveys.12

10
The same stability in self-positioning (although at higher rates) can be seen in the
case of countries in Western Europe between 1973 and 1990 (Knutsen, 1998a).
11
In this research (MMT), following a similar methodology, the percentage of
individuals who chose to self-position has been somewhat close to the same value (66%
in 1999, and 57% in 2001).
12
These kinds of differences between institutions, given the conditions of similar
methodologies and similar questions, have been observed in other analysis as well
(Voicu, 1999; Sandu, 2004, in another internal analysis over BOP-FSD data).
72 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases
Figure 4. The percentage of individuals that position on the left-right axis (1993-2006)

82
76
63 63 66
61
55 51

1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

Source: Analysis based on BOP-FSD 2006 data; EVS&WVS 1993, 1998, 1999 and
2005; ICCV 1997; CSES 1996 and 2004. The figures represent the percentages of the
total sample group.

Related to other countries, Romania places at the end of the hierarchy


based on the percentage of individuals that self-position on the left-right axis
(CSES, EVS&WVS).13 In comparison with other ex-communist countries
(presently placed at similar levels with the capitalist countries), Romania is
placed at the end (only the countries of the former USSR have the same low
values) (Figure 5). What is interesting is the fact that, at the beginning of
democracy, from all the ex-communist countries, the Czech Republic and
Romania had some of the highest percentages of individuals that were capable
of self-positioning on the left-right axis (EVS/WVS 1990-1993). If the Czech
Republic holds this position in 2005, too, Romania is placed at the end of the
hierarchy. If the 1993 Romanian data have been well collected (it is fairly
probable that individuals with higher studies are overrepresented), by using the
same methodology (sampling and interrogation), the tendency (in opposition to
other countries) is difficult to explain. A possible explanation could be the fact
that during the 1990-1992 periods, discussions took place with regard to
different society models that Romania should follow (like Austria, Sweden, and
Korea).

13
In Canada from the 80s, almost the same value could be observed, regarding both
self-positioning and the usage of this dimension in the description of the political parties
(Lambert et al., 1986).
73
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 5. The percentage of individuals capable of self-positioning on the left-right
axis in the former communist countries
92 95
87
84
77 77 78 79 80
76
72
67 67 67 67 67 68 69
62 63 64
52 55

Moldavia

Slovakia

Bosnia & Herzegovina


Ukraine

Azerbaijan

Latvia

Montenegro

Slovenia

Macedonia
Czech Republic

Hungary
Romania

Lithuania

Russian Federation

Bulgaria

Estonia

Serbia

Poland

Armenia

Georgia

Croatia

Albania
Belarus

Data Source: EVS/WVS 1999-2000, and WVS 1995-1997 for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

The clearer the public policies presented by the parties are, the highest
the degree in which the individuals’ left-right axis orientation’s are structured
(according to the social factors, controversies and policies). It is difficult to
establish what the causal direction is: is this taking place because the parties’
policies are more clearly defined or because individuals have a more structured
conception of the left and right concepts and therefore are able to better
differentiate the parties in this dimension? It seems that the leading part is now
the way in which parties present their position regarding certain policies (how
structured these positions are) (Freire, 2006). It is highly probable that the low
percentage of individuals that are capable of self-positioning on the left-right
axis is determined by the fact that the opinion leaders (political individuals,
journalists and political analysts) have used these terms too little or not at all in
the post-December public space, preferring positional concepts more familiar to
the public when explaining certain attitudes, events or public policies. This way
of positioning includes the communist–ex-communist and reforming–anti-
reforming dimensions, and more recently (starting mainly with the general
elections of 2000), the corruption – anti-corruption dimension as well.

What can be understood by left and right?


The fact that half of Romanians have heard of the concepts of political
left and right or the fact that 60% of them self-position on the left-right axis
does not mean that all of them know what these labels refer to, not even in a
broad sense. Taking into account the 49% of Romanians who declared they
have heard of the terms of political left and right, only three out of five are able
to associate the labels with some content. Related to the entire population, this

74 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

means 29%. 14 Consequently the percentage of individuals who cannot truly


operate with this dimension is 71% (they either did not hear of the terms or, if
they did, they are not able to provide even a minimal definition).15
What are the meanings the population associates with these terms? The
semantic contents attributed by the population to the political left and right
include aspects that generally go together from a theoretical-logical perspective,
with a single significant exception (the undiscriminating superposition of the
left-right axis over the power-opposition axis), and a few other small ones (left
means wealthy, but also poor, which can be both true and false, in accordance
with the meanings for poor and wealthy, as well as the living level of the
individual; right means liberalism, but also nationalism, although this
association is sometimes found in reality and theory, too).

Figure 6. What do people understand by political left and right?

other 7 left other 7 right


conservatives 1 conservatives 1

poverty 1 corruption 2

conflicts 1 something negative 3

for rich persons 3


corruption 2

PNTCD 3
equality 2

Christians 4
PRM / Vadim 2

democracy 9
extremism / radicalism 3

extremism / nationalism / PRM 9


democracy 4

governing party 9
welfare / something positive 5

capitalism / market economy 11


social protection 12
liberalism 11
governing party 14
political opposition 13
political opposition 14
welfare / something positive 15
communism / socialism 31

Source: BOP-FSD, October 2003; % of those who provided a definition (29%)

14
The number is close enough to the one obtained in another research project (Mungiu-Pippidi,
2002). Reported to the entire adult population, in 1999, the percentage of individuals to be
considered ideologically competent (the ones that have made correct associations with regard to
the labels of political left and right) is estimated to be 25% at the most.
15
We do not believe that this situation is specific to Romania; it is very probable that
this is the case in other countries too (Bulgaria, the countries of the former USSR); the
values are relatively the same with the ones registered, under similar conditions, in
Canada, during the 80s (40% of the electorate was able to provide a definition; Lambert
et al., 1986).
75
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

As expected, the definitions for the concepts of political left and right
are, for the most part if not entirely, antonymic, as belonging to opposing
political currents. Thus, for the sample group, left means „communism /
socialism” (31%) and right means „liberalism” (11%).16 As it can be seen, the
ideological content is predominant, more in the case of the left concept. This
happened because, in the case of the left, the form of political organization and
that of economic organization are the same (sometimes not only at the level of
the common people), whereas in case of the right concepts, the two are
different, but connected aspects, with the same degree of importance.
Of course, at the level of the popular definitions, there are some aspects
that can be found in the vicinity of one of the two poles, as well of some
common conceptual aspects. Between the contents that only relatively appear at
one of the two poles, in case of the left concepts, there is an association with the
social protection (12%) and equality (2%); in case of the right concept an
association with capitalism and market economy (11%). With regard to the
common notes, both the left and the right concepts are identified (sometimes in
different degrees) with the opposition (14-13%), with the governing party /
power (14-9%), with welfare (5-15%), democracy (4-9%), extremism (5-9%)
and corruption (2-2%). If, in case of some attributes like welfare, extremism,
corruption and democracy, the association is (or could be) correct and
correspondent to reality, what is surprising is the high percentage (28% for the
left and 22% for the right) of individuals that associate the two poles with the
power and opposition (in almost the same degree). On the other hand, in
relation to the moment of the data collecting process, almost a half of those that
identify the concepts of power-opposition are right (indeed, PSD, the governing
party in 2003, is a left oriented party and a large part of the opposition is right
oriented).
The meanings provided by the respondents for the left and right labels
can be analyzed from another perspective as well. According to a somewhat
spread typology, ideological labels can have three significant cognitive
components: symbolic, of public policy and of valence (Zechmeister, 2006).17
The aspects connected to these components are: the symbolic component, which
refers to a political group and even to an important actor (especially in the
countries in which the political space is highly personalized); the aspect of
public policy signals the preference for a certain opinion, related to a public
policy; then, the valence signals the importance of a goal (the reduction of

16
In the 80s, the Canadians associated in a large extent the left with socialism and the
right to conservatism and free initiative (Lambert et al., 1986).
17
To this, an affective component can be added. This refers to the attachment towards a
certain label, the ideological label in this case (this can be used in a non-ideological
manner, whereas individuals can react only to hearing the name of the label) (Jacoby,
2001).
76 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

poverty, the eradication of corruption, social justice) and is characteristic to the


new democratic systems, mainly during the elections (the actors communicate
mostly the targeted goals and far less the means by which these goals will be
attained; therefore, the final goals are underlined and not the political and public
means through which they are achieved).
By applying this typology to the left-right dimension, as Romanians
understand it, some interesting conclusions emerge. The symbolic component is
dominant (66% for the left and 50% for the right), followed by the valence
component (16% and 23%) and only after the component of public politics
(12% and 11%; the preference for social protection and market economy). In
conclusion, for Romanians, the left-right axis is connected mainly to the
political actors and political goals, and only secondly to the means by which
these goals are achieved; the conclusion isn’t a surprise, given the low level of
political information in the population and the way the political stage is,
especially in what concerns electoral campaigns in Romania.

Left or right?
Today, at most 6 out of 10 Romanians are capable of self-positioning
on the left-right axis. Although it is expected that they understand different
things to a certain extent, with regard to these labels (see previous data), an
important part of the population that self-position, generally has a correct
definition of the concepts; this definition is close to what the political science
understands them to be. Consequently it is relatively fair to group positioning
and to identify them with the proper labels. To simplify the analysis we have
chosen to group the ten possible positions in groups of two, resulting in five
categories of respondents. Related to the total number of individuals who self-
position, these elector categories have the following percentages: 9% for the
left, 16% for the centre-left, 41% for the centre, 20% for centre-right and 15%
for the right (BOP–FSD 2006). Related to this population, these percentages are
much lower (due to the high percentage of those who do not self-position): 5%
for the left, 10% for the centre-left, 25% for the centre, 12% for the centre right
and for the right 9%.
The meanings the population attribute to the left and right probably
differ over time, but we believe that the differences are more or less
significant.18 Therefore it is correct to compare the evolution of the percentages
for the different orientations over time (Figure 7).

18
For Romania, the empirical data necessary to uphold this affirmation are lacking. The
ones we did have access to (BOP-FSD and the research of Metro Media Transylvania)
cover a small time period, (2000-2003), insufficient to sustain or infirm this affirmation.
But with regard to this small timeframe, we observed no differences in the meanings
attributed to the terms.
77
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Figure 7. The percentages of the ideological categories determined by the self-


placement on the left-right axis
left centre-left centre centre-right right
2006 9 16 41 20 15

2005 9 10 43 21 17

1999 9 10 49 19 13

1997 5 10 55 20 10

1993 4 15 53 23 6

Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD 2006; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1999 and 2005
(the percentages were calculated related to the ones who expressed an option).

The data we presented show that, independent of the reference point,


almost half of the population self-positioned in the centre, almost a third to the
right and a fifth to the left (the percentages are calculated related to all the
persons who self-positioned – most frequently, 60%; in order to see the
percentages in the total number of the population, these values should be
divided by two). Even if the changes that happened gradually are not
significant, some tendencies can be noticed. With a high rate of probability19,
we can say that, between 1996 and 2006, in Romania, we attend a process of
ideological polarization. The existence of such a tendency is supported by
noticing the fact that, if the percentage of the ones who self-position varies
around 55 % of the population, the relative percent of the population who
declare as “centre” lowers in time. It should also be added that the tendency that
was noticed can be the result of two different processes (the result of both
processes or the result of one of them). On one hand, it is possible that the
meanings of the concepts of left and right become clear over time and, in this
situation, choosing the centre variants signify the lack of a position in 1993 in
comparison with 2006 (the hypothesis of ideological clarification). On the other
hand, it is possible that the individuals, who, in 1993, were choosing
deliberately the centre, have gradually modified their preferences and, now, a

19
The results of the regression equations defined by the values of every ideological
orientation (dependent variable) and time (independent variable) support these
tendencies. With the exception of the categories centre-left and centre-right, the other
categories show a significant evolution from a statistical point of view in the mentioned
direction (F test shows that they are significant and R2adj takes values between 75% and
85%).
78 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

part of them orientate towards the right (the hypothesis of ideological


polarization). In order to determine which one of these two hypotheses
corresponds to a larger extent to the real situation, more analyses are needed.
The answer to this question doesn’t represent an objective of this chapter.
On the other hand, the process of ideological polarization is relatively
slow and the percentage of the centre electorate is not much lower at the end of
the interval in comparison with its beginning (41% in comparison with 53%).
The tendency of polarization observed in Romania can also be noticed in other
former communist countries20, too, but not in Western Europe21 as well. On this
background, the percentages of left and right populations grow, but in a
different way. Therefore, if the percentage of the “left-orientated” population
seems to lower until 1997 and then to rise slightly, (the differences are not
statistically significant), the percentage of the “right-orientated” population rises
relatively constantly in time, but not a lot (in fact, what rises is the percentage of
the “right-orientated” population and not the centre-right one).

Figure 8. Self-placement on the left-right axis in the former communist countries


(average on a 1 to 10 scale)
left right

5,8 5,8 5,8 5,9 5,9 6,0


5,5 5,5 5,5 5,6 5,7
5,2 5,3 5,3 5,3 5,4 5,4
4,9 5,0 5,1 5,1 5,1
4,7

Czech Republic
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Russian Federation

Azerbaijan
Hungary
Montenegro

Slovenia

Slovakia

Albania

Poland

Lithuania

Moldavia

Bulgaria
Macedonia

Armenia

Romania
Ukraine

Belarus
Serbia

Latvia

Estonia

Georgia
Croatia

Source: Analyses on the basis of the data provided by EVS/WVS 1995-1997 and 1999-
2000 (values related to the ones who self-positioned).

20
In Russia, in conditions of the high stability of the self-placements on the axis (as
percentages), a slight tendency of polarization is observed (as a result of the percentage
decrease of the ones who cannot use these concepts) (Evans and Whitefield, 1998).
21
For 1973-1990 timeframe, in Western Europe, on the contrary, a rising tendency of
the ones who self-position in the centre of the scale is observed. This tendency is
explained through socio-demographic characteristics and political involvement. The
rising of self-positioning in the centre is higher in the case of the persons with less
education and in women’s case (but not among the persons who are the most politically
uninvolved) (Knutsen, 1998b).
79
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

As we saw before, the meanings of the terms left and right show variations from
one country to another. As a consequence, the comparisons among countries
(especially among countries which, generally speaking, are very different from
a cultural point of view and, particularly, they are different also in terms of
political culture) are just partially right. Still, we present informatively a few
figures and conclusions resulting from the analysis of some data provided by
some international comparative researches (EVS & WVS 1995-1997 and 1999-
2000). Although we would expect Romania’s place rather among the left-
orientated countries (where most of the former communist countries place), the
data show a different situation. Therefore, from a total of 78 countries (both
EVS&WVS waves), Romania placed 55th with an average of the registered
values of 5.8 (on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents the left and 10, the
right), that means that it is among the “centre-right” countries (equal to Finland,
Iceland, New Zealand, Malta, Lithuania, Turkey and Bulgaria). Even if we take
into account only the communist countries, Romania places rather to the right,
together with Bulgaria, Lithonia, Estonia and the Czech Republic (Figure 8).
We should also take into account the fact that in the years following
exactly after the fall of the communist system, Romania’s position was almost
the same. Among the countries that participated in the 1989-1993 wave of the
EVS/WVS, only Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland had electorates with
an average of self-position above 5.5, which is rather an orientation of the right.
In Romania’s case, it is very likely that the average of a rather right self-
placement be, at least partially, the combined result of the low percentage of the
ones who self-position and of the differences in self-placement depending on
education (more educated persons are able to self-position in a larger extent and
they self-position, on average, to the right). Besides this, in Romania, right-wing
self-defining seems to be desirable (Chiribucă, 1996). Consequently, the data
show a population more oriented to the right than in reality.

The relevance of self-placement on the left-right axis


Does the fact that the voters prefer self-placement in the centre, left or
right have any relevance? Or, to express it differently, is there any connection
between self-placement on the left-right axis and the respondents’ socio-
demographic characteristics? And is there any connection between self-
placement and the casting of a vote for a party or between self-placement and
the attitudinal-axiological orientations? In the following, we will investigate the
relation between self-placement and these aspects, using the data provided by
BOP-FSD and EVS&WVS research. For the beginning, it is necessary to
present a few theoretical aspects and empirical results related to our topic.
In the specialized literature, there is an agreement regarding the
distinction between the three components (or fundaments) of self-placement on
the left-right axis: the social component, the value component and the partisan
80 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

component (Inglehart and Klingemann, 1976). The social component refers to


the localization of individuals in the social structure and to the correspondent
social identities; the value component (the controversy and problems issue)
refers to the citizens’ attitudes towards the current conflicts (socioeconomic,
religious, “the new policy”) in the Western society; the partisan component
refers to the identification with a specific party. Related to the three
components, Inglehart’s and Klingemann’s reference study (1976: 264-9)
showed that the partisan dimension is dominant22. Most of the analyses realized
by them were bivariate. As a consequence of the results obtained, the social
dimension (“social bases”) of self-placement was ignored in the previous
studies and most of the analyses was limited only to the partisan and value-
based component; similar conclusions were reached when the analyses were
renewed. As a result of the analysis of the data provided by the inquiry realized
in five countries for a period of approximately 20 years (van der Eijk et al.,
2006: 172) the conclusion is that the association between the social structure
(this time, measured by the following indicators: church attendance and being a
trade union member) and self-placement is little (around 0.10). At the same
time, the association between the vote for a party and self-placement is
consistently bigger than the association between self-placement and social
position (0, 30) (van der Eijk et al., 2006). Of course, these are informational
values at the level of many elections and for many countries. Meanwhile, the
association with social bases seems to remain constant and the one with the
partisanship seems to lower. Generally, the differences among countries are
relatively big.
As it often happens in social sciences, the initial analyses started from a
simple idea, namely one of the differences occurring in the operationalization of
the concepts.23 Therefore, Freire (2006) shows in a longitudinal comparative
analysis (countries in EU, 1976-2002) that the social dimension is still
important. According to him, the previous analyses reached the same
conclusions due to some problems of specifying the models, more exactly due
to the way in which the social dimension was measured and operationalized. In
the same author’s opinion, the social component of self-placement is not
composed of the same dimension (the structural one), but of three dimensions:
structural, organizational and subjective. A synthetic presentation of the

22
According to the Inglehart and Klingemann analysis (1976), in the Europeans’ case,
the feeling of belonging to the left or to the right reflects more toward the affiliation to a
party and less concerning the preference for a certain policy or certain values.
23
An illustrating example is the following: in the framework of an analysis related to
the function of associative membership in shaping democratic civic and political
attitudes or, more generally speaking, of the social capital, a modification of the
operationalization of the associative membership (taking into account the former
membership) triggers different conclusions (associative membership has an effect over
democratic attitudes), concordant with the theoretical expectations (Hooghe, 2003).
81
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

operational definition realized by Freire can be represented as it follows (the


indicators used for measuring the social component and self-placement are
positioned at the crossroads of the rows and columns):

Table 2. The operational model of the social component of self-placement

Dimension Class Religious

Structural Occupational status How often one goes to church


Member of organizations /
Organizational Member of trade unions
religious associations
Confidence in trade unions
Subjective Confidence in Church
Confidence in big companies
Source: Cf. Freire, 2006.

More recent analyses (Freire, 2006) show that when the social bases are
defined only in accordance with the structural dimension (status and the
frequency people go church), the explained variance is really low (most often,
below 10%).24 But, when the social bases are defined through the three
dimensions, the social component of self-placement is bigger (comparatively
with the partisan and axiological components) in 11 out of 24 analyses25.
What happens meanwhile with the relation between self-placement and
the socio-demographic variables or between the electoral options and the value
orientations?
The gradual effect of the modernization process is the weakening of the
relation between the social structure and the preferences, orientations and
political behavior (van der Eijk et al, 2006: 167). Consequently, it is expected
that the intensity of the relation between the social structure and the political
ground is lower. Empirical analyses realized by different authors show different
tendencies from a certain point of view. Therefore, in some analyses, the
variance explained by the social structure stays relatively constant (van der Eijk
et al, 2006: 172) or lowers in most of the Western European countries (Freire,
2006). Also, it has to be added that, in both analyses, social bases were defined

24
The conclusions are similar with the ones obtained related to previous periods by
Inglehart and Klingemann (1976) or van der Eijk (2006).
25
In total, 24 models of multivariate analysis have been built (for each year and
country), and the explained variance is larger than 49% for 10 of these models. The
identification with a party was replaced in the analysis with the voting option (the first
was not part of the questionnaire) and the non-voters have been excluded, which leads
to the overestimation of the partisan component. Even in these conditions, in 11 of the
cases, the social component was the most important element of self-positioning (in 9 of
the cases, the partisan component, and in the other 3 the value component) (Freire,
2006).
82 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

only through the structural dimension. When the social bases included both
organizational and subjective dimensions (Freire, 2006), the variance explained
stood relatively constant in time (4 states), lowered (5 states) or rose (2 states),
but as an average tendency we may talk about a decrease (erosion of the social
determinacy of ideological self-placement). Different conclusions appear in
what concerns the effects due to the cohorts: they do not exist (van der Eijk et
al., 2006) or, on the contrary, it has been observed a difference between the
people born before and after 194526 (Freire, 2006). In what concerns the
intensity of the relation between the vote for the parties and self-placement, it
has been observed that there has been a gradual decrease at the level of the
whole electorate, but this happened on the background of different variations
(van der Eijk et al, 2006).
Following a simple logic, the perspective presented before can be
continued, starting from the same remark: the size of the ideological component
is connected to the socio-economic development. According to some analyses,
(Dalton, 1988) the size of the ideological component of the left-right dimension
is connected to the process of cognitive mobilization. By cognitive mobilization
it is understood that there is a process through which the voters come “to
possess the political resources and abilities necessary for them to be self-
sufficient related to politics” (Dalton, 1988: 18). Briefly, the situation can be
described as the following. In typical industrial societies, the voters are
characterized by low levels of cognitive mobilization. Middle voters in these
societies are little educated and, when he/she encounters the complexity of
politics, they base their loyalty mainly on the affiliation to specific social or
party organizations (the so-called external mobilization). As a consequence,
self-placement on left-right axis is made depending on the identification with a
party and the vote is cast for a party in accordance with the affiliation to a
specific social group. At the same time with the rise of the educational level
(especially of the number of people with superior studies), citizens become
more sophisticated from a political point of view and the rise of the access to
mass-media makes them even more informed. As a consequence of these
transformations, in advanced industrial societies, self-placement and selection
of a party are based more on value orientations (this component is more
important in these societies) (Knutsen, 1997). A series of analyses (Knutsen,
1997) realized at a bivariate and at a multivariate level at the same time, using
data provided by Eurobarometer 16 and EVS II, supported this hypothesis. In
this way, the variance explained (as part of a variance analysis model with self-
placement as a dependent variable) by the common component of partisan and
axiological dimensions rises between 1980-1990 and, in an interval of only 10
years, it becomes almost as important as the partisan component. At the same

26
In most of the countries, the explanatory power of the social component is bigger in
the case of persons born after 1945.
83
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

time, analyses show a rise of the value-based component (but the rise is little).
Generally, within the total of the explained variance, 40-50 % reverts to each of
the partisan or combined components, and 10-20 % reverts to the value-based
components (Knutsen, 1997).
The results of the analyses presented before differ significantly. Mainly,
the differences are the result of the different way in which the social component
and the type of statistical analysis were operationalized. Therefore, if we
include all the three dimensions of the social component, its explanatory power
rises significantly and in many cases it surpasses the one of partisanship. At the
same time, the differences among the models are connected with the type of
statistical analysis (regression, respectively, variance analysis), but especially
with the method of specifying the models. The three factors (social, partisan,
axiological) can have independent influences over self-placement or we can
consider that values and partisanship have a common component (common
variance explained). If this common component is attributed to values, on the
basis of the assumption that these are previous to partisanship, the variance
explained by the value-based component comes to be equal to that of the
partisan component (Knutsen, 1997).
Consequently, in accordance with the method that was chosen, the
empirical results differ and, at a general level, the implications will also differ.
If self-placement is less connected with social position and more with the
electoral options, this shows not the irrelevance of left and right concepts, but
the fact that the political system is, to a certain extent, independent and that
political phenomena can be explained through other political phenomena (van
der Eijk et al, 2006)27. In this case, self-placement doesn’t represent a simple
reflection of the social position or, more generally said, the political phenomena
are not a derivation of other phenomena from other spheres (social structure,
modernization etc.), but have a high degree of autonomy. The discussion related
to the absolute or relative importance of the social basis of ideological self-
placement has an implication at a more general level. The extent to which
ideological self-placement represents or does not represent a reflection of the
social position is tightly connected with the debate about autonomy,
respectively about the systems in a society (or even more than that, the
prevalence of the social system, in our case, over the other systems).
Theoretical and empirical differences related to the self-placement
bases impose the reconstruction of the analyses and interpretations with other
data, related to other spaces and political times. This is our main objective in
what follows.

27
Even if, at the beginning, the situation was not like this, in the end, either the political
conflicts that led to these cleavages were solved, or the people got used to them (van der
Eijk et al, 2006).
84 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

Social bases of self-placement


In accordance with the perspective of sociological determination, we
expect that we should find differences in what concerns self-placement on the left-
right axis, differences (also) depending on the socio-demographic characteristics of
our subjects. The data we show (Figure 9) demonstrate what follows:
™ Statistically, self-placement differs significantly among the categories of the
most variables, but the differences are not big28;
™ There are no self-placement differences depending on gender;
™ The older persons (more than 55 years old) are, on average, more left-
orientated individuals;
™ The more educated persons are, on average, more right-orientated;
™ Persons who subjectively place themselves in a superior class are, on
average, more right-orientated;
™ Persons with higher salaries self-position more to the right;
™ Persons living in bigger localities self-position easier to the right (also
because of the differences in the population structure);
™ Related to their status, only retired persons tend to self-position to the left;
™ Related to the persons who have a job, a rise was noticed of the right self-
placement together with the rise of the occupational status;
™ Associative affiliation – trade union or professional – is accompanied by
self-placement to the right;
™ The persons who have more confidence in trade unions and companies are
rather right-oriented;
™ Church attendance is accompanied by the self-placement to the left;
™ There are no differences of self-placement depending on the affiliation to a
religious association;
™ Persons with low confidence in the church tend to self-position to the right.

Even if there are some self-placement differences among the different


categories of population on the left-right axis, very often these differences are
little (on a 1-10 scale, their values are below 1). In order to see to what extent
socio-demographic characteristics explain self-placement differences, we need
to analyze simultaneously the relations among all these variables. For this, we
realized a regression model with categorical29 variables, where the dependent
variable is the self-placement and the independent variables are all the socio-

28
Testing the significance of differences was done with chi2 (the association analysis)
and also with F (the variance analysis).
29
In SPSS, “optional scaling” from regression; through procedure, the level of variables
measuring was defined as nominal. Consequently, we considered that the relations
among variables can take any shape, which means that total explained variance is
maximal (if we considered the relations are linear, total explained variance would have
been significantly smaller).
85
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

demographic variables we had presented before. The total variance explained by


this model is low (6%30), which shows that the connection between the socio-
demographic variables and self-placement is weak (the last one depends a little
on the first ones). With the exception of the variables gender and trade union
member/ professional association member, all the others variables have a
statistically significant influence over self-placement on the left-right axis.
Among these, the biggest effects occur in the case of the following variables:
church attendance, affiliation to religious associations, confidence in church, in
trade unions/companies, subjective class and residence. 31 Given the fact that the
variance explained by the model is little, the portraits of the left or right oriented
people should be looked at skeptically. Given all the other similar conditions,
the persons who tend to self-position to the right are the ones less than 55 years
old, belonging to the middle class, who seldom go to church.

Figure 9. The variation of self-placement on the left-right axis in function of


several socio-demographic, attitudinal and behavioral variables (averages on the
scale 1=left to 10=right)
total 6,0 employed - high 6,6

male 6,0 employed - medium 6,2

female 6,0 employed - low 5,8

18-34 years 6,2 retired person 5,6


35-54 years 6,1 housewife, stay-at-home 6,1
55+ years 5,6 6,1
student/pupil

at most comprehensive schools 5,5 6,2


unemployed

apprentices, unfinished college 5,8


trade union’s/prof. assoc. member 6,7
college, unfinished faculty 6,1
non-member of a trade union/prof. assoc. 5,9
faculty, M.A., PhD 6,5
no confidence in trade unions/comp. 5,8
low class 5,6
high confidence in trade unions/comp. 6,1
labor class 5,6
very high confidence in trade unions/comp. 6,4
down part of the middle class 6,2
going to Church-once a year/not at all 6,3
upper part of the middle class 6,6
going to Church-at festivals 6,2
0-100 RON / pers. 5,7
going to Church-once a month 5,7
101-200 RON / pers. 5,9
going to Church-once a week 5,8
201-400 RON / pers. 6,0
member of a religious organization 6,1
400+ RON / pers. 6,3
non-member of a religious organization 6,0
rural-peripheral 5,7
low confidence in Church 6,5
rural-center 5,9
high confidence in Church 5,7
small urban 6,1
very high confidence in Church 6,0
big urban 6,1

Source: Analyses based on the data of WVS 2005, Romania.

30
Adjusted R2.
31
The statements are made on the basis of a measure of relative importance
(“importance” in SPSS), proposed by Pratt (Meulman and Heiser, 2005).
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Left-oriented persons are mainly old persons, belonging to the middle


or working class, who often go to church. In conclusion, even if the connection
between self-placement on the left-right axis and socio-demographic
characteristics can be found in Romania’s case, too, (the sense of the relations is
similar), its total size is low. We bring into attention the fact that our model
included more socio-demographic variables than the ones that usually appear in
similar analyses (Inglehart and Kligemann, 1976; van der Eijk et al., 2006). At
the same time, the model also considered some other dimensions of the social
bases, not only the structural one (according to Freire’s analyses, 2006). Despite
all these, the explained variance is lower than the one registered in the case of
other countries, in the conditions of more simple explanatory models, using a
smaller number of predictors32. And this happens when most authors consider
that the connection between social bases and ideological self-placement tends to
be lower in advanced industrial countries or, to express it differently, self-
placement depends less and less on the social or religious class characteristics.
In the case of Romania, it is very unlikely for the explained variance to be the
result of such a process and it is possible indeed that the lack of the relation be
determined by the low levels of identification and ideological sophistication. A
few arguments in this respect were presented before (only half of the
Romanians self-position on the left-right axis, respectively only a third correctly
understands these labels).
The hypothesis of the dilution of self-placement social bases can also be
tested in the case of Romania (the evolution of variance explained by the social
characteristics). Besides this, given the serious transformations Romania passed
through the last 16 years, it is necessary to investigate the evolution of the
meanings of the relations; more precisely, which socio-demographic categories
were left/right categories at a certain moment of time and which are these
categories in the present33. For this we calculated and compared the averages of
self-placement in the case of different categories of population for the interval
1993-2005 (EVS&VWS data; Appendixes: Table 12). With the exception of
some punctual situations (as a consequence of the relatively different definition
given to population categories), the data show a relatively big stability of self-
placement (the differences are not large). Generally speaking, the categories

32
The explained variance is approximately 10% if we take into account only the
structural dimension, respectively 10-20% of all three dimensions are taken into account
(Freire, 2006).
33
Such an approach may seem strange. But a few analyses (Evans and Whitefield,
1998) show that, in the case of the societies affected by deep changes, a situation also
characterizing Romania, the sense of relations can invert. So, in the case of Russia, if, in
1993, the class the most right-oriented was composed of workers, and the most left-
oriented one of entrepreneurs, in 1996, the situation is almost the other way round
(Evans and Whitefield, 1998).
87
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

which, at a certain moment of time, tend to be of left/right orientations, keep


this position irrespective of the reference year. For example, irrespective of
year, the ones who place themselves in the labor class or lower class, self-
position to the right. Similarly, more educated people tend to self-position to the
right and the persons who are less educated, to the left.
In order to test the hypothesis of the dilution of the social bases of self-
placement, we built four regression models with categorical variables, using the
same predictors of socio-demographic nature as much as we could34. The
variance explained by these models is almost identical; the variations are very
low and don’t follow a specific pattern: 7% (1993), 9% (1998), 8% (1999), and
6% (2005). Consequently, the hypothesis we treat about is not supported by data
in the case of Romania, too. The predictors we find in more models and that
have a bigger influence in comparison with the others are the socio-economic
status (job, subjective class), education, residence, confidence in trade unions
and companies, confidence in church and the frequency with which people go to
church.

Partisan bases of self-placement


Most analyses show that placement on the left-right axis represents one
of the main factors determining European citizens’ political elections (Inglehart
and Klingemann, 1967; Knutsen, 1997; van der Eijk et al., 2006) in what
concerns the vote and other aspects at the same time (government performance,
political controversies, leaders, etc.). This doesn’t mean that, irrespective of the
country and of the period, there is a strong association between the preference
for parties and placement on the left-right axis35. Do we find this relation in
Romania’s case, too? Given the previous results and also the low importance
attributed to this dimension36 by the population, the answer is most likely “yes”,
but we expect the intensity of the association to be significantly lower in
comparison with the average association observed in the case of Western
European countries.
Given the fact that party identification was not measured (generally, it
is not measured on the data related to Romania) we used voting intention37

34
In the case of a few models, some predictors lacked (for example, the subjective class
was measured just by two sets of data), but this affects the explained total variance very
little (due to the strong connection between it and education or salary).
35
For example, the association between the vote and self-placement is very low in
Ireland and very high in Denmark (van der Eijk et al., 2006).
36
Explicitly, 73% of the total population considers that the fact that a candidate is left or
right doesn’t affect the vote (Mungiu-Pippidi, 2002).
37
This substitution often happens in case of other analyses, too (Knutsen, 1997; Freire,
2006), especially with data referring to European countries, from similar reasons.
88 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

instead of it. In order to have a clearer image of the relation between the vote
and self-placement we calculated the percentages offered to the parties in
different types of electorates (Table 3) and also the percentage of the voters of a
certain type inside the electorate of a party (Table 4). Also, we reduced the
number self-placement categories from 10 to 538.

Table 3. Vote for parties depending on self-placement on the left-right axis


Centre Centre
Party Left Centre Right Total
Left Right
D.A.
13 23 29 38 33 29
Alliance
PD 8 13 25 19 23 20
PNG 11 3 3 5 4 5
PRM 19 17 11 11 10 12
PSD 44 41 16 10 8 20
PNL 5 2 8 10 16 9
UDMR 0 1 6 6 3 4
Another
0 1 2 2 3 2
one
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data in 2006. Way of interpreting: 13 % of the
ones who self-positioned to the left vote with A.D.A. The cells on grey background
indicate the highest frequencies for each column.

Table 4. Self-placement on the left-right axis depending on the vote for parties
Center Center
Party Left Center Right Total
Left Right
D.A. Alliance 4 12 38 26 19 100
PD 4 10 48 19 20 100
PNG 23 10 29 23 16 100
PRM 15 21 34 17 13 100
PSD 20 32 32 10 7 100
PNL 5 3 38 22 31 100
UDMR 0 4 56 30 11 100
Another one 0 7 43 21 29 100
Total 9 15 39 20 17 100
Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data from 2006. Way of interpreting: 48 % of the
ones who will vote with PD self-positioned to the centre. The cells on grey background
indicate the highest frequencies for each row.

38
1-2 = left, 3-4 = centre- left, 5-6 = centre, 7-8 = centre-right, 9-10 = right.
89
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

The data shown demonstrate that the electors who self-position to the
left or in centre-left vote in a bigger extent to PSD, the ones in the centre with
DA Alliance and PD (less with PSD), the ones in centre-right with DA Alliance
and with PD and the ones who self-position to the right with DA Alliance, PD
and PNL (Table 3). If we refer to the electorate of a certain party, the relation is
the same clear (Table 4). PD Alliance, PD and PNL are voted by the electorate
placed in the centre or to the right (with percentage differences), PSD by the
electorate placed in the centre or to the left, UDMR by the electorate in the
centre or in centre-right and, finally, PNG and PRM by all the electorates in
almost the same extent (even if a little bit more by the centre electorate)39.
If we use a synthetic measure of self-placement on the left-right axis
(the average of the self-placement of a party’s voters), we can arrange political
systems on this axis as it follows:

Figure 10. Placement of the parties on the left-right axis on the basis of their
voters’ self-placement
7.0
PNL
6.5
UDMR
6.4
D.A. Alliance
6.4
5.9 PD
5.8Total
Not decided yet
5.5
PNG
5.4
Do not vote
5.3
PRM
4.5
PSD

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
left center right

Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data in 2006

Point 5.5 is the centre of the axis and current voters (the ones who
indicated a party) place at 5.9, so the average of voters is placed rather to the
right of the centre. Only one party clearly placed to the left is PSD, at the centre
PRM and PNG and to the right, DA Alliance, PD, UDMR and PNL. The fact is
significant that PD is placed much more closely to DA Alliance (the values are
almost identical) in comparison with PNL, placed more to the right. The
arrangement of the parties on the left-right axis on the basis of the average
position of their voters seems to be the same one with the intuitive40 one built on
the basis of self-placements made by the parties (through direct or indirect

39
The existence of differences is supported by the high values of standardized residuals.
40
As far as we know, in Romania’s case, there is no analysis of the parties’ programs or
of the leaders’ speeches from this perspective (positioning on left-right axis).
90 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

statements, through party documents) or on the basis of the evaluations made by


experts.
To what extent is the placement of the parties stable over time?41 The
stability of the parties positioning depends not only on the population’s
perceptions, but also on the changes that take place on the political stage. The
parties system in Romania suffered significant modifications (some parties
disappeared, coalitions appeared, but they also suffered modifications along the
reference period), which makes our analysis even more difficult. If we simplify
our analysis a bit and we group the parties according to the affiliation to
different coalitions and the “mother party” (the one from which they separated),
the image of their positioning on left-right axis becomes much clearer
(Appendixes: Table 13). This picture shows a relatively similar positioning of
the parties for the analyzed period, which means that the meanings associated
with the left and right labels aren’t inverted over time.
What happened, during the same period, with the relation between
ideological self-placement and the vote for parties? In order to answer this
question, I used the same type of statistical analysis (univariate analysis of
variance). A measure of the intensity of the relation is given by the explained
variance (partial eta2). Given the fact that a big part of the electors do not
express a voting option, I calculated this index relating to both all the electors
(all the sample) or just to the voters (the ones who express a voting option)
(Table 5).42 Generally speaking, almost a sixth part of the self-placement
variable is explained by the variance of the vote variable. The percent of the
explained variance is significantly bigger than the variance explained by the
socio-demographic variables.43 The data we obtained seem to indicate a slightly
descendant tendency of the explained variance by vote, even if the distribution
oscillates with two decrease points (1997 and 2006). If we group the years, we
come to a more simplified variant, which indicates a slight decrease of the
variance explained by vote. 44

41
In Russia’s case, an inversion of the sense of the association (Evans and Whitefield,
1998) and implicitly, of positioning the parties on the left-right axis can be noticed.
42
This practice is often met in similar analyses and the explanations are very simple. On
one hand, in Europe, its identification in rarely measured, and, on the other hand, the
ignorance related to the ones who don’t have any vote option rises artificially the
intensity of the relation between the two variables (as it can be seen in the case of this
analysis, too).
43
It must not be forgotten the fact that a part of social influence over positioning can be
transmitted immediately, through vote.
44
To what extent this tendency is a real one or rather represents the result of the
differences in collecting data or in collecting the selection variations is a question to
which the answer can be given after testing the relation on other data sets, too.
91
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 5. The intensity of the relation between self-placement and vote (explained variance)
45
Explained variance(%) 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 average
Voters 18 13 20 17 18 11 16
Electors 14 10 17 11 14 7 12

Voters 18 17 15 16
Electors 14 13 11 12

The average of the variance explained by partisanship (the vote for


party) at the level of the EU countries is, generally, much higher in EU
countries. Consequently, in the 80s, the average was 33% and, in the 90s; the
average was 35% (Knutsen, 1997). Among the EU countries that we took into
account, only in case of Belgium and Ireland low values of explained variance
were registered, relatively close to what we obtained for Romania.

Attitudinal-axiological bases of self-placement


Left and right are associated (in the specialized literature, in political
actors’ programs, by common persons) with the preference for certain values
and social policies. In this way, the left is associated with socialism and the
right with capitalism, middle class, private property, liberty, etc. Of course, at
the level of each individual these accents can differ, but we also expect that,
statistically, these dimensions should partially overlap the left-right
dimension.46 In order to test these relations in Romania’s case too, we used a set
of items which measure the individuals’ position related to different
controversies like the following ones: equality versus liberty, low versus high
differences among salaries, state property versus private property, state’s
responsibility versus individual’s responsibility, the efficiency of competition
versus the inefficiency of competition, success being a matter of luck and
relations versus a matter of work, etc. In order to illustrate the relation between
these attitudes and self-placement on the left-right axis, we reduced the number
of self-placement categories at five and we calculated the average of attitudes
within this framework (Figure 11). Also, for making the interpretation easier,
we inverted some attitudinal dimensions so that the dimensions indicating a left
ideological orientation position to the left of the diagram and the ones that
indicate right ideological orientation position to the right of the diagram. As one
can notice from the graph, in the case of the most part of attitudinal dimensions,
this tendency is present (in the case of the “work versus luck and relations”

45
Eta2parţial obtained through univariate analysis of variance.
46
The data from Germany, but also from other countries show that there is a connection
between the respondents’ position on the left-right axis and the preference for liberty
versus equality (with the meaning of social justice) (Noelle-Neumann, 1998).
92 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

dimension there cannot be any association noticed), without being very


pronounced. Indeed, self-placement to the left can be associated with the
preference for values, policies and beliefs like: social equality (either general, or
particular, in the case of salaries), the conservation of the function of the state
(at a general economic level or through social protection), the limitation of
competition, social exploitation as a way of obtaining welfare, the fatalistic
view over life. Reciprocally, persons with right affiliations are more oriented to
freedom valorization, to higher differences among salaries valorization, to
private property, to individual responsibility for one’s own welfare, to the
positive role of competition, the rise of the level of richness for everyone and
individuals’ self-determinacy.
On the basis of the average size of the correlation indexes with a certain
orientation (Table 6), we can state that, in the case of Romania’s population,
left-right dimension is more connected to two main values: accepted social
inequality (low differences versus high differences among salaries, the choice of
equality in detriment of freedom) and the relation between the state and
individual (the responsibility of welfare comes to the state or to the individual,
the preference for private ownership versus state ownership). This conclusion is
also sustained by the relative importance of the attitudinal dimensions that
shape these values (Annexes: Table 14, Table 15).
Has the direction of the association between these attitudes and self-
placement changed meanwhile?47 In order to analyze this relation over time,
given the fact that the majority of the variables were measured on an ordinal
scale with 10 steps, we used as a measure the correlation coefficient (Table 6).
Even if related to a certain attitude, the size of the coefficients varies year by
year (and sometimes is statistically insignificant), there is no situation in which
the direction of the relation inverts. Consequently, we can state that the relation
between self-placement and different attitudes implied by the left or right
orientations has not inverted over time.
But has the intensity of the relation between attitudes and self-
placement changed over time? Even if there were changes related to the
intensity of the correlation between self-placement and a certain attitude or to
the size of the average correlation, there is no clearly defined tendency in this
respect. For 1993, there is an average correlation fairly higher which decreases
during 1997 and 1999 and then remains constant. This observation is truly
independent of the way in which we calculate the average correlation (all the
items or just the common items).

47
In Russia, the direction of the correlations between the left-right scale and other
scales (economic liberalism, political liberalism, nationalism, democracy, etc.) inverted
between 1993 and 1996 (Evans and Whitefield, 1998).
93
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 11. The relation between self-placement on the left-right axis and different
value preferences
7.0 7.4
Equality is 6.1 5.7
6.8
Freedom is
more
more important
important than
than equality
freedom
Salary’s 5.3 5.7 Salary’s
5.0
differences 4.1 3.7 differences
should be should be
lower higher
State property 5.4 6.0 Private
4.6 4.5 4.6
should property
expand and should expand
develop and develop
Each
The State
individual
should 5.1 5.5 5.6
should assume
assume more 3.7 3.8
more
responsibility
responsibility
for everyone’s
for his/her own
welfare
welfare
Competition is
Competition
good. It helps
is a bad thing. 3.7
2.7 3.2 3.4 3.5 people to work
It highlights
harder and
the worst part
develop new
in people.
ideas
Success is Long term,
mostly a 3.1 3.6 3.4 3.7 3.3 work usually
matter of luck makes a better
and relations life
People can 7.2
become rich 6.2 5.7 6.1 6.3 Welfare can
only on rise for
others’ everyone
account
6,8 7,3
Everything in 6,2 5,8 6,4 Every person
life is chooses his or
determined by her own
destiny. destiny
left centre-left centre centre-right right

Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data from 2006

* For each polar pair, on the rows, each respondent evaluated its position on a 10 point scale,
where 1 means complete accord with left side statement, and 10 complete accord with the right
one. For each point on the left-right dimension, the mean evaluation of the respondents from the
respective class was computed and graphically represented in the figure.
Way of interpreting: The respondents who self-positioned to the left are in a higher degree in
accord with the statement „The State should assume more responsibility for everyone’s welfare”,
and those who self-positioned to the right are in a higher degree in accord with the statement
„Each individual should assume more responsibility for his/her own welfare” (the mean rises
from the left to the right).

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Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases
Table 6. The correlation between different attitudinal-axiological orientations and
ideological self-placement
Item 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 average
materialism vs. post-materialism 0.23 - 0.10 (0.04) (0.04) - 0.10
preference for equality vs. freedom 0.20 0.05 - - 0.09 0.18 0.13
salary should be equal for everyone - - - - 0.05 - 0.05
economic problems should prevail over
- - 0.06 - (0.02) - 0.04
the ecologic problems
it would be bad if the difference among
0.33 0.16 0.27 0.19 0.10 0.21 0.21
salaries rose
state property should prevail over private
0.26 (0.04) 0.24 (0.05) (0.05) 0.12 0.13
property
responsibility for individual welfare
should belong to the state vs. to the 0.17 (0.03) 0.16 0.09 0.11 0.22 0.13
individual
competition is a bad thing vs. a good
0.12 0.07 0.09 (0.00 0.11 0.11 0.08
thing
success in life is a matter of luck and (-
(0.04) (0.03) - (0.05) (0.04) 0.03
relations vs. work 0.01)
richness can rise only on others’
account, cannot rise simultaneously for 0.11 0.16 0.09 - (0.00) 0.12 0.10
everyone
the way in life is guided: by destiny vs.
- - - - 0.10 0.16 0.13
self-determinacy
unemployed persons have the right to
0.11 (0.05) - (0.06) - - 0.07
refuse a job vs. they must accept any job
public houses should be controlled by
- - - (0.02) - - 0.02
the state vs. have a greater freedom
responsible for the pension is the state
- - - (0.01) - - 0.01
vs. the individual
responsible for the residence is the state
- - - (0.01) - - 0.01
vs. the individual
major changes should be made with
0.14 0.09 (-0.02) 0.11 - - 0.08
attention vs. firm action
good ideas are old ideas vs. new ideas 0.12 0.08 0.06 - - - 0.09
average of all the items 0.16 0.08 0.11 0.06 0.07 0.15 0.10
average of common items 0.22 0.08 0.19 0.08 0.09 0.17 0.14
average of all the items 0.16 0.08 0.11 0.12
average of common items 0.22 0.12 0.13 0.16

Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data from 2006; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1998,
1999 and 2005
The sign "-" means that the item wasn’t asked in that year/survey. Parentheses indicate
the fact that the relations are not significant (p>0.05). Calculating the averages was done
also including some statistically not significant coefficients.

95
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Even if in the case of average values of the correlation indexes, we


observed rather a slight decrease tendency, it is possible that the variance
explained by all attitudes simultaneously show a totally different outcome.48 For
this we calculated the variance explained for every year, considering either all
the items or the items present in all the research done (Table 7)

Table 7. The intensity of the relation between self-positioning and aptitudes


(explained variance)
Explained
1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 average
variance (%)49
All the items 15 3 11 5 3 9 8
Common items 13 2 13 4 2 7 7

All the items 15 6 6 9


Common items 13 6 5 8
Source: Analyses based on BOP–FSD 2006 data; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999
and 2005

The multivariate analysis shows the same tendency, which is the total
explained variance falling over time. 50 Therefore, if we look just at the common
items, the explained variance decreases from 13% in 1993 to 5% in 2005-6. As
a conclusion, in relation with the attitudinal-axiological directions, we cannot
speak of a clarification in the meaning of left and right concepts, but rather of an
opposite process (de-crystallization). 51
The overall explained variance by value orientations related to Romania
is placed at approximately half the average of the other UE countries. If in
Romania a decrease tendency can be observed in the explained variance of the
value orientations, in the other EU countries the situation is reverse. Thus, the

48
In the case of a similar analysis referring to Russia, the relation between left-right
scale and other scales (economic liberalism, politic liberalism, nationalism, democracy,
etc.) was tested. It was noticed that between 1993 and 1996 there was a rise of the
correlation indexes. The same conclusion emerged through the multiple regression
analysis (R2 rose) (Evans and Whitefield, 1998), but this concordance is not mandatory.
49 2
R adj was obtained by multiple linear regressions.
50
The data shows a relatively large variation from year to year regarding the total
explained variance. It is more likely that the differences are the result of a fluctuation in
the sampling, in the construction of the questionnaires (regarding the order and place of
the questions, as the actual phrasing of the questions was nearly identical), or in the data
gathering process.
51
The decrease of the explained variance over time shows that the left-right dimension
has shared meanings, at the level of the population, only in a low degree (either less
shared meanings, or the existing ones but to a lower extent). Consequently we cannot
speak of a clarification of meaning or definition with regard to this dimension.
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Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

average of the variance explained by value orientations (religious values,52 left-


right materialist values, materialism-postmaterialism) at the level of the EU
countries (Knutsen, 1997) was at 19% in 1981 and at 22% in 1990.

Ideological self-positioning: between party loyalty and values


The individual analyses presented before have shown that, in the case of
Romania, the self-positioning on the left-right axis doesn’t depend in a large
degree on other factors. Thus, it depends to a small extent on the social structure
(the explained variance is just 6-8%) and in a somewhat larger extent upon the
party orientation (12-16%). In comparison with other EU countries, in Romania,
the relation between self-positioning and the social structure is almost as strong,
but this happens given the conditions in which the model built for Romania
includes a much higher number of socio-demographic variables (Freire, 2006).
The links between self-positioning and values, respectively between self-
positioning and voting standards are situated at approximately half of the
average of the other EU countries. We point out the fact that the obtained values
for the explained variance presented before have resulted from individual
analyses (the models included one after the other all the socio-demographic
variables, as well as voting habits and value orientations). To be presented with
a clearer picture we should cross over the bivariate level to the multivariate
level. 53 In this new context it is to be expected that the effects of party loyalty
and axiological orientations is smaller because of the initial partial overlapping
of the influences.54 Moving from the bivariate level to the multivariate level is
not simple. The usage of regression analysis, no matter the type, doesn’t take
into account the temporal order of the variables, which is an essential condition

52
As opposed to the EU situation, in Romania the religious values are not highly
associated (depending on how they are used) with ideological self-positioning; for this
reason they are not included in the multivariate analysis. Consequently, in a study
(Knutsen, 1997) that took into account EVS data from 13 countries from Western
Europe, it has been concluded that religious values (measured through the question:
“How important is God in your life?”) correlate with self-positioning to a high degree
(0.12-0.30). The correlation of the same variables in the case of Romania is 0.00
(EVS&WVS, 2005).
53
Some of the presented analysis is multivariate as well. What is being attempted here
is to estimate the concurrent influence of the variables that are in relation to the party
and axiological base of self-positioning; multivariate refers to the fact that we take into
account more than one dimension (each with more than one indicator).
54
The value orientations and the voting options are associated, and the univariate
analysis of variance shows that there is a significant interaction between them (the
percentage of the explained variance is sometimes larger than the interaction between
these components, over the value component).
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

for a causal explicative model (Bartle, 1998).55 If, in case of the socio-
demographic variables56, it is somewhat clear that they represent the antecedents
(preconditions) for the values and political option, the relation between these
last two is less clear. Building on the assumption that the self-positioning
variable is dependent,57 at least on the theoretical level, the relations between
the three variables involved (values, voting options and self-placement, with the
last being considered as dependent) may take different forms, two of which are
synthesized in Figure12.
In the case of model A, the relation between the axiological orientation
and the party orientations is ambiguous, with some of the explained variance
overlapping (there is a common part). If we introduce an ordering relation
between these two variables, using the value orientation anterior to the voting,
the relation changes into that of model B. In the case of this model, the common
variance is attributed to the axiological orientations. In both models, it is
considered that self-placement is a function of two parameters: the value
orientation and the voting option. In other words, individuals with certain
values, or individuals who prefer a certain party are consequently positioned,
without necessarily having a clear picture of what this positioning entails
(Inglehart and Klingemann, 1976).

55
If we want to explain self-positioning, we have to go by the condition of variables
temporal ordering. If we are only after a prediction, following that condition is not
necessary, therefore we may use regression models as well.
56
It may be added that, even among the socio-demographic variables there is a certain
temporal order, and therefore their influence is not only direct but indirect as well (for
example, the gender variable may influence self-positioning both directly or through the
socio-economic status).
57
Theoretically, the relation between the voting option and self-positioning may be of
two-ways: (1) “I” prefers the X party, where X is a left party, therefore “I” is positioned
to the left, or (2) “I” orientation is for the left, X is a left party, therefore “I” votes with
X. The bivariate analysis shows that the influence is indeed bi-directional, but also that
the level of influence of voting is larger than the influence of self-positioning (if the
dependent variable is vote, then Eta is 0.27, and if the dependent variable is self-
positioning, then Eta is 0.42; EVS&WVS, 2005).
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Figure 12. The alternative causal models of value orientation variables, voting
options and ideological self-positioning
A B
Experimental classical design Hierarchical decomposition
Ambiguous relation between Values before voting
values and voting options

Values Values

Left-right self- Left-right self-


placement placement

Vote Vote

Unique Common Unique Value Party


value component party component component

Source: After Knutsen, 1997.

But which of the two is of more importance in determining the position


on the left-right axis? To answer that question, we built a series of univariate
analysis of variance models and multiple linear regression models, and we
compared the explained variance, taking each component into account (Table 8:
A and B) (we made a decomposition of the total explained variance into explicit
variances of each of the three components, two of them unique and one that is
common and used for the interaction of the other two).58 To make the
longitudinal interpretation of the data easier, and, at the same time, using an
attenuation of the variations resulting from the differences in data collection
methods, we built a simplified representation of this table as well, separating the
data depending on the research year.59

58
The two tables, A and B, are the result of the two different methods used in the
explained variance calculation regarding the three components (a partially different
method was used in the calculation of the axiological component).
59
Given the relatively high variance of values from year to year (most probably because
of the rather small samples on which these analyses have been performed and as a
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 8A. The link between voting options values and left-right self-positioning:
the variance explained by the unique party component (vote), the unique value
component and the compounded component
The percentage of the explained
A Explained variance (%) The decomposed explained variance (%)
variance (%)
unique
unique to
values voting total common to the values common voting
Year the value
(1) (2) (3) (5) vote (7) (8) (9)
(4)
(6)
1993 15 12 20 8 7 5 38 36 26
1997 3 8 10 2 0 8 20 5 75
1998 11 16 22 7 4 11 30 19 51
1999 5 9 12 3 1 7 28 11 61
2005 3 13 15 2 1 12 11 7 82
2006 9 7 12 6 3 4 48 24 28
Average 7 11 15 5 3 8 29 17 54

1993 15 12 20 8 7 5 38 36 26
97-99 6 11 15 4 2 9 27 14 59
05-06 6 10 14 4 2 8 27 15 58
Average 9 11 16 5 4 7 32 23 45

Building this table included the following steps: (a) the explained variances of value is
calculated (multiple linear regression, with self-positioning as the dependent variable
and the axiological orientations as the independent variables); after that, the variances
explained by vote intentions are calculated (using univariate analysis of variance, with
self-positioning as the dependent variable and the voting option as the independent
variable, were the undecided are included); the explained variances in both voting
options and values are simultaneously calculated (using univariate analysis of variance,
with self-positioning as the dependent variable and both voting options and axiological
orientations as the independent variables); in the table, these variances are shown in the
columns 1 to 3; (b) the variance is calculated for the two unique components and for the
common one; for the unique component representing the voting option (column 6), a
subtraction is made from the total variances of the value component (column 3 –
column 1); for the unique axiological component (column 4) another subtraction is
made from the total variance of the voting option component (column 3 – column 2);
for the common component (column 5), the variance of the unique components (column
4 and column 6) is subtracted from the total variance; (c) the percentages of the
explained variances for the three components are calculated (columns 7 through 9) by
dividing the variance of each component by the total variance (columns 7 to 9, each
divided by column 3). The items used for the measurement of the value component have
been different year by year (only 4 of them are common, the ones with the higher
degree of explanatory power). For a higher degree of certainty regarding data validity

further result of the small percentage of those who self-position or have a party option)
it is more secure to work related to the average values of close years.
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we have redone the analysis using only the common items and the obtained values are
nearly identical (the explained variance of values has decreased to a very small extent).

Table 8B. The link between voting options values and left-right self-positioning:
the variance explained by the unique party component (vote), the unique value
component and the compounded component
2 2 The percentage of the
B R Eta partial
explained variances (%)
Year total total values interaction voting values interaction voting
1993 16 21 7 5 9 33 22 45
1997 10 15 0 5 10 3 32 65
1998 19 24 8 2 14 32 10 58
1999 9 14 0 5 8 3 36 61
2005 15 18 2 3 13 12 16 73
2006 13 16 8 2 6 48 12 40
Average 14 18 4 4 10 22 21 57

93 16 21 7 5 9 33 22 45
97-99 13 18 3 4 11 13 26 61
05-06 14 17 5 2 10 30 14 56
Average 14 19 5 4 10 25 21 54

The table presents in a synthetic manner, the results of a group of models used in
univariate analysis of variance (SPSS Base 15.0 User’s Guide, 2006; Page et al, 2003;
Lawrence et al, 2006). The dependent variable is self-positioning and the independent
variables are value orientations (the covariate variable, built through factorial analysis
of the common variables of value) and the voting options (the factor variable; included
here are the non-voters, the undecided and the non-respondents); the interaction
between the two was also included. Starting with the presupposition that the value
orientations precede voting options, the used method for the calculation of the sum-of-
squared deviations was hierarchical decomposition (type I in SPSS), with the variable
taking part of the model in the following order: values, values * voting, voting. The
explained variances appearing in column R2 and Eta2partial differ (the latter is larger than
the first) because of the fact that R2 is calculated based on the assumption that the
relations are linear.
Source: Analyses based on BOP–FSD 2006; EVS&WVS, 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999 and
2005 data.

The data shown here indicates that the self-positioning on the left-right
axis is dependent only in a relatively small extent on the value orientations or on
voting options (independent or not). Only in two situations (1993 and 1998) the
total explained variance was above 20%, with the average on all the other years
situated at 15-19% (depending on the measurement methods). From a series of

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

similar models created for other Western European countries (Knutsen, 1997),
in the 1990s, only Ireland and Belgium had a total explained variance of similar
proportions, with all the other countries rising to as much as 52%, and an
average of 40%, double in comparison with Romania. In conclusion, in the case
of Romania, the link between voting or values and self-positioning is much
weaker.
The explained variances of the three components are close enough, but
the unique component representing the voting option is clearly the largest. Thus,
the average explained variance of the unique component of voting options is 8%
(10%), whereas that of the unique value component is at 5% and that of the
common component at 3% (4%) (the values differ if the years are
compounded). The relative percentage of the explained variance in each of these
three components does not differ much in relation to the means of the
calculation. Thus, in the case of variant A, the percentages are as follows
(between parenthesis the B variant): the unique component of vote option 45%
(54%), the unique component of values 32% (25%) and the common component
23% (21%). It can be therefore concluded that, in Romania, self-positioning
depends more on the party preference and less on the values orientation. Even
more, the influence mediated by the voting procedure of the values over self-
positioning is low too. In comparison with other European countries (Knutsen,
1997), in Romania the unique component of the voting option has a similar
percentage (the average over 13 countries, in the 90s is 47%), with the
percentage for the unique component of value a little higher (14%) and that for
the common component a little lower (39%). As it can be seen in these
countries, the influence mediated by the voting process over self-positioning
which is comparable with that of voting itself. What follows from these
observations is that the causal model that corresponds to Romania is largely
similar to a type A model, whereas the B model fits more with Western
European countries. Still, taking into account that we consider the values as
being anterior to the voting options, the two factors determine in an
approximately equal extent the value of self-positioning on the left-right axis;
the situations is similar to the averages observed in case of other EU countries
(Knutsen, 1997).
What is happening to the size of the explained variance over time? In
both calculation models, it can be observed that the total explained variance
slowly decreases in time, with the fall being concentrated in the 1993-1999
period. Thus, if at the beginning of this period, the total explained variances
were at 21% (20%), the average for the 1997 to1999 interval had decreased to
15% (18%), and at the end of the period being as low as 14% (17%). What’s
more, this decrease is completely the result of the lowering of the unique and
common value variances, given the fact that the variance of the unique
component of voting option is constant or slowly growing. The observed
tendency in the case of Romania cannot be found in the EU space (where the

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Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

total explained variance is measured in the 1981-1990 period, with the average
over 13 countries at approximately 36%; Knutsen, 1997).
Another difference which can be observed is related to the variance of
the three components percentages over time. Considering similar analysis
(Knutsen, 1997), for the 1981-1990 period, in Western European countries a
small growth can be observed in the unique value component and a decrease in
the voting option component. What’s more, further observation shows that the
percentage of the common component tends to grow when the development
level of the country is more evolved (the two aspects have a strong correlation
to one another). 60 As a result of these observations, we may expect that, in
Romania’s case as well, the percentage of the common component would be
relatively smaller at the beginning of the reference period, and also that it would
grow over time. The analysis result shows a different tendency instead. The
percentage of the common component is high enough at the beginning of the
period and, contrary to what was believed, it decreases during the reference
period, as opposed to the percentage of the voting option unique component that
tends to go slowly up. On the other hand, the aforementioned tendencies take
place in the 1993-1999 timeframe. After this period, the level of the explained
variance of each of the three components remains approximately unchanged, or
it tends to come back to the level it was at in 1993 (in relation to the years
average and taking into account both methods of calculus).
In conclusion, in comparison with the EU countries, in Romania the
situation looks a little different, regarding the following aspects: (1) the total
variance explained by voting options and values, related to self-positioning on
the left-right axis is much lower in Romania (about half of the EU average); (2)
the relative percentages of the three components in relation to the total
explained variance differ: the unique components (voting options and value
orientations) each has a larger percentage in Romania, whereas the common
component has a lower percentage; (3) the absolute size of the unique voting
component slowly increases over time, while the size of the common
component decreases and (4) the percentage of the unique voting component
increases over time, while the size of the common component decreases.
What is the significance of this observation? Briefly, it concerns the
motion between conflicts based on class and conflicts based on value
orientations. If this tendency is present in Western countries (Knutsen, 1995b),
in Romania, things seem to be just the opposite, at least in the 1993-1999
timeframe. 61 The cognitive mobility that characterizes advanced industrial

60
They are measured through the PIB indicators in relation to each individual and the
percentage of the service sector.
61
They only “seem to be”, given the fact that for the beginning period of democracy in
Romania, we have only one set of data available (1993). To be sure that was the state of
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

societies has, over time, determined their citizens to vote more and more by
taking into account value orientations and also to self-position themselves on
the left-right axis relating to both party preference and value orientations. In the
case of Romania, the self-positioning process is carried out mainly related to
voting options, without a strong relation between value orientations and voting
options. On the other hand, if the common percentage is attributed to values,
these tend to have a percentage similar to that of the voting option (directly or not).

Conclusions
Romania’s population is characterized by an average level (related to
the used scale) of ideological identification.62 Thus, only a little over a half of
the sample group manages to self-position on the left-right axis. Related to other
cultural environments, the level of identification is very low, and in most of the
European countries, the percentage of individuals that are capable of self-
positioning on the left-right axis is significantly larger.
Even though only a half of the sample group believe that they know the
meaning of the concepts of political right and left, only a third are capable of
attributing to these labels one of the meanings that is recognized to be correct.
In comparison with other countries, the level of ideological sophistication63 of
the Romanians is significantly lower.
The level of ideological identification varies to a large extent with the
different characteristics of the individual from the sample group. The usage of
the left-right axis is larger among men, or among individuals with a higher
education, a higher social status, a higher degree of political involvement or
information. Although we may see a rise in the level of ideological
identification over time, the data appear to be relatively stable. In comparison
with other countries (ex-communist or not, with the exception of the countries
of the former USSR), Romania is among the ones with the lowest level of
ideological identification. The irrelevance of the left and right terms for
approximately half of Romania’s population is mainly the result of their
absence from the public vocabulary of the opinion leaders (political or non-
political) after 1989.

things at that moment, the replication of the analysis would be necessary using another
set of data from that year or from a close year.
62
This signifies the usage of the left-right axis in the description of the political space,
without necessarily attributing the same meanings to the terms (Fuchs and Klingemann,
1990: 205).
63
This signifies both the usage of the left-right axis as well as the usage of the same
meanings for the terms (Fuchs and Klingemann, 1990: 205).
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The percentage of ideological and pragmatic contents (living levels)


differs in the definition of the two poles. 64 Consequently, left means ideology to
a larger extent (31%) in comparison with right (22%, if we add the two
components: liberalism and market economy). In the case of the left concept,
the political dimension dominates, whereas for the right, a differentiation is
made between the economical dimension (market economy) and the political
one (liberalism). The “final” objectives of the left (social protection) and of the
right (generalized welfare) are identified in approximately the same degree
(12%, respectively 15%). For Romanian citizens, the left and right concepts
mainly target the political actors (the symbolic components), political goals
(valence component) and only after these two, the means by which these goals
are reached (the public political component).
On average, Romanians population more likely places to the right (5.9
on a scale of 1 to 10). In the majority of European societies, the citizens position
more to the left. No matter the reference period, about half of the population
self-positions in the centre, about a third to the right and one fifth to the left (the
percentages are calculated in relation to the complete number of individuals
who self-position). In the 1993-2006 timeframe, we see in Romania an
ideological polarization process taking place (the percentage centre-orientated
decreases as the right percentage increases).
The relation between the socio-demographic variable and self-
positioning is weak. Self-positioning on the left-right axis makes a significant
statistical distinction between the categories of most socio-demographic
variables, but the differences are not too large: there are no self-positioning
differences relating to gender; individuals orientated towards the political right
are, on average, younger and more educated, with higher incomes, living in
larger communities and with a higher social status (the left has the opposite
profile). The data shows a large stability in self-positioning related to different
socio-demographic categories; generally the categories that are, at some point in
time, more right/left orientated, keep their relative positioning over time.
Based on the self-positioning of voters, the only party clearly placed to
the left is the PSD, with PRM and PNG in the centre and the DA Alliance, PD,
UDMR and PNL to the right. The dispersion of the parties on the left-right axis
based on the average positions of voters seems to be in conformity with the
intuitive placement based on party self-positioning (using direct or indirect
affirmations or through party documents) or on expert evaluation. Also, the data
show a similar relative positioning of parties in the analyzed period, which
means that the meanings associated with the left and right labels have not been
reversed over time.

64
The percentages are computed by reporting the total number of individuals that
answered with a definition.
105
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Self-positioning on the left-right axis is more tightly connected with


two main values: the accepted social inequality (small differences vs. large
income differences, the option for equality in the detriment of freedom) and the
relation between the state and the person (responsibility for the welfare falling
on the state vs. on the individual, preference for state vs. private propriety). The
relation between self-positioning and the different attitudinal-axiological
orientations have kept its meaning over time. On the other hand, related to the
attitudinal-axiological orientations, we cannot talk about a clarification of the
meanings attributed to the left and right concepts (rather we are witnesses to a
reverse process of ambiguity).
Self-placement depends only to a small extent on the social structure
(the explained variance is only 6-8%) and in a somewhat larger extent on the
axiological orientations (8-9%) or on party options (12-16%). In comparison
with other EU countries, in Romania, the relation between the social structure
and self-positioning is nearly as strong, and the relations between self-
positioning and value orientations, respectively between self-positioning and
voting options is situated at approximately half of the average of these other
countries.
The relation between self-positioning on the left-right axis and value
orientations and voting options (independent or not) is relatively small. Only in
two situations (1993 and 1998) the total explained variance rises above 20%,
with the average over all these years amounting to 15-19%. The total variance is
to be distributed into three components, as follows: 8-10% the unique voting
component, 5% the unique value component and 3-4% the common component.
If we believe that values precede the votes, then the explained variance in
voting is nearly equal to the explained variance in values (the effects are
summed up both directly and indirectly).
In conclusion, in Romania, the ideological self-positioning works as a
heuristic tool only for a small percentage of individuals. The main arguments
for this are the low level of notoriety and usage of the left and right concepts, as
well as the weak connection between self-positioning and the social bases, both
party related and axiological.

106 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

Annexes
Table 9. Total standardized effects of the explanatory model of the left-right
dimension usage
Type of Sex Salary per Subjective Interest in
Total effects
locality (feminine) Age Education person class politics Information
Education 0.42 -0.10 -0.30 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Salary per
0.45 -0.05 0.01 0.46 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
person
Subjective
0.27 -0.05 -0.10 0.46 0.29 0.00 0.00 0.00
class
Interest in
0.08 -0.24 0.00 0.18 0.02 0.07 0.00 0.00
politics
Information 0.32 -0.14 -0.12 0.48 0.13 0.15 0.15 0.00
Usage of the
0.17 -0.17 -0.09 0.21 0.04 0.11 0.35 0.12
dimension
Source: Analyses based in EVS&WVS data from 2005.

Table 10. Direct standardized effects of the explanatory model of the left-right
dimension usage
Type of Sex Salary per Subjective Interest in
Direct Effects
locality (feminine) Age Education person class politics Information
Education 0.42 -0.10 -0.30 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Salary per
0.26 0.00 0.15 0.46 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
person
Subjective
0.00 0.00 0.00 0.33 0.29 0.00 0.00 0.00
class
Interest in
0.00 -0.22 0.05 0.15 0.00 0.07 0.00 0.00
politics
Information 0.08 -0.06 0.00 0.35 0.08 0.14 0.15 0.00
Usage of the
0.06 -0.07 -0.05 0.06 0.00 0.07 0.34 0.12
dimension
Source: Analyses based on EVS&WVS data from 2005.

Table 11. Indirect standardized effects of the explanatory model of the left-right
dimension usage
Indirect Type of Sex Salary per Subjective Interest in
Age Education Information
effects locality (feminine) person class politics
Education 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
Salary per
0.20 -0.05 -0.14 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
person
Subjective
0.27 -0.05 -0.10 0.13 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00
class
Interest in
0.08 -0.02 -0.05 0.03 0.02 0.00 0.00 0.00
politics
Information 0.24 -0.08 -0.12 0.13 0.04 0.01 0.00 0.00
Usage of the
0.11 -0.10 -0.04 0.15 0.04 0.04 0.01 0.00
dimension
Source: Analyses based on EVS&WVS data from 2005

107
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 12. The evolution of self-placement within different categories of population
Average of the self- The difference between the average
Population placement of the category and the average of the
(1=left; 10=right) population
Year 1993 1998 1999 2005 1993 1998 1999 2005
Total population 5.7 5.3 5.8 6.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Men 5.6 5.3 5.8 6.0 -0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
Women 5.7 5.3 5.8 6.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
18-34 years 5.9 5.4 6.2 6.2 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.2
35-54 years 5.7 5.3 5.7 6.1 0.0 0.0 -0.2 0.1
55+ years 5.5 5.2 5.6 5.6 -0.2 -0.1 -0.2 -0.4
At most comprehensive
5.5 5.1 6.3 5.5 -0.1 -0.3 0.5 -0.5
school
Apprentices, unfinished
5.7 5.2 5.5 5.8 0.0 -0.1 -0.3 -0.2
college
College, further education,
5.7 5.3 5.9 6.1 0.0 -0.1 0.1 0.1
unfinished faculty
Faculty, M.A., PhD 5.9 5.9 5.5 6.5 0.2 0.6 -0.3 0.5
Lower class - 4.9 - 5.6 - -0.4 - -0.4
Labor class - 4.9 - 5.6 - -0.4 - -0.4
Down part of the
- 5.6 - 6.2 - 0.3 - 0.2
middle class
Upper part of the
- 5.6 - 6.6 - 0.3 - 0.6
middle class
Low salary 5.5 5.2 6.3 5.7 -0.1 -0.1 0.4 -0.3
Medium salary 5.7 5.3 5.6 5.9 0.0 0.0 -0.3 -0.1
High salary 5.8 5.6 5.8 6.2 0.1 0.3 -0.1 0.2
Rural-peripheral 5.5 5.3 5.5 5.7 -0.2 0.0 -0.3 -0.3
Rural-center 5.5 5.0 6.4 5.9 -0.2 -0.3 0.6 -0.1
Small urban 5.7 5.2 5.6 6.1 0.0 -0.1 -0.2 0.1
Big urban 5.8 5.6 5.8 6.1 0.2 0.3 -0.1 0.1
Employed - high 5.9 5.8 5.7 6.6 0.2 0.4 -0.1 0.6
Employed - medium 5.6 5.2 5.8 6.2 -0.1 -0.1 0.0 0.2
Employed - low 5.8 4.9 5.5 5.8 0.1 -0.5 -0.3 -0.2
Retired person 5.5 5.4 6.1 5.6 -0.2 0.1 0.3 -0.4
Housewife, stay-at-home 5.7 5.7 6.3 6.1 0.0 0.4 0.5 0.1
Student/pupil 6.6 5.3 6.6 6.1 0.9 0.0 0.8 0.1
Unemployed 4.0 5.6 5.7 6.2 -1.7 0.3 -0.2 0.2
Trade union’s
member/professional 5.9 5.5 5.7 6.7 0.2 0.2 -0.1 0.7
association’s member
Non-member of a
trade
5.6 5.9 5.7 5.9 0.0 0.6 -0.1 -0.1
union/professional
association
No confidence in trade
5.9 5.4 5.8 5.8 0.2 0.0 0.0 -0.2
unions and companies
High confidence in trade
5.5 5.2 5.9 6.1 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.1
unions and companies

108 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases
Average of the self- The difference between the average
Population placement of the category and the average of the
(1=left; 10=right) population
Very high confidence in
trade unions and 5.4 5.5 - 6.4 -0.3 0.1 - 0.4
companies
Going to Church-once
a year/more 5.5 5.2 5.9 6.3 -0.2 -0.2 0.1 0.3
seldom/not at all
Going to Church-at
5.7 5.4 5.9 6.2 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2
festivals
Going to Church-once
5.8 5.3 5.8 5.7 0.1 0.0 0.0 -0.3
a month
Going to Church-once
5.7 5.5 5.6 5.8 0.0 0.2 -0.2 -0.2
a week
Member of a religious
5.7 - 6.0 6.1 0.0 - 0.2 0.1
organization
Non-member of a religious
5.7 - 5.8 6.0 0.0 - 0.0 0.0
organization
Low confidence in
5.9 5.2 5.9 6.5 0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.5
Church
High confidence in
5.7 5.4 5.6 5.7 0.0 0.1 -0.2 -0.3
Church
Very high confidence
5.5 5.3 5.9 6.0 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.0
in Church
Source: Analyses based on EVS&WVS data from 1993, 1998, 1999and 2005

109
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 13. Parties’ self-placement on the left-right axis (the average of the self-
placements of the party’s voters; 1=left; 10=right)
Political formation 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006
PNTCD 6.8 6.8 6.3 7.5
PNL 6.4 6.9 6.9 7.4 7.4 6.9
PD 5.8 5.7 5.7 6.9 6.4
CDR 6.3 6.1
PNL - PNTCD - AC - PE 7.1
DA Alliance 6.7 6.4
FSN 5.3
FDSN 5.1
PDSR 4.7 3.9 5.1
PSDR 4.2 3.3
ApR 4.6 4.8 5.8
PSD 4.4 4.5
PUNR 5.3 4.8 5.0 5.0
PRM 4.6 5.3 4.2 5.1 5.7 5.3
UDMR 6.4 5.7 6.0 5.0 6.6 6.6
AC 6.1
PNL-Youngsters 6.6
PDAR 5.2
PSM 4.2
PNG 5.5

Source: Analyses based on BOP–FSD 2006; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1998, 1999 and
2005

Table 14. The relative importance of different attitudes in explaining the self-
positioning on the left-right axis
Item 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 medie
materialism vs. postmaterialism 0.11 - 0.00 0.04 0.00 - 0.04
equality vs. freedom 0.10 0.00 - - 0.01 0.18 0.07
equal vs. unequal salary - - - - 0.00 - 0.00
economy vs. environment - - 0.04 - 0.00 - 0.02
differences among salaries: bad vs.
0.30 0.05 0.09 0.16 0.15 0.25 0.17
good
property: state vs. private 0.16 0.19 0.13 0.15 0.11 0.02 0.13
responsibility for the living conditions:
0.05 0.15 0.07 0.14 0.27 0.00 0.11
state vs. individual
competition: bad vs. good 0.06 0.03 0.23 0.07 0.07 0.07 0.09
success: luck and relations vs. work 0.03 0.10 0.04 - 0.07 0.04 0.05
richness rises: on others’ account vs. for
0.08 0.14 0.07 - 0.21 0.26 0.15
everyone
one’s way in life: destiny vs. self-
- - - - 0.11 0.18 0.15
determinacy

110 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Ideological self-placement: identification, sophistication, bases

Item 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 medie


unemployed persons: right of refusal vs.
0.05 0.05 - 0.06 - - 0.05
any job
public houses: state control vs. freedom - - - 0.10 - - 0.10
responsible for the pension: state vs.
- - - 0.11 - - 0.11
individual
responsible for the residence: state vs.
- - - 0.05 - - 0.05
individual
major changes: attention vs. action 0.03 0.13 0.26 0.13 - - 0.14
good ideas: old vs. new 0.04 0.16 0.06 - - - 0.09

Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data from 2006; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1998,
1999 and 2005 *Pratt coefficients obtained by regression with categorical variables

Table 15. Relative importance of common attitudes for different research made for
explaining self-placement on the left-right axis
Item 1993 1997 1998 1999 2005 2006 average
differences among
0.61 0.26 0.20 0.31 0.26 0.48 0.35
salaries: bad vs. good
property: state vs.
0.29 0.39 0.22 0.13 0.17 0.14 0.22
private
the responsibility for the
living conditions: state 0.03 0.24 0.27 0.41 0.45 0.11 0.25
vs. individual
competition: bad vs.
0.07 0.11 0.31 0.16 0.12 0.27 0.17
good
Source: Analyses based on BOP-FSD data from 2006; EVS&WVS 1993, 1997, 1998,
1999 and 2005 *Pratt coefficients obtained by regression with categorical variables

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Databases used
Barometer of public opinion (BOP-FSD) (2003, 2006), surveys significant at a national
level for adult uninstitutionalized population, www.osf.ro
European Values Survey (EVS) (1999), series of comparative surveys significant at
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national level for uninstitutionalized adult population,
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World Values Survey (WVS) (1997), series of comparative surveys significant at
national level for uninstitutionalized adult population,
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World Values Survey (WVS) (1998), series of comparative surveys significant at
national level for uninstitutionalized adult population,
www.worldvaluessurvey.org

114 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Institutional trust –
victim of the postcommunist transition
CLAUDIU D. TUFIŞ

To trust or not to trust? Regardless of the answer, this is not really a


question, because all of us have trust. We are different only with respect to the
level of trust and the objects of our trust. But all of us do trust, even if we are
not completely aware of this. A simple example can offer evidence for this
statement. Let’s follow Mr. Escu’s actions on Tuesday morning, between six
and eight: at 6:00 AM the alarm of his electric clock woke him up. He took a
shower and then he went out for a couple of minutes to buy a newspaper, which
he read while having breakfast (eggs, ham, bread, and coffee). At 7:30 AM he
headed to the bus station, stopping on his way to an ATM to pay the bill for his
cell. Once at the bus station, he waited four minutes and then got into the bus
that drove him to work. At 8:00 AM Mr. Escu arrived at his office.
It was a regular weekday morning, just like any other, with an almost
automatic behavior. A morning during which Mr. Escu had trusted at least eight
times, both in other persons and, indirectly, in the state institutions. Even before
waking up, he trusted that there will be no power failures during the night and
that his alarm clock would wake him up in time. He also trusted that when he
would take his shower he would have hot water to clean up. When he bought
the newspaper, he had trust that his money would be accepted by the seller and
that he would get the correct change (he put it in his wallet without even
checking). He trusted that what he read in the newspaper was a correct
description of the events that had happened the other day. While he was eating
breakfast, he trusted that his food was not infected with harmful bacteria. When
he used the ATM, he trusted the bank would transfer the money from his
account into the account of the mobile phone company. Finally, when he got
into the bus he trusted the driver, a completely unknown person, would drive
him to his destination without having an accident. It’s difficult to imagine how
Mr. Escu’s morning would have been if he had not trusted any of the situations

115
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

presented above. Mr. Escu’s morning suggests that trust is necessary for the
proper functioning of a society.
This applies even more in societies that are organized based on the
principles of democracy, because democracy cannot survive in absence of
confidence. Totalitarian or authoritarian regimes also need trust, but, in its
absence, they can survive by repression, which is an inaccessible method for
democratic regimes. The importance of trust is visible in the increasing interest
for this issue in old and established democracies, where the decreasing levels of
trust in the state’s institutions generated academic and public debates (such a
debate was organized at Camp David under the aegis of the US presidency, in
order to discuss the themes treated by Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone).
The subject is all the more important in the new Central and Eastern
European democracies: first, the institutional context of countries in transition is
not stable, but rather in a continuous and complex transformation, with the
purpose of developing a set of institutions that will fit the society’s
characteristics. Secondly, the communist past proves to be extremely
unfavorable to institutional trust: forty years of communism left as heritage a
culture of mistrust in the state and in its institutions, which was built based on
the pre-war culture. All these reasons justify any attempt to understand the
mechanisms of institutional trust.
Most of the studies of post-communist transitions focus on the role of
institutional changes: the countries in transition are assessed according to the
success they had in developing the set of democratic institutions necessary for
creating a strong democracy. There is also a second dimension of transition, just
as important: people’s values, attitudes, and beliefs – the basic components of
political culture. When the elites cooperate, the formation of the new set of
institutions of the democratic system is a fairly easy task. Post-communist
transitions, however, are a complex phenomenon, one that only starts, but does
not end, with the creation of a new institutional complex.
The transition cannot be complete without changing citizens’ attitudes
and behavior in their interactions with the new institutions, and this change is
much more difficult than implementing new institutions: “many people
anticipated that the relationship between citizens and the state would change
immediately and dramatically, but this never happened. A lot of people continue
to be afraid of the authorities and many officials, consciously or not, continue to
behave like masters, or merely refuse to act as a result of their fear to assume
any responsibilities” (Macovei, 1998). The transitions that do not manage to
modify both the institutional and the cultural dimension are destined to fail: a
democratic system that does not manage to gain its citizens’ confidence will
stop, eventually, fulfilling its functions, and this can lead to democratic
breakdown. Fortunately, these are long term predictions, meaning that state
institutions have enough time at their disposal to prove their trustworthiness.

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This chapter is dedicated to the cultural dimension of the post-


communist transition in Romania, trying to uncover whether Romanians have or
do not have trust in their state’s institutions. Previous studies (Mishler and Rose
1997, Rose, Mishler and Haerpfer 1998, Ekiert and Kubik 1999, Mishler and
Rose 2001, Howard 2003) show that all postcommunist countries are
characterized by a deficit of trust, explained by the heritage left by the
communist regimes, institutional inefficiency, and the short period of time that
has passed since the fall of communism. The main goal of the analyses
presented in this chapter is the identification of the factors that influence trust in
the state’s institutions. I will not discuss here about the optimal level of
institutional trust, and I will not argue that all citizens should trust the state’s
institutions (the idea of total consensus, so dear to some politicians, is nothing
but a romantic ideal that cannot be achieved in a complex society). On the
contrary, a certain level of distrust is necessary for the health of a democracy,
transforming citizens into guardians of democracy. In the analyses, I focus
mainly on explaining the level of institutional trust in 2005. I also use data from
1993, 1997, and 1999, but only to present the evolution of institutional trust
over time.
In the next section I discuss a series of theoretical aspects relevant for
trust, emphasizing the connections between trust and risk, trust and social
capital, institutional trust and interpersonal trust, and trust and uncertainty. In
this section, I will also provide a definition for the concept of trust. The chapter
continues with the presentation of the theoretical model used in the analysis and
with the presentation and discussion of the results.

Trust – theoretical aspects


The postcommunist transitions in Central and Eastern Europe have
renewed the interest for the role of trust in the process of democratic
consolidation: “trust is linked to a series of dispositions which stand at the basis
of democratic culture, including tolerance for pluralism and criticism” (Warren
1999: 9). Using a more general formulation, trust consists of “cognitive
schemes and moral dispositions […] which are perceived by theoreticians as a
variable upon which institutional viability depends” (Offe 1999: 42).

Trust and risk


Most of the existing studies on trust can be grouped into two categories,
depending on the theoretical approach they use. The first approach defines trust,
from a rational choice perspective, as “introducing the risk in the decision to
act” (Coleman 1990: 61). The decision to trust is based on a rational calculus
that takes into account all available information. Analyzing the relationship
between trust and risk, Luhmann sees trust as a risky investment whose main

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goal is to reduce the complexity that characterizes modern societies (Luhmann


1979). Beck, in his discussion of modernity and risk, asks: “in modern societies,
the social production of wealth is accompanied, systematically, by the social
production of risk […] How can these risks and dangers, systematically
produced as part of the modernization, be prevented, reduced, or channeled?”
(Beck 1992: 19). Trust is the answer Beck offers to this question.
Although the logic of this approach is attractive by the simplicity and
high degree of generalization it offers, the rational choice theory suffers from a
significant problem that has not been solved: people do not always act the way
rational choice assumptions suggest they should act. “In the attempt to include
trust in a perspective that explains human behavior in terms of maximizing
individual utility, rational choice scholars end up by modifying and distorting
the concept of trust in unrecognizable forms” (Ruscio 1999: 640). Experiment-
based studies prove that empirical results contradict rational choice definitions
of trust (Tyler and Degoey 1996).
The second approach, political culture, defines trust as a combination of
values, attitudes, and beliefs that are shared by the members of a community.
Many theoretical and empirical studies define trust from this perspective, the
most important including Putnam (1993), Fukuyama (1995), Misztal (1996),
Inglehart (1997), and Sztompka (1999). The concept of risk is discussed in this
perspective as well, but as an object of attitudes and not as a major component
of rational calculus. Giddens, for instance, suggests that, in the absence of trust,
individuals should analyze every detail of every interaction with the
environment, which would lead to the individual’s impossibility to act: “trust, in
this sense, is essential for a protection system that guards the individual in his
contacts with day-to-day reality” (Giddens 1991: 3). The state’s total
involvement in all the sectors of society during the communist regime resulted
in the dramatic reduction of the risks associated with daily life. Under the new
regime, democratic rules have required the withdrawal of the state from the
society, letting the individual confront these risks alone. An example can clarify
this idea: job security, characteristic of the planned economy, was replaced with
the risk of losing one’s job during the transition to market economy. In a society
that has become increasingly complex, individuals need trust in order to
eliminate the impossibility to act Giddens was describing.
Postcommunist societies have to develop new systems of cooperation
among individuals and between individuals and the state, explaining, in part, the
interest in trust as a research topic from the political culture perspective:
communities depend on trust, and trust is culturally determined (Fukuyama
1995). The communist regime survived long enough to force a transition from
trust to distrust (or, if one considers distrust to have its roots in the pre-
communist period, it survived long enough to consolidate it) and thus
institutionalized a culture of generalized distrust (towards both the state’s
institutions and individuals).

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Is a reversed change possible? Can institutional trust be reconstructed?


We know that cultural components are subtle, “they have the diffuse properties
of belief systems […] which, anthropologists argue, spread with difficulty and
suffering substantial changes” (Almond and Verba 1965: 3-4). The low levels of
trust in different state institutions suggest that fifteen years have not been
enough to transform the postcommunist citizen into a trusting citizen. The
failure of this transformation, however, is hardly surprising if one remembers
Putnam’s descriptions of civic traditions in Italy.

Trust and social capital


Although the concept of social capital is not the topic of this chapter, I
will briefly discuss its definitions, because all of them identify a significant
relationship between trust and social capital1. Discussing the importance of
social capital as individual resource, Coleman argued that the fate of social
capital depends on how much trust one can have in the social environment
(Coleman 1999: 20). Putnam understands trust as a component of social capital:
“social capital refers here to features of social organizations, such as trust,
norms, and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating
coordinated actions” (Putnam 1993: 167). Other authors offer similar
definitions: “social capital is a capability that arises from the prevalence of trust
in a society or in certain parts of it” (Fukuyama 1995: 17); “social capital is a
culture of trust and tolerance, in which extensive networks of voluntary
associations emerge” (Inglehart 1997: 188); “trust has important functions for
wider communities within which it prevails. First of all, it encourages
sociability, participation with others in various forms of association, and in this
way enriches the network of interpersonal ties, enlarges the field of interactions,
and allows for greater intimacy of interpersonal contacts” (Sztompka 1999: 105).
If the idea of trust as one of the most important factors that facilitate the
formation of relational social capital is fully accepted, less attention is given to
the opposite relationship. Trust is necessary in order to expand social capital at
higher levels: social capital exists, as a first level, within families and, more
generally, within any type of organization built on kinship. The expansion to
other types of organizations, which are based on other forms of “social glue”,
requires the existence of trust. Yet, when social capital reaches a certain level,
the relationship between trust and social capital becomes circular: trust
promotes social capital and social capital leads to the formation of new trust
relationships. Beyond this level the relationship between trust and social capital
becomes a “virtuous circle”.

1
For a detailed discussion of the concept of social capital and of its applications in
Central and Eastern Europe, see Mihaylova (2004).
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Institutional trust and interpersonal trust


Based on the object of trust, the literature distinguishes between
institutional trust and interpersonal trust. The two types, however, are closely
linked: “If your trust in the enforcement agency falters, you will not trust
persons to fulfill their terms of agreement, and thus will not enter into that
agreement [...] you will not trust the enforcement agency to do on balance what
is expected of it. It is this interconnectedness which makes trust such a fragile
commodity. If it erodes in any part of the mosaic, it brings down an awful lot
with it” (Dasgupta 1998: 50). The police and the justice system are classical
examples of such enforcement agencies. The relationship between institutional
trust and interpersonal trust is a two-way relationship. Trust in an institution can
be extended to the members of the institution and, by extension, to the group to
which these members belong. For instance, trust in church can extend to trust in
priests, so that when we meet a stranger and find out he/she is a priest, we may
be willing to trust that person more than a person with a different occupation (a
police officer for instance). At the same time, the relationship works in the
opposite direction as well: low levels of trust in judges or district attorneys can
generate low levels of trust in the judiciary.

Trust and uncertainty


Seligman defines trust as “some sort of belief in the goodwill of the
other, given the opaqueness of other’s intentions and calculations. The
opaqueness rests precisely on that aspect of alter’s behavior that is beyond the
calculable attributes of role fulfillment” (Seligman 1997: 43). The opaqueness
referred to in this definition represents the risk element that is inherent to the
concept of trust. Sztompka has a more general definition of trust: “a bet about
the future contingent actions of others” (Sztompka 1999: 25). Both definitions
regard trust as independent of the object of trust. Do they include, in this case,
the state’s institutions as possible objects of trust?
In both definitions uncertainty plays a significant role in determining
the level of trust. But to talk about uncertainty with respect to the actions of the
state’s institutions is somewhat problematic. Given that one of the main roles of
the state is to serve its citizens, Seligman’s definition cannot be used, because
citizens do not need to believe in the institutions’ goodwill; their goodwill is
included in their own definition. The same problem affects Sztompka’s
definition: we cannot make a bet about future contingent actions of state
institutions, because there is no uncertainty related to their actions. The state’s
institutions are required to react to any demand coming from its citizens, as long
as the demand reaches the institutions through the pre-established access
channels. The set of possible actions that the institution can take is restricted by
internal and external regulations that the institution has to follow. Theoretically,
the intentions and calculations of state institutions are characterized by high

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visibility: the institutions’ functions, constraints, and procedures are available to


any person that is interested in knowing them.
Although these arguments suggest that the definitions presented above
cannot be used in the study of institutional trust, this is a valid suggestion only
with respect to the institutions of states with a democratic tradition. In
postcommunist countries there are some institutional characteristics that
generate a certain degree of uncertainty in the interactions between citizens and
the state. This uncertainty may be caused by citizens having an incomplete
understanding of the functions of the new institutions (the citizen that asks the
president for a job is the classical example of a citizen that is confused about the
president’s functions), by the short period of time since the new institutions
were created (which makes them inefficient), or by the actions of the
institution’s employees (corruption and lack of professionalism are just some of
the possible sources of uncertainty in this case).
The distinction between institutions and their incumbents has an
important role in the analysis of trust. Hardin argued that institutional trust
requires “a micro-level account of how government works at the macro level.
This will largely be an account of rational expectations of what government and
its agents are likely to do […] Citizens’ expectations must also be rational in the
sense of depending on the rational commitments of officials. Rationally
grounded trust in officials requires that the officials be responsive to popular
needs and desires” (Hardin 1998: 12).
People interact with the institutions of the state through two main
forms: primary contact, when a person has a personal experience with the
institution, and secondary contact, understood as a description of others’
personal experiences with the institution (often those who describe to a person
their primary contacts are friends, relatives, or, at a more general level, the
mass-media).
The distinction between primary and secondary contacts is similar to
Sztompka’s distinction between primary and secondary targets of trust
(Sztompka, 1999: 41-51). The interactions between the people and the
institutions are thus mediated by the incumbents of the institutions, and the
evaluations of these interactions are extended from the incumbents to the
institutions. Any contact with the police for instance is mediated through an
officer from a police station. Since the officer is an employee of the police
department, the citizen’s experience with the police will be interpreted in the
light of the interaction with that officer. This generalization is based on the
assumptions that the institution established a set of rules that have to be
followed by all employees and that the institution will verify that its incumbents
respect these rules. Thus, the interactions with the incumbents will be
generalized to describe the interactions with the institutions. A negative
experience with officer Escu will not make the citizen declare he/she does not

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trust Escu; the citizen will be quick, however, to declare that they do not trust
the police as an institution.
Uncertainty is also related to the perceived efficiency of the institution.
As Luhmann argued, “trust is only possible in a situation where the possible
damage may be greater than the advantage you seek” (Luhmann, 1988: 98). In
the case of institutional trust, the efficiency of the institutions is used in
assessing the possible damage (or cost). To the extent that the citizens’ demands
follow the official channels and satisfy all the requirements, one can be sure that
the institutions of the state will engage in a series of activities triggered by one’s
demand: there is no uncertainty related to the existence/nonexistence of a
certain action. The uncertainty stems from the way in which the action will be
performed by the institution (i.e. by the incumbents of the different roles of
authority).
Gambetta incorporates many of these elements in his definition of trust
as „a particular level of the subjective probability with which and agent assesses
that another agent or group of agents will perform a particular action, both
before he can monitor such action and in a context in which it affects its own
actions” (Gambetta 1998: 217). According to this definition, trust is a variable
depending on certain personal and cultural factors that can be used to describe
both interpersonal and institutional trust. The trust relation has three
components: the truster, the trustee, and the event. The complexity of the
interaction is reduced by the trust relation. The only element missing from this
definition is the efficiency of the object of trust. Adding this element, I define
trust as a context-dependent belief that an agent will perform a particular action
that will correspond to the truster’s current expectations.
People have different positions on the trust–distrust continuum,
positions that could be explained by a series of personal and cultural factors that
form together the set of internal determinants of trust. The position on this
continuum, however, is not fixed. It can be influenced by context-dependent
factors which form the external determinants of trust. These factors are the
modifiers that make it possible so that a usually trusting person will not trust a
certain agent in a certain context. The distinction between internal and external
determinants has important methodological consequences. While internal
determinants can be identified using survey data, external determinants can be
uncovered only by a detailed description of each particular case (this approach
is often used in case studies) or by using indicators that are measured at the
macro-level. Since the analyses presented in this chapter are based on survey
data, I will discuss here only internal determinants of trust, i.e. those
corresponding to respondents’ characteristics.

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Trust – analysis model


The model I use in analysis starts from the definition of trust presented
in the previous section and seeks to explain individual differences with respect
to institutional trust.

Dependent variables
The 2005 WVS/EVS survey measures (on a four point scale, from very
little to very much) trust in 19 institutions that can be grouped into four
categories: state institutions (presidency, parliament, cabinet, political parties,
civil servants, police, courts, and city halls), civil society institutions
(environmental NGOs, women NGOs, charitable NGOs, trade unions,
newspapers, and television), traditional institutions (church and army), and
international institutions (EU, UN, and NATO). I did not include in the analysis
economic institutions, because they function on different principles and are
interested, primarily, in their own profitability. Although newspapers and
television are not, per se, civil society organizations, I included them in this
group because their role in the relationship with the state is similar to the role of
civil society institutions.
I used this theoretical classification as a model for creating four
dependent variables. In each of the four cases I verified through factor analysis
and reliability analysis if the variables create a scale and, for easier
interpretation, I created the dependent variables as additive scales. Thus, I use
four dependent variables in my analyses: trust in state’s institutions2, trust in
civil society institutions3, trust in traditional institutions4, and trust in
international institutions5. The correlations between the four measures of
institutional trust vary between 0.214 and 0.576. Given these correlations, it is
possible that some of the dependent variables will have a common set of
determinants. At the same time, some factors may have an effect only on some
types of institutional trust and the size of the effects of the common factors may
depend on the type of trust that I analyzed. What are the factors that may
influence the level of institutional trust?

2
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 45.8% of the
variation. KMO = 0.864. Cronbach Alpha = 0.866. The variable ranges between 0 and 24.
3
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts two factors, correlated at 0.371. KMO =
0.733. Cronbach Alpha = 0.779. The variable ranges between 0 and 18.
4
Trust in the army and trust in church are correlated at 0.401. The variable ranges
between 0 and 6.
5
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 73.3% of the
variation. KMO = 0.738. Cronbach Alpha = 0.890. The variable ranges between 0 and 9.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Socio-economic characteristics
A first set is represented by a person’s socio-economic characteristics:
gender, age, education, income, ethnicity, religion, and size of locality. These
are variables that define the initial position of a person on the trust – distrust
continuum.
Gender (dummy variable coded 0 for women and 1 for men) is a control
variable: there are no reasons to expect significant differences between men and
women with respect to institutional trust. Age (recoded in eight categories:
under 21, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, and over 80) should have a
significant positive effect on institutional trust. This effect is determined mainly
by different attitudes toward authority and the state. Education (recoded in five
categories: 4 grades and less, 5-8 grades, 9-11 grades, high school and post high
school, and university or more) should have a significant negative effect. The
more educated a person is, the higher his/her capacity to understand the
institutions’ actions and the alternatives to these actions, which can lead to a
more critical attitude towards the institutions. Income (measured as deciles of
income per capita), ethnicity (dummy variable coded 1 for Romanian and 0 for
other), and religion (dummy variable coded 1 for Orthodox and 0 for other) are
used as a control variables. Ethnicity and religion indicate membership to the
majority group in the population (Romanian and Orthodox versus other
ethnicity or other religion). Trust in traditional institutions can be influenced
positively by membership to the majority group, but in all other cases these
variables should not have significant effects. The size of the locality of
residence (variable with six categories: village, commune center, small city,
medium city, large city, and very large city) should have a negative effect on
trust: the larger the locality, the more frequent the interactions between citizens
and the state, which could generate more critical attitudes towards the state’s
institutions.

Values
The second group of factors that might influence the level of institutional
trust is represented by respondents’ values. This group includes three variables:
religiosity, acceptance of deviant behavior, and interest for politics.
Religiosity is an indicator of traditionalism (which is associated with an
uncritical acceptance of authority) and should have a significant positive effect
on institutional trust. The variable is composed of two indicators (subjective
evaluation of religiosity and frequency of going to church) and it has the
following categories: atheist, non-religious person, person with low religiosity
(goes to church at most once a year), person with average religiosity (goes to
church at most monthly), and person with high religiosity (goes to church at
least once a week).

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Acceptance of deviant behavior is an additive score that includes four


variables of attitudes towards different forms of deviant behavior: demanding
benefits one is not entitled to receive from the state, travelling by bus or train
without paying the fare, not paying taxes if one has the chance of not paying
them, and accepting bribes in order to fulfill one’s job responsibilities6.
Accepting such types of behavior represents, in fact, an acceptance of
corruption (in different forms), which Sztompka interprets as a perverse
functional substitute for trust (Sztompka 2002: 6). This variable should have a
significant negative effect on institutional trust.
The third variable in this group measures interest for politics and is built
as an additive score that includes interest for politics and the importance of
politics in the respondent’s life7. Someone who is interested in politics is better
informed, understands political events better, and probably evaluates political
actors (including institutions) more carefully than a person that has no interest
in politics. According to this interpretation, those interested in politics should
have more trust in the state’s institutions.

Social position
Institutional trust can also be influenced by a person’s position in the
social environment. This group of factors includes two variables: interpersonal
trust and access to relationships.
The relationship variable shows a person’s availability of relational
social capital (measured as the number of relationships a person can use to solve
a problem in nine different situations: health problems, legal problems, city hall,
police, getting credit, getting a job, business problems, problems in other
countries, and county institutions) 8. The availability of these relationships and,
especially, identifying them as a possible source for help indicate the acceptance
of a pattern of interactions with institutions that is at odds with the rules that
stand at the basis of the institutions. The fact that a person acknowledges having
a relationship that can help with a city hall problem shows low trust in the
ability of the city hall, as institution, to solve the problem. The higher the
number of relationships a person has, the lower their trust in the state’s
institutions should be.
Since I have already discussed the relationship between institutional
trust and interpersonal trust, I will only mention here that interpersonal trust
(coded 0 for those who do not trust other people and 1 for those who trust
others) should have a significant positive effect on institutional trust: a person

6
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 64.7% of the
variation. KMO = 0.790. Cronbach Alpha = 0.817. The variable ranges between 0 and 36.
7
The correlation between the two components is 0.526. The variable ranges between 0 and 6.
8
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 42% of the
variation. KMO = 0.873. Cronbach Alpha = 0.827. The variable ranges between 0 and 9.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

who believes that most people can be trusted is a more trusting person by its
nature.

Psychological factors
The way a respondent evaluates control over his/her own life is an
indicator of locus of control. The variable I use is a 10-point scale, ranging from
0 (complete lack of control over one’s own life) to 9 (complete control over
personal life). People who feel they do not have control over their own life have
an external locus of control, associated with unrealistic expectations from the
state. If such a person cannot solve their own problems then it will expect the
state, through its institutions, to solve these problems. Flooding victims are a
good example in this case. Losing one’s house during a flood is interpreted as
inevitable and when this actually happens people ask the state’s institutions
(from the city hall to the president) to help them, without even thinking that not
the state but people themselves should be responsible for having an insurance
against such a risk. It is easy to guess how much trust these people have in the
state’s institutions. People having an internal locus of control will first try to
solve their problems by themselves and will ask for help only if they fail. It is
the latter group that should have higher levels of institutional trust.
The second variable in this group measures generalized satisfaction, as
an additive score composed of three indicators (subjective evaluation of
happiness, satisfaction with life, and satisfaction with how one lives) showing
how satisfied a respondent is with their own life9. High levels of satisfaction
should be associated with high levels of institutional trust.

Evaluations
Institutional trust can also be influenced by how respondents evaluate
the current situation (theirs or that of others) compared to the past and by how
they evaluate their future situation. Starting from the literature, I include in this
group four variables corresponding to the pocketbook and sociotropic theories
(for more details, see Fiorina 1981, Kiewiet 1983, and Markus 1988). The four
variables are: evaluations of the current personal situations compared to the
previous year (retrospective pocketbook), evaluations of the personal situation
next year compared to the current one (prospective pocketbook), evaluations of
the current local situation compared to the previous year (local sociotropic), and
evaluations of the current national situation compared to the previous year
(national sociotropic). In all four cases positive evaluations should lead to
higher levels of institutional trust, although it is unlikely that all four variables
will have significant effects in the same model.

9
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 69.5% of the
variation. KMO = 0.703. Cronbach Alpha = 0.780. The variable ranges between 0 and 9.6.
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The effect of the efficiency of the object of trust is captured by the last
variable in the model, evaluations of cabinet’s activities in different areas
(standard of living, public order, jobs, agriculture, privatization, health,
education, housing, industry, and environmental protection) 10. Although all
variables included in this index refer to the cabinet’s activities, it should be
noted that the cabinet is the state’s main representative and that its actions in
different areas are mediated by different institutions. In this case, this indicator
can be interpreted as an evaluation of the state’s institutions. When people
decide whether or not to trust these institutions, they take into account the
previous results of the institutions’ actions. Positive results should be rewarded
with more trust, while negative results should be penalized with a decrease of
trust. Using Easton’s terms (Easton 1965, 1975), this variable is an indicator of
specific support for the state’s institutions.

Treatment of missing data


The treatment of the missing values may have significant effects on the
inferences drawn from the results, ranging from incorrect estimates to selection
bias. Until recently, the most common methods of dealing with incomplete data
were case deletion (either listwise or pairwise) and single imputation (usually
mean substitution or hot deck methods). For a detailed description of the
disadvantages of listwise deletion by comparison to the advantages of multiple
imputation (MI) methods, see King et al (2001).
Recent computational advances have reduced the costs associated with
the use of multiple imputation methods, so that they have become the new
standard for dealing with the incomplete data problem. The most important
academic journals in the fields of sociology and political science recommend
the use of these methods. Similarly, the US Census Bureau uses multiple
imputation methods in order to offer to those who are interested complete
datasets. For technical details on MI methods, see Little and Rubin 1987, Rubin
1987, and Schafer 1997.
For my analysis I used the Norm package (Schafer 2000) to obtain five
complete datasets. In each of these the missing data were imputed using
information offered by the variables in the dataset. The models are estimated in
each of the five complete datasets and the results are combined using the
formulas proposed by Rubin (1987), formulas that take into account both the
variability that exists within each complete dataset and the variability that exists
among the five datasets. This method offers two significant advantages:
eliminating an important source of bias and using all the information that is
available in the dataset.

10
Factor analysis (ML – Oblimin) extracts a single factor that explains 52.7% of the
variation. KMO = 0.913. Cronbach Alpha = 0.900. The variable ranges between 0 and 30.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Results
Figures 1-3 present the evolution of trust in the four types of institutions
described above, between 1993 and 2005. The values in these figures represent
the percentage of people who declared having much or very much trust in the
institutions. What do these figures tell us about Romania’s institutions in 2005?
There is a clear ranking of the four types of institutions: traditional
institutions enjoy the highest level of trust (around 85%), followed by the
international institutions (with an average of about 60%), the civil society
institutions (45% average trust), and, in the last position, the state’s institutions
(only 33% of the Romanians trust them). The results for trust in the state’s
institutions are worrying: after functioning for 15 years, they still have not
managed to convince the citizens to trust them. These results are consistent with
Uslaner and Bădescu’s conclusions, who argue that it is exactly in those cases
where trust is needed the most that trust is almost inexistent (Uslaner and
Bădescu, 2003: 221).
The fact that citizens have the highest level of trust in non-state
institutions confirms Sztompka’s ideas (Sztompka 2002: 5-6). In fact, many of
the functional substitutes of trust identified by Sztompka can be found in the
Romanian society: the high level of trust in the church is an indicator of
providentialism, high levels of trust in international institutions indicate the
externalization of trust, while the high levels of trust in political actors such as
Corneliu Vadim Tudor, Gigi Becali, or Traian Băsescu, actors who always play
the role of a severe but correct pater familias, indicate the replacement of trust
with paternalism.
The 2005 data show that two of the main institutions of the state
represent the limits of trust in the state’s institutions. At one end, more than half
of the Romanians trust the presidency. At the other end, only 13% of the
Romanians trust the political parties. Since data for trust in these institutions in
the previous years are not available the evolution of trust cannot be estimated.
In the case of the presidency, it is possible that the high level of trust recorded
in 2005 was influenced, to a certain extent, by the high level of trust in its
incumbent, Traian Băsescu. The same interpretation applies in the case of the
city hall, which seems to benefit from a similarly high level of trust in 2005: the
city hall is also a highly personalized institution, as a result of its identification
with the mayor.

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Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition
Figure 1 Trust in the state’s institutions

100
City hall
Police
Public servants
75 Courts
Cabinet
Parliament

50

25

0
1993 1997 1999 2005

With the exception of the city hall11, in all other cases institutional trust
decreases over time. It should also be noted that trust in the state’s central
institutions (political parties, parliament, and the cabinet) is lower than trust in
local institutions (police and courts) in all years included in the analysis. This
difference can be explained, in part, by the fact that citizens have more direct
contacts with the local institutions compared to the central institutions. If this is
true, trust in central institutions is based how their activities are reported, either
by other people or by the mass media (and, as we know, good news have a
reduced chance of being published or broadcasted by the mass media12).
In the case of civil society institutions, the 2005 data do not show
significant differences between trust in NGOs and trust in the television: almost
half of the population has trust in these institutions. The available data indicate
the evolution of trust over time for only two institutions in this group. In the
case of trade unions there is some variation over time, but the difference
between average trust in 1993 and 2005 is not significant. In both years about
30% of the population has trust in trade unions. Trust in newspapers has

11
In this case data are available only for 1993 and 2005, and the two years are not fully
comparable: in 2005 respondents were asked about trust in the city hall, while in
1993the question was referring to local authorities, which can include not only the city
hall but also the prefecture or other local representatives of national institutions.
12
For more details on the role of mass media in reducing trust in the state’s institutions,
see Cappella and Jamieson 1997.
129
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

increased over time, possibly as a result of the increase in the professionalism of


the newspaper journalists. The evolution of Evenimentul Zilei is a perfect
example in this context: if in 1993 the newspaper was publishing news on hens
that were giving birth to live chicken, by 2005 Evenimentul Zilei was described
as the leader of a small group of independent newspapers (Gallagher 2005). On
the other hand, although trust in newspapers has increased over time, the
number of people reading them has decreased. It should also be noted that
television benefits from more trust than the newspapers although, given that the
most important newspapers belong to mass media trusts that also own TV
stations, the newspapers and TV stations belonging to the same owner should
have a similar editorial approach.

Figure 2 Trust in civil society institutions

100
Television
Charitable NGOs
Environmental NGOs
Women NGOs
75
Newspapers
Trade unions

50

25

0
1993 1997 1999 2005

The traditional institutions (the church and the army) are the most
trusted institutions in Romania. More than four out of five Romanians trust
these institutions, with a slight increase of trust in the church. Given the
characteristics of these institutions (strict hierarchy, combined with respect for
order in the case of the army and ownership of the absolute truth in the case of
the church), excessive trust in them, coupled with low levels of trust in more
democratic institutions, could be interpreted as a sign that Romanians have not
developed yet a democratic culture.
Although this interpretation may be true, trust in the traditional
institutions is not the best indicator to support such a conclusion. For instance,

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Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition

similar levels of trust in the church and the army can also be observed in the
case of American citizens, who can be described in many ways, but not as
lacking a democratic culture. In a modern society (I do not discuss here how
modern the Romanian society is) the main function of the two institutions is
symbolic; their image in the public’s mind is that of a citizens’ protector
(physical protection in the case of the army and spiritual protection in the case
of the church).

Figure 3 Trust in traditional and international institutions

100

75

50

Church
25
Army
UN
EU
NATO
0
1993 1997 1999 2005

The average level of trust in international institutions (EU, UN, and


NATO) has increased over time, so that by 2005 three out of five Romanians
have trust in them. It is interesting to note that although the international
institutions enjoy high levels of trust, it is unlikely that a large proportion of the
population has a detailed understanding of these institutions’ history, structure,
and functions. Given that Romania has become both a NATO and EU member,
it is possible that, over time, people will know more about these institutions.
The international institutions receive a bonus of trust just because they are not
Romanian institutions and another bonus because citizens usually do not have
any contact with them, leading to their idealization. If one takes into account the
experiences of other Central and Eastern European countries, it seems likely
that trust in the EU will decrease in time. The democratic deficit and the

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

excessive bureaucracy are two of the most important problems the EU faces, at
least in the European public’s perceptions. In the case of the new member
countries, these problems are aggravated by the unrealistic expectations their
citizens had during the pre-accession period.
What is the general image offered by these results? A first conclusion
shows that the most trusted institutions are those that are quite separated from
what we usually understand by state: Romanians have the most trust in
traditional institutions, followed by extra-state institutions, then in civil society
institutions, and only then in the state’s institutions. Following the evolution of
trust over time, the main conclusion is that the state’s institutions are the only
ones that lose trust: they fail in convincing the public they are doing their job.
This should not be a surprising conclusion, given that the mass media is
reporting almost daily stories about the difficulties different institutions have in
following the law. The examples vary from business deals between politicians
and state institutions that cannot be explained by the rules of the market
economy, to businessmen that are released from prison because they develop
serious illnesses as soon as they are imprisoned, to tenders whose results are
known before the decision is made, to different judicial decisions in identical
trials, to custom officers that are able to build houses only from their civil
servants income, to students that are able to buy the subjects for the
baccalaureate exams, to patients that are left to die on the street because the
doctors are sending them from one hospital to another, to the whole leadership
of a political party supporting a colleague by joining him on his way to an
interrogation in a corruption case, to MPs sleeping in their seats or reading
newspapers during parliamentary debates, to a prime minister receiving a
fabulous inheritance from an aunt that made some business deals that MBA
holders dream about, to a president who insults journalists, and to another
president who gets out of a pub, gets behind the wheel, and drives home to the
presidential palace (and who also ends up insulting journalists). Whether these
stories are true or not or whether they can be justified or not is less important
because once the mass media has reported them, the public uses them to revise
their opinions about the institutions that are involved.
I have discussed so far the way institutional trust has evolved since
1993. What are the factors that influence the level of institutional trust? The
answer I offer is based on the theoretical model presented at the beginning of
the chapter. Tables 1-4 present the results of regression analyses having as
dependent variables institutional trust in the four types of institutions13.

13
I estimated the models in SPSS 14.0.2. using the OLS (Ordinary Least Squares)
regression. The starting model includes as independent variables only the socio-
economic characteristics of the respondents. For each group of variables I introduced in
the analysis, I estimated a new model. The coefficients in the table are unstandardized
regression coefficients (b). The last row in the table (R2 change) shows the increase in
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The six groups of variables included in the last model in Table 1


explain, together, about 22% of the variation of trust in the state’s institutions.
Each of the six groups contributes to explaining the level of trust, but
evaluations of the activities of the state’s institutions have an effect that is twice
as large as that of any of the remaining groups of independent variables. Among
the group of socio-economic characteristics, gender, income, religion and
ethnicity do not have significant effects. Age has a significant positive effect,
suggesting that older people tend to trust the state’s institutions more. Education
and size of locality have significant negative effects.
Based on these characteristics, people can be placed at different
positions on the trust – distrust continuum, having at one end older people, with
low education, and living in rural areas (these people have high levels of trust in
the state’s institutions) and, at the other end, young people, highly educated, and
living in very large cities (people with low levels of trust in the state’s
institutions). To a certain extent, the differences between these two types of
respondents correspond to the distinction between traditionalism and modernity:
the more traditional a person is, the higher his/her tendency is to respect
authority. As I argued before, the initial position, which is determined by socio-
economic characteristics can be changed by other variables and this is exactly
what the results presented here indicate.
A person’s values have significant effect on their level of institutional
trust. People with a permissive attitude toward deviant behavior (different forms
of corruption) have less trust in the state’s institutions, suggesting that, indeed,
corruption can replace trust in environments characterized by a generalized
crisis of trust. People who are interested in politics tend to have more trust in the
state’s institutions. A possible explanation for the positive effect of this variable
consists of the fact that the lack of trust in institutions is partially determined by
the lack of information regarding the institutions and their actions. The state’s
institutions suffer from a significant image deficit, which can be explained by
the citizens’ lack of interest and by mass media’s tendency to exaggerate the
institutions’ real problems. It should be noted that religiosity, another indicator
of traditionalism, loses its significance when the evaluation variables are
introduced in the model.

the explanatory power of the current model compared to the previous model. The
coefficients on this row are a measure of the importance of different groups of variables
in explaining diffuse support for democracy. For instance, in Table 1, Model 6 differs
from Model 5 by the variable of evaluations of cabinet’s activities. By adding this
variable, compared to Model 5, the explanatory power of Model 6 increased with 7.3%,
from 14.9% to 22.2%.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 1 Trust in the state’s institutions (2005)

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

Intercept 7.894*** 6.876*** 6.615*** 5.157*** 1.938* 1.567+

Male 0.334 0.178 0.155 0.170 0.173 0.208

Age 0.148* 0.111 0.083 0.148* 0.211** 0.167*

Education -0.214+ -0.316* -0.348** -0.398** -0.363** -0.291**

Income 0.089+ 0.093+ 0.074 -0.050 -0.059 -0.076

Size of locality -0.289*** -0.269*** -0.229*** -0.214*** -0.209*** -0.222***

Religion: Orthodox -0.557 -0.522 -0.465 -0.310 -0.302 -0.188

Ethnicity: Romanian -0.133 -0.340 -0.135 -0.234 -0.173 -0.099

Religiosity 0.343** 0.360** 0.226+ 0.219+ 0.140

Acceptance of corruption -0.037* -0.049** -0.044** -0.042* -0.057***

Interest in politics 0.457*** 0.443*** 0.380*** 0.354*** 0.285***

Relationships 0.157* 0.083 0.065 0.025

Interpersonal trust 1.754*** 1.598*** 1.337*** 1.189***

Satisfaction 0.461*** 0.298*** 0.117+

Control over life 0.051 0.037 0.054

Future personal situation 0.571*** 0.413**

Evaluation of national situation 0.833*** 0.548***

Evaluation of institutions 0.277***


2
Adjusted R 2.7% 5.6% 8.3% 11.5% 14.9% 22.2%

R2 change 2.7% 2.9% 2.7% 3.2% 3.4% 7.3%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

The respondent’s position in the social space influences trust in the


state’s institutions through the interpersonal trust variable. Trusting people also
have a higher level of institutional trust, compared to those who consider that
most people cannot be trusted. The availability of a network of relationships
does not have a significant effect in the final model. Out of the psychological
variables, only satisfaction has a significant effect, but this is marginal. The fact
that its significance decreases when evaluation variables are taken into account
suggests that satisfaction depends, in part, on these evaluations.
The evaluation variables have strong positive effects. Positive
evaluations of the future personal situation increase the level of trust in the
134 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition

state’s institutions. Out of the three variables of retrospective evaluations


(personal, local, and national), the one with the national referent has a
significant positive effect: when taking into account last years’ changes in the
decision to trust, people think of changes at the national level, rather than local
or personal changes. The last variable in the model, evaluations of the cabinet’s
actions in different areas, has the strongest effect on the dependent variable,
being able to modify the level of trust by up to 30%. This result shows that trust
in the state’s institutions depends mainly on institutional performance.
It should be also noted that each of the six groups of independent
variables brings its own contribution to explaining the level of trust in the
state’s institutions. This is shown by significant differences between the
multiple determination coefficients of the six models and by the fact that most
of the variables maintain their significance in different models.
In discussing the results of the other three dependent variables, I focus
on differences from trust in the state’s institutions. Trust in civil society
institutions has different determinants, as indicated by the results presented in
Table 2. The final model has a smaller explanatory power than in the previous
case (12.4%, compared to 22.2%) but the evaluations of the actions of the
state’s institutions continue to be the most important predictor in the model.
The size of the locality of residence is the only significant variable from
the group of socio-economic characteristics, suggesting there are no significant
differences between population sub-groups with respect to civil society
institutions. Religiosity has only a marginally significant positive effect, which
could probably be explained by the fact that charitable NGOs are among the
civil society institutions included in the analysis. Acceptance of deviant
behavior is no longer significant, but interest for politics has a significant
positive effect on trust in civil society institutions as well.
Interpersonal trust has a significant positive effect, but smaller than in
the case of trust in the state’s institutions. Theoretically, given that interpersonal
trust is closely related to the associative behavior that characterizes the civil
society, this coefficient should have been more important in determining trust in
civil society institutions. At the same time, previous studies have argued that
regardless of the level of interpersonal trust, active participation in NGO
activities (which could be interpreted as an effect of trusting these institutions)
is reduced in former communist countries (see, for instance, Howard 2003 and
Mihaylova 2004).
The three evaluation variables continue having significant effects, but
their coefficients are smaller than in the case of trust in the state’s institutions.
This is not surprising, given the state – civil society distinction. Overall, the
theoretical model explains to a lesser extent trust in civil society institutions,
suggesting its possible incorrect specification for these types of institutions.
Comparing the results, it can be seen that trust in civil society and trust in state
institutions have different determinants. Since civil society is a separate domain

135
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

from the state, it is possible that trust in its institutions is influenced by cultural
factors that are not included in the model.
The weak performance of this model can also be explained by the fact
that civil society in communist Romania was severely underdeveloped. If
Poland had Solidarność, which managed to attract ten million members, if
Czechoslovakia had Charta 77, which played a crucial role in the Velvet
Revolution, if in Hungary the population mobilized against the communist
regime in 1956, such movements were stopped in Romania before they could
develop.

Table 2 Trust in civil society institutions (2005)

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

Intercept 6.758*** 5.656*** 5.533*** 4.937*** 3.303*** 3.078***

Male -0.083 -0.190 -0.200 -0.195 -0.193 -0.172

Age 0.041 0.025 0.012 0.035 0.068 0.041

Education -0.008 -0.084 -0.097 -0.118 -0.100 -0.056

Income 0.121** 0.119** 0.111** 0.066 0.060 0.050

Size of locality -0.152** -0.138** -0.118* -0.113* -0.110* -0.118*

Religion: Orthodox 0.038 0.093 0.120 0.175 0.178 0.247

Ethnicity: Romanian 0.062 -0.015 0.078 0.037 0.066 0.111

Religiosity 0.276** 0.284** 0.234* 0.230* 0.181+

Acceptance of corruption 0.015 0.009 0.012 0.012 0.004

Interest in politics 0.334*** 0.327*** 0.302*** 0.288*** 0.247***

Relationships 0.066 0.039 0.029 0.005

Interpersonal trust 0.853*** 0.788*** 0.655** 0.565**

Satisfaction 0.167*** 0.083 -0.027

Control over life 0.031 0.023 0.034

Future personal situation 0.299* 0.202+

Evaluation of national situation 0.417*** 0.243*

Evaluation of institutions 0.169***


2
Adjusted R 1.1% 3.8% 4.9% 5.8% 7.4% 12.4%

R2 change 1.1% 2.7% 1.1% 0.8% 1.6% 5.0%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

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Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition

The results in Table 3 refer to trust in the church and the army. The
final model explains approximately 21% of the variation of trust in traditional
institutions, most of it being explained by only two groups of variables: socio-
economic characteristics and value (these two explain 19%).

Table 3 Trust in traditional institutions (2005)

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

Intercept 3.447*** 2.392*** 2.383*** 2.148*** 2.185*** 2.149***

Male -0.053 0.031 0.029 0.031 0.031 0.034

Age 0.107*** 0.088*** 0.085*** 0.093*** 0.091*** 0.086***

Education -0.121*** -0.134*** -0.127*** -0.135*** -0.134*** -0.127***

Income -0.009 -0.007 -0.003 -0.017 -0.017 -0.018

Size of locality -0.121*** -0.111*** -0.108*** -0.107*** -0.107*** -0.108***

Religion: Orthodox 0.106 0.231* 0.228* 0.245* 0.248* 0.260*

Ethnicity: Romanian 0.580*** 0.476*** 0.462*** 0.446*** 0.449*** 0.456***

Religiosity 0.365*** 0.366*** 0.348*** 0.348*** 0.341***

Acceptance of corruption -0.008+ -0.008+ -0.007 -0.007 -0.008+

Interest in politics 0.052** 0.053** 0.044* 0.045* 0.038*

Relationships -0.031+ -0.040* -0.040* -0.044*

Interpersonal trust 0.144* 0.119 0.124+ 0.109

Satisfaction 0.052** 0.056** 0.038*

Control over life 0.019 0.020 0.021

Future personal situation -0.028 -0.043

Evaluation of national situation 0.005 -0.023

Evaluation of institutions 0.028***

Adjusted R2 12.8% 18.9% 19.3% 20.0% 20.0% 20.9%


2
R change 12.8% 6.2% 0.3% 0.7% 0.0% 0.9%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

Just like in the model explaining trust in the state’s institutions, age,
education, and the size of the locality have significant effects on trust: older
people, with low levels of education, and who live in rural areas have more trust
in the church and the army than young, educated urbanites. The most important
difference is given by the coefficients for religion and ethnicity, which have

137
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

significant effects in this model. Romanians have more trust in the church,
compared to people of other ethnicities. Similarly, Christian Orthodox
respondents have more trust in traditional institutions than people belonging to
other religions.
If we consider the connections that exist in the public’s psyche between
the idea of a Romanian state and the church and the army, as well as the fact
that religion seems to be one of the main components included in the definition
of being Romanian, then it is simple to understand why those belonging to the
majority group trust these institutions more. The respondent’s religiosity also
increases trust in the church and the army. The other variables included in the
model either do not have significant effects or have effects that are statistically
significant but that can be ignored.
The final model in the analyses presented in Table 4 explains 13.6% of
the variation of trust in international institutions. If in the previous models
gender did not have a significant effect on the level of trust, in this case,
compared to women, men have more trust in international institutions. It is
possible this effect is resulting from the fact that men tend to be more interested
in foreign affairs, obtaining, thus, more information about the international
institutions, information that can increase their level of trust. The remaining
socio-economic characteristics do not distinguish between different levels of
trust in international institutions.
Among the group of variables indicating the respondents’ values,
interest for politics is the only one having a significant (positive) effect. The
evaluation variables are the most important predictors in the model: the
evaluations of the personal situation and of the national situation can change the
level of trust by up to a point. Similarly, the evaluation of the cabinet’s activities
can modify the level of trust by up to three points. Comparing the results
presented in Tables 2 and 4, it can be observed that trust in civil society
institutions and trust in international institutions have similar determinants
(which was expected, given that the two dependent variables are correlated at
0.523).

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Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition
Table 4 Trust in international institutions (2005)

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6

Intercept 4.021*** 3.581*** 3.489*** 2.856*** 1.544** 1.408 **

Male 0.407*** 0.309** 0.300** 0.304** 0.305** 0.318 **

Age 0.017 0.003 -0.009 0.006 0.035 0.019

Education 0.103+ 0.050 0.049 0.027 0.039 0.066

Income 0.049+ 0.050+ 0.049+ 0.017 0.012 0.005

Size of locality -0.032 -0.023 -0.007 -0.004 -0.001 -0.006

Religion: Orthodox -0.057 -0.055 -0.039 -0.004 -0.009 0.033

Ethnicity: Romanian -0.072 -0.149 -0.101 -0.144 -0.128 -0.101

Religiosity 0.125+ 0.132* 0.091 0.087 0.058

Acceptance of corruption -0.010 -0.014 -0.011 -0.010 -0.015 +

Interest in politics 0.238*** 0.234*** 0.210*** 0.197*** 0.172 ***

Relationships 0.013 -0.008 -0.017 -0.031

Interpersonal trust 0.715*** 0.646*** 0.536*** 0.481 ***

Satisfaction 0.107** 0.036 -0.031

Control over life 0.065* 0.058* 0.064 *

Future personal situation 0.281** 0.223 **

Evaluation of national situation 0.305*** 0.201 **

Evaluation of institutions 0.102 ***

Adjusted R2 1.8% 4.4% 6.0% 7.3% 9.6% 13.6%


2
R change 1.8% 2.7% 1.6% 1.3% 2.3% 3.9%

Notes: The coefficients in the table are unstandardized regression coefficients.


Significance levels: *** p < 0.001 ** p < 0.010 * p < 0.050 + p < 0.100.

Conclusions
As I have shown in this chapter, there are clear differences in
institutional trust, depending on the type of institutions that are analyzed, both
with respect to the level of trust and with respect to the determinants of trust.
The 19 institutions included in the analysis can be grouped, theoretically, into
four distinct categories, solution that is confirmed by the results: state
institutions, civil society institutions, traditional institutions, and international
institutions. Each of the four types has a series of characteristics that distinguish

139
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

it from the others. The state’s institutions are primarily institutions with
attributions in the political and legal domains. Civil society institutions define
themselves by opposition to the state. Traditional institutions symbolize the
state and are characterized by strict hierarchies (for a similar interpretation of
the church and the army, see Sandu 1999 and Voicu 2005). Finally,
international institutions are external actors.
These differences are reflected at the public level in different levels of
institutional trust. Romanians have the highest levels of trust in traditional
institutions, followed by international institutions, civil society institutions, and
the state’s institutions. The state’s institutions are, at the same time, the only
ones that lose trust over time. These results, combined, suggest a significant
crisis of trust in the state. If this crisis continues for a sufficiently long period of
time, it can generate problems for the democratic system in Romania. Trust in
the state’s institutions can be interpreted as specific support for democracy.
From this perspective, long periods of reduced specific support can contaminate
diffuse support for democracy (for a detailed discussion of this perspective, see
the chapter on democratization in this volume). Fortunately, the low levels of
trust in the state’s institutions are strongly influenced by how people and mass
media evaluate the institutions’ performance, suggesting that the improvement
of institutional performance can lead to an increase of institutional trust.
One should also keep in mind that the decrease of trust in the state’s
institutions is not unique to Romania. Similar trends have been observed both in
the former communist countries and in developed democracies from the
Western world. There are, however, significant differences related to the causes
of this decreasing trend. In the established democracies the decrease of trust in
the state’s institutions is determined primarily by changes in the citizens’
expectations. Low levels of trust indicate, in these countries, the existence of a
significant number of “critical citizens” (see Norris 1999) or “discontent
democrats” (see Dalton 2005). In Romania (and, probably, in the other new
democracies as well) the decrease of trust in the state’s institutions is
determined primarily by the institutions’ inefficient functioning. Thus, while
citizens of the established democracies have been satisfied with the institutions
of the state and know they can function better, the experiences of the
postcommunist citizens with the institutions of the state have generally been
negative, leading to a skeptical attitude toward the institutions’ abilities.
How will institutional trust evolve in Romania? The results in Table 1
show that an important part of the variation of trust in the state’s institutions is
positively influenced by the citizens’ evaluations of their personal situation, of
the national situation, and of institutional performance. During the last years,
one could observe signs of improvement both in the state of the national
economy and in the performance of the institutions. If these improvements will
continue, then one can expect a reversal of the decreasing trend that has
characterized trust in the state’s institutions starting with 1990 and the

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Institutional trust – victim of the postcommunist transition

elimination of one of the most important dangers to the Romanian democracy.


The increase in institutional trust can lead to an increase in support for
democracy.
Traditional institutions enjoy at this moment such high levels of trust
that further increases are unlikely. There are, however, two factors that can
decrease trust in the church and the army. The Romanian mass media recently
accused some of the clerics of being former collaborators of the secret police
during the communist regime. To the extent these accusations will prove to be
true and if there were many cases of collaboration, it is possible that trust in the
church will decrease. With respect to the army, its importance in the collective
psyche will decrease as a result of Romania becoming a NATO member (which
implied transferring part of the army’s protection function from the Romanian
army to NATO), and of eliminating the mandatory military service. These
factors have the potential to decrease trust in the army.
Among the group of international institutions, the European Union has
become, once Romania joined the EU, as important for the Romanians’ life as
the state’s institutions. Based on the experiences of other EU members, and
given that a large proportion of the Romanian population had unrealistic
expectations from the EU, it is very likely that trust in the EU will decrease (this
can be accelerated by the almost instantaneous apparition of Romanian euro-
skeptics only days after Romania joined the EU).
Returning to the title of this chapter, it can be argued that although
institutional trust has certainly been a victim of the postcommunist transition,
there are some signs that suggest that the victim may be getting better (but it is
unlikely to observe a complete recovery).

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143
Religiosity and Religious Revival during
the Transition Period in Romania

MĂLINA VOICU

Romania is one of the most religious countries in Europe. The existing


literature provides many quantitative empirical evidences on this topic
(Gheorghiu, 2003; Halman, Draulans, 2004; Muller, 2004; Pollack, 2001, 2003,
2004). Likewise, the researches focusing on the evolution of the religious field
in post-communist countries indicate the existence of a religious revival
phenomenon (Inglehart, Norris, 2004; Pollack, 2004; Froese, 2005; Kääriäinen,
1999). The uplifting of the restrictions imposed on religious practice by the
communist regime, as well as the increasing insecurity regarding everyday life
are factors contributing to the enhancement of religious revitalization.
This paper aims at analyzing from a both longitudinal and transversal
comparative perspective the degree of religiosity in Romania. To put it simply,
we are trying to provide an answer to the following question: are Romanians
indeed more religious than other Europeans, if we are to take religious belief
and shared values as a reference point? By the same token, we may produce
another question: if they are indeed more religious, why is it so? What exactly
determines the differences in degree of religiosity of the various European
people? A third target of this chapter would be to identify the causes leading to
a religious revival in post-communist countries, especially in Romania. I shall,
in a practical way, try to come up with an answer to this question: why are
Romanians more religious today than they were a decade ago?
This paper consists of four different sections. The first one is dedicated
to theories that could help us in our search for an answer regarding the
phenomenon determining the degree of religiosity in a people. The second
section is a presentation of the indicators used in the analysis I have been
carrying out in this chapter. The third part deals with data analysis and provides

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

comments on the obtained results, while the final part is mainly a discussion on
both results and their deriving implications.

Determinants of Religious Diversity in Eastern Europe


Religious Europe may be viewed as a huge puzzle, containing points in
which secularization has deeply invaded the social structure and areas in which
religious continues to be an important part of people’s lives. The divisions are
structured according to several lines. Geographically speaking secularized
Northern Europe stands in contrast with the Southern one, which is highly
religious. Catholic Europe has been influenced by secularization to a smaller
extent than protestant Europe.
For explaining the European cross-country differences of the
secularization levels, one may employ various approaches. Besides the
geographic position and dominant religion, the studies identified a series of
other factors to consider. The classical secularization theory states that
secularization appears as a natural outcome of the modernization and functional
specialization processes, which are rooted in the high economic development
level. (Chaves, 1994; Sommerville, 1998; Wilson, 2000). The more the society
develops economically and develops towards industrialization and post-
industrialization, the more functionally specialized the society becomes, as
every domain produces its own functioning principles. This process leads to a
diminishing social influence of religion, which loses its position as a dominant
factor at a social level. Society tends to gradually separate from religion,
becomes indifferent towards the latter and starts functioning as if “God didn’t
exist” (Schlegel, 2005, p. 42).
Nevertheless, Inglehart, Halman, Welzel (2003) consider that, although
economic development stimulates socio-cultural change towards a unique
direction, each society evolves in a particular, specific way. Socio-cultural and,
implicitly, religious change is influenced by the level of economic development,
but a series of other factors play an important part in this respect. These are
political, social, technological and geographic factors, practically comprising
the entire history of a population. In other words, economic development
practically stimulates secularization, but at an equal development level we may
encounter countries with a different degree of secularization. The differentiation
is produced by the broader social and political context.
On the other hand, the experience of contemporary societies does not
entirely confirm the thesis according to which there should be a direct
association between economy and religion. In this respect, a counterexample is
provided by the Arabic countries of the Middle East, which are big producers of
petroleum, with a considerable affluence level but a small degree of
secularization and a smaller social development level, as compared to European

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

countries. The key to socio-cultural transformations does not reside as much in


economic development as in a more extensive process of social development.
The key of socio-cultural transformations does not reside as much in
economic development, as in a more extended process of social change. What is
important is not solely the economic growth, but the way in which it is
transposed socially and moulded, in its turn, by society. The high level of
material prosperity creates the premises of social and cultural change, but the
change in values influences the economic conditions (Inglehart, Halman,
Welzel, 2003).
Which would be the immediate implication of this interdependence of
economy and society for religiosity? A direct consequence is the emergence of
secularization in strongly economic developed societies. But economy does not
explain everything as we have shown above. According to Inglehart and Norris
(2004) the relation between religiosity and economy is practically mediated by
the feeling of human security and human vulnerability when faced with risks.
People living in better off societies, where individuals are exposed to rather low
social risks and where the social environment is quite predictable, are more
exposed to secularization. In exchange, people living in poor societies, mainly
concerned with agriculture and exposed to a less predictable environment will
experience the need to subordinate to a religious authority that may govern their
existence, shelter them from the risks they are exposed to and guarantee a better
life, if not in this world, at least in the next. The surveys approaching this matter
have demonstrated the existence of an association between the degree of
economic development and religious values, proving that poor societies are
usually described as being more religious (Pollack, 2003; Inglehart, Halman,
Welzel, 2003).
The same Inglehart (1971, 1990, 1997) shows that the experiences
encountered in the early stages of socialization play an important part in the
individuals’ orientation, as far as values are concerned and consequently also
determine his/her degree of religiosity. People who are socialized during
periods of economic and social insecurity will be more inclined towards order
and subordination to authority. Those who are socialized in periods of economic
and social welfare, as in the case of the large number of people born after World
War II in Western Europe and North America are more inclined towards
independence and self affirmation, post-materialist values which seldom
maintain a good relationship with traditional religiosity. On the other hand, the
change in the social context in which the mature individuals lives leads to the
modifying of his/her value orientations. A period of economic and social
instability leads to the re-orientation of the post-materialists towards
materialistic values, like the subordination to an external authority, be it
religious or not.
In the ex-communist states of Central and Eastern Europe the
decreasing social influence of religion had a double determination under the

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

communist regime. On the one hand, modernization, urbanism, industrialization


destroyed the traditional structures of society in which religion played an
essential part. On the other hand, religious persecutions and the promotion of
scientific atheism eliminated religion and religious institutions out of public life,
at least. Nevertheless, there have been differences in the degree of religiosity of
the people of the ex-communist countries, although the politics of atheism
promotion was common in the entire area.
The fall of the communist regime in the region determined the onset of
deep social, political and economic changes. The renouncement of the
centralized economy, the privatization and the passing to the market economy
triggered a state of economic recession in the area. But, as in the cases presented
above, the recession was not equally powerful in all states – some suffered more
and some less from these transformations. Although having a noble aim, mainly
the approach to democracy and free market economy, the transition period
translated into unemployment, inflation, a decreasing life standard and material
insecurity for many citizens of Eastern Europe. Moreover, the society of post-
communist states is a double risk society (Rinkevicius, 2000). On the one hand,
we are dealing with the risks of the “classical disease”, like poverty, disease,
unemployment, the acute lack of resources caused by economic transition. On
the other hand, we may refer to a series of more “modern” risks, like
environment pollution or nuclear energy. All of these create a growing degree
of existential insecurity and may lie at the foundation of religious revitalization
which was reported in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the
communist regimes (Inglehart, Norris, 2004; Pollack, 2004; Froese, 2005;
Kääriäinen, 1999).
As a contradiction to the secularization thesis, the supply-side thesis,
deriving from the economy, was elaborated. The adepts of this thesis (Finke,
1990; Finke & Stark, 1988; Iannaccone, 1991; Stark & Iannaccone, 1994) claim
that the secularization thesis is contradicted by reality. Starting from the case of
the United States, where the level of religiosity is a lot higher than the
secularization theory would predict, the authors consider that economic
development and modernization do not represent the major cause of religious
decline in Europe. By contrasting the United States and Europe one may
observe that while Northern America is characterized by both high religious
diversity and also a high level of religiosity, in Europe the monopoly on the
market of religious goods is associated with the strong secularization of society.
The explanation of the difference between these two cases resides in the fact
that while the American market of religious goods is free, in Europe traditional
religions own the monopoly.
According to the supply-side theory, a pluralist and free market of
religious goods stimulates religious institutions to diversify their offers and to
specialize. Thus, each person can find something that corresponds to his/her
spiritual motivations and, consequently, adhere to a certain religion. To the

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

extent to which the state does not intervene and allows the market of religious
goods to develop freely, the latter attracts more and more people towards
religion. If the market is monopolized by one single dominant religion
supported by the state, like in the Northern Protestant states, the offer is very
limited, and those who do not find the elements that should satisfy their spiritual
needs in the dominant religion tend to distance themselves from religion and
church.
The situation of Eastern countries during the communist regime was a
special one from this point of view. On the one hand, the market of religious
goods was blocked by the communist regime which has encouraged in some
country’s religious monopolies of certain churches, like the case of the
Orthodox Church in Romania or Russia. On the other hand, the communist
government was attempting to impose its own religion – scientific atheism
(Froese, 2004a, 2004b). The communist period represented a drawback for the
religious market, but the liberalization that took place after 1990 opened the
market for new religious institutions, so that individuals had the possibility of a
wider choice. Nevertheless, Inglehart and Norris (2004) show that the analysis
of empirical data does not support this hypothesis. A similar conclusion was
reached by Halman and Draulans (2004) who tested the supply-side theory in
the case of European countries.
Beyond the effect of secularization and religious market liberalization,
the uplifting of the restrictions imposed by the communist regime on religion
had an expected impact on individual religiosity. The fall of the Marxist
orientation regimes created the possibility of public manifestation of religiosity
and opened the way for religious education and propaganda. The emergence of
discussions on religious topics in the media, as well as the setting up of a
religious educational system allowed the penetration, at the population level, of
religious knowledge and created the premises for religious revival. Beyond the
effects of economic decrease or of the liberalization of the market of religious
goods, the uplifting of the restrictions imposed on religious practice may have
had a contribution to the triggering of religious revitalization.
By applying the facts presented above to the Romanian case, one may
state that, taking into account the thesis of secularization under the influence of
social development, one should expect Romania’s level of religiosity to be
superior to that of strongly industrialized countries in Central and Eastern
Europe, like the Czech Republic or Eastern Germany. If the level of religiosity
depends on the level of social development, then Romania will be more
religious than more developed countries and less religious than the less
developed ones. However, one must keep in mind that human and social
development does not just refer to more money, but to a more extended human
capital. The analysis carried out in this chapter shall relate the level of
religiosity not only to material welfare indicators, but also with those of human
development.

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

On the other hand, the social development impact on religious values


theory states that a diminishing economic security and a growth of economic
and social risks generates a change in values, so it can lead to religious
revitalization. In Romania the transition period generated more poverty and
existential insecurity than in countries like Eastern Germany and the Czech
Republic. Under these circumstances one should expect the religious revival in
Romania to be stronger as compared to one of the countries where the
economic transformations generated less insecurity.
Taking into account the supply-side theory, one should expect the
religious revitalization experienced by this area and by Romania in particular to
originate in the liberalization of the religious good’s market which took place
after the fall of the communist regimes. By the same token, an association is
expected to exist between religiosity and the level of religious diversity. In
countries with an increased religious diversity the level of religiosity is expected
to be higher, as compared to countries where there is a certain religious
monopoly. At a first glance, Romania’s case contradicts this theory, as religious
diversity is low enough (86% of the population is Orthodox) but the indicators
of religious implication have high enough values. On the other hand, even if
Romania does not confirm this hypothesis one should consider the association
of the degree of religious revitalization of a country and religious diversity.
Given this situation, religious revival may be the effect of the opening of the
market of religious goods, without any influence of pluralism on the level of
religiosity.
Pollack (2001) shows that there are four factors influencing the degree
of secularization of the post-communist societies: the degree of modernization,
political oppression, dominant denomination and the approach to national ideas.
Consequently, in the countries where the political oppression of religion was
milder, churches managed to survive and maintain a certain ecclesiastic life.
Religious values, too, where better kept by the population. Moreover, the
surveys carried out after the fall of the communist regime showed that the
religion that best survived communism was the Catholic one, supported by the
international structure of the Catholic Church. (Pollack, 2001, 2003; Need,
Evans, 2001; Froese, 2004a; Stark, 2001; Bruce, 2001). Except for the
dimensions of political oppression, the type of dominant religion, the closeness
of religion and the national ideas contributed to the preservation of a high
degree of religiosity among the population, as religion was perceived as a
keeper of national identity and a shelter from the bolshevik danger. This
phenomenon took place in Poland, Lithuania and Romania – countries where
the dominant religion played an important part in the formation of a national
identity (Franklin Lytle, 1998; Gheorghe, 2004; Gillet, 2001; Bruce, 1999,
2001; Froese, 2004a).
Coming back to the case of Romania, the situation of the Orthodox
Church was a special one during the communist regime (Stark, 2001; Franklin

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Lytle, 1998; Stan & Turcescu, 2000; Gillet, 2001; Meyendorff, 1996). Although
oppressed by the political power, the Orthodox Church submitted to the
government, following the byzantine tradition, and managed to overcome the
communist experiment with smaller losses, as compared to other churches.
Besides, Romanians often associate the idea of orthodoxy to that of nation, as
Orthodox Christianity is strongly linked to the Romanian nation in the
collective imagination (Gillet, 2001; Gheorghe, 2004; Stan, Turcescu, 2000;
Franklin Lytle, 1998). Both the special situation of the Orthodox Church during
communism and the association of orthodox religion to national ideas
contributed, to a certain extent, to the preservation of a high level of religiosity
in Romania, towards the end of the 20th century.
Unfortunately, these two factors are difficult to translate in quantity
measures that would allow their use as predictors of a statistics analysis.
Nevertheless, we considered that they couldn’t be ignored when we attempted
to explain why Romanians believe in God and grant a higher importance to
religion than other Europeans. The analysis carried out in this chapter will
follow the evaluation of religious value orientation in Romanians, as compared
to other European people, as well as its variation in time. The analysis will
attempt to establish which elements are the ones influencing the degree of
religiosity of a people. We shall bare in mind a few contrasting hypotheses
explaining the level of religiosity, mainly the association between religiosity
and the level of social development, as well as the connection between the
religious diversity of a country and the religious values shared by the
population. By the same token, we shall try to find explanatory factors for the
religious revitalization that was reported in Central and Eastern Europe, by
using similar theoretical references.

The strategy for analysis and the employed indicators


This paper employs a comparative analysis, by contrasting Romania
and other European countries. On the other hand, we studied the evolution in
terms of religiosity in Romania from a longitudinal perspective, thus trying to
establish the variation of religious values at the level of the masses in two
different moments in time. The analyses were run of the two waves of European
Values Survey research, carried out in 1990 and 1999 / 2000. The first wave
coveres 24 European societies, while the second provides information about 32
countries in Europe1.
In order to identify the factors influencing the level of religiosity in
different European countries, as well as the level of religious revitalization, a
number of linear regressions were performed, which allow the determination of

1
See Halman (2001) for details about the research.
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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

the cumulative effect of the respective factors. We must mention the fact that
the analyses included in the present chapter were carried out at the level of a
unit, mainly, the country, the purpose being that of finding the elements that
make Romanians more religious than other people, in general. We did not
search for what influences a persons’ religious orientation, at an individual
level. On the other hand, in the context of this paper the emphasis does not lie
on explaining the degree of religiousness in other European people, but on the
private case of Romania and the transversal comparison which serves us as a
explanatory instrument.
The data analysis implied the use of two types of variables: dependent
variables, whose variation we want to explain and predictors, meaning variables
with an explanatory role in the analysis schema. The dependent variables used
were: religiosity and religious revival.
Religiosity represents the latent dimension of religious belief. This is a
reality we cannot measure directly. Religious values are translated, nevertheless,
in attitudes and behaviors. Beyond the behaviorist indicators of religiosity, the
attitudes exhibited towards the different components of the religious system
(goods, persons, dogmas) allow us to evaluate the individuals’ religious values.
Thus, the proper way of measuring religiosity resides in identifying the factors
determining the common variation of the variables referring to the attitudes
towards religious objects. The statistic method through which it can be done is
represented by factorial analysis.
The specific problem raised by comparative research in this case is
related to the possibility of identifying a way of measuring religious belief that
would be valid for all societies considered in the analysis. In order to come up
with an indicator of religiosity that should be valid for all countries, irrespective
of the moment in time when it was measured, we used a technique of data
reducing, the type of factorial confirmatory analysis. Consequently, we built up
a factorial model and carried out the analysis on the entire set of data, at one
moment in time. Then, keeping the loadings of the factors at a constant level,
that of the values resulted from the first model, we used the model for each
country and calculated the index of fit, thus making sure that I was using the
same measurement for religiosity in all countries and that I was measuring the
same thing in all cases. I then repeated the analysis for different moments in
time (1990 and 2000), making sure that the measurements were equivalent in
the different years I had considered in the analysis. A table with the indicators
of the fit of the model for each country included in the analysis at different
moments in time can be found at the end of this chapter (Table 3).

151
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Diagram 1. The factorial structure of religiosity (factorial confirmatory analysis)
The Importance of
e1
I in personal
religion t t lilife
i iviata
l
,80
The Importance of God in personal
e2 lifel ,89

Religiosity e5
,58

e3 Trust in the social implication of


the Church ,78

e4 Trust in religious ideas

RMSEA= 0,034 P test for close fit = 1,000; CFI=0,999, IFI=0,999


Source of data: EVS 1990-1993 and 1999-2000

Practically, the index of religiosity is constructed as a factorial score


and it explains the variation of variables connected to the importance of religion
in personal life, to the importance of God in personal life, to the trust in the
intervention of the Church in social matters and to the belief in certain religious
ideas. The importance of religion in personal life is measured by the answer to
the question How important is religion in your life. The given answers are
recorded on a scale of four levels. The importance of God is measured by the
answer to the item How important is God in your life. The given answers are
scaled from 1 to 10, where 1 means unimportant and 10 very important. The
trust in the social implication of the Church represents a summative score built
from the affirmative answers to the following questions: In general, do you
believe the Church to offer the right answers to the individuals’ moral problems
and needs / Problems of family life / Spiritual needs of people / Social problems
of the country .The score takes values from 0 to 4, where 4 means maximal
acceptance of the social implication of the church. The belief in religious ideas
is also constructed as a summative score out of affirmative answers to the
following questions: Do you believe that there is a God or not / Life after death
/ Hell / Heaven /Sin. The values of the score rank from 0 to 5, 5 meaning
maximal acceptance of traditional religious beliefs. In essence, it is religiosity
that influences the way in which an individual answers these questions. For
instance, a high score of the religiosity variable indicates a high level of
religiousness, while a low value indicates orientation towards secularization.
The indexes presented in Diagram 1 shows that the model fits the data. Running
the model on the full EVS 1990 data set, as well as on the EVS 2000 data,

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

proves its validity:, and indicates that the factorial structure is similar in both
waves of the research. Also, separately using the model for each country
included in the data sets for each year of research (1990 and 2000), it proved its
adequacy in each case. Therefore, one may state that the model correctly
indicates the degree of religiousness for each society, such that one may make
both cross-country, as well as longitudinal comparisons. Also, the model proved
to be adequate for the Romanian WVS 2005 data set, as the appendix shows.
We must mention that the indicator has been rescaled and it takes values from 0
to 100, where 0 stands for the absence of religious belief and 100 is a maximal
religious value orientation.
Religious revival is measured by a number of indicators, each of them
having a correspondent in the dimensions of religious involvement. Practically,
three dimensions of religious revival where constantly kept in mind: belief,
practice and affiliation. Consequently, religious revitalization was made
operational by measuring the variation between the average of the index of
religiosity for each country in 1990 and 2000, the variation of religious public
practice in each country in 1990 and 2000 and the variation of religious non-
affiliation in each country in 1990 and 2000. The practice in public space was
measured by using a standard indicator: attending church at least once a month.
In order to study the dynamics and the dimension of religious affiliation we
used a non-affiliation indicator, as from the data gathered previously we knew
that the level of religious affiliation was very high in Romania.
The predictors used in this chapter represent indicators for three series
of different phenomena, corresponding to the research hypotheses we have
presented above. In order to make a country’s level of social development
operational we used three indicators. Starting from the idea that development
does not solely refer to money and economic growth, three indicators were
introduced in the analysis: the GDP for 2001, an indicator of economic
development, the average of the higher educated population in the total of the
population and the average life expectancy, the last two being indicators of the
human capital stock of a society. Moreover, in order to measure the variations
of the economic situation in a 10 year period I used the growth of the GDP
between 1990 and 2000 as an indicator.
Religious concentration was measured by borrowing an indicator from
economic research– Herfindahl - Hirschman Index. It represents a widely used
measure in the religious sociology survey, investigating the degree of monopoly
on the religious market (see Inglehart, Norris, 2004; Halman, Draulans, 2004).
In economy, this index is used to measure concentration on the economic
market. In the case of the religious market, things are somewhat similar. The

formula on which the index is based is 10 ∗ s i2 , where s i2 represents the
percentage of a religious group out of the total population. When the market is
in a monopoly situation, the value of the index tends to go towards 1000, while
when the market is shared by several denominations, the value of the index
153
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

decreases. Small values of the index show the existence of a pluralism situation,
while high values indicate the existence of monopoly. In the analysis carried out
in this chapter the initiated value of the index was divided by 100 to facilitate
the interpretation of the results.
One last indicator refers to the change which occurred in post-
communist societies after 1990, a change that could have favored religious
revitalization. An indicator of this change is the inclusion of the respective state
to the group of post-communist countries. This indicator is a relatively weak
one because it does not directly refer to the uplifting of the restrictions imposed
under the communist regime, but it is a marker of the processes and evolutions
which took place in these countries after 1990.

Religiosity and religious revival in post-communist Romania


The data referring to religiosity confirm the results of the previous
surveys. In Romania, religiosity has very high values, situating Romania among
the first European countries, alongside Malta, Poland and Ireland, all of these
being predominantly Catholic countries. According to the data in Figure 0.1 the
medium values of religiosity are close to maximum in Romania, just like in
Malta, Poland and Ireland, indicating a predominance of religious values and a
low degree of secularization. Practically, Romania proves to be the most
religious Orthodox country and, alongside Poland, the most religious ex-
communist country. According to the WVS 2005 data, Romania displays an
even higher religiosity score, close to the one registered in 2000 for Malta. At
the opposite pole we find the Czech Republic, Eastern Germany and Estonia,
alongside the Northern countries, Denmark and Sweden. The data support the
idea of profound secularization of Protestant societies, either Eastern or
Western, as well as that of the preservation of religious values in Catholic
societies. Nevertheless, the predominant denomination does not entirely explain
the variation of the level of religious belief as long as mainly Catholic countries,
like France, are among the champions of secularization, while the mainly
Orthodox Romania is at the opposite pole.
If we choose to look at them from the perspective of time evolution in
religious values, the data in Figure 2 indicate the emergence of a phenomenon
of religious revival especially in East European countries, like Bulgaria,
Romania, Latvia and Slovakia, while secularization spectacularly advanced in a
space where religious values had lost much of their territory – Eastern
Germany. While Romania and Bulgaria are the champions of religious growth
in the Europe of the last decade of the 20th century, Eastern Germany stands
opposite to them. In most European states religious values stagnate, as no
spectacular evolutions are being recorded. Could this be the explanation of this
religious renewal in Romania and Bulgaria? Or could it be religious

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

liberalization, increasing existential risks or increasing religious diversity? We


shall look for the answer to these questions in the following section.

Figure 1 Average level of religiosity in Europe, in 2000

Eastern Germany
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Sweden
France
Netherlands
Slovenia
United Kingdom
Bulgaria
Hungary
Luxembourg
Belgium
Russia
West Germany
Latvia
Spain
Finland
Belarus
Iceland
Ucraine
Austria
Lituania
Slovakia
Greece
Croatia
Italy
Portugal
Irland
Poland
Romania2000
Romania 2005
Malta
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90

Source: EVS 1999-2000, WVS 2005

Figure 2 The variation of the average level of religiosity between 1990 and 2000 in Europe

East Germany
Great Britain
Irelanda
Spain
Hungary
France
Poland
Netherlands
Icelanda
Slovenia
Denmark
Austria
Belgium Secularizationm Religious revival
Czech Republic
West Germany
Finland
Sweden
Italy
Slovakia
Portugal
Latvia
Romania
Bulgaria
-10 -5 0 5 10 15
Source: EVS 1990-1993, 1999-2000

155
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 3 Variation of average level of religiosity by cohorts, between 1990 and 1999 in
Romania
90

80

70

60

50

40

30

1993
20 2000
2005

10

0
born after born between born between born between born between born between born between born before
1984 1974 - 83 1964 -73 1954-63 1944-53 1934-43 1924-33 1923

Date: EVS 1993, 1999

If we change the register and strictly refer to Romania, the analysis of


religious variation on units indicates an almost linear variation among
religiosity and age, especially for the data of 1990. Practically, the level of
religious belief grows as people grow older. The previous result supports the
theory of age effect on religious belief, meaning that as people turn older they
tend to get more religious. Comparatively, in 2000 an important growth of
religiosity was noticed, especially in groups socialized during the communist
period. For the youngest cohort, consisting of people born after 1974, the
variation between the average of religiosity in 1990 and 1999 is at
approximately 20 points, while for the other units it is at approximately 10
points. We must mention the fact that for the older cohorts, who have lived a
longer period of time outside the communist regime, religious belief is
preserved at the same level for both moments in time, the indexes having the
highest possible values.
As compared to the early 1990s, the 2005 data shows a different picture
of the Romanian society. In 1993, the religiosity level increased with age.
However, in 2005, the intergenerational differences are smaller, even if the
older cohorts remain more religious than the younger ones. On average, the
society is more religious in 2005 than it used to be in 1993 or 1999, the most
spectacular increase being recorded for the younger cohorts. For the ones born
in 1974-1983, the religiosity indicator is 30 points higher in 2005 as compared
to 1993 and 1999. Similarly, those born before 1984 have a very high level of
156 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

religious belief. They were only 5 years old or less in 1989, and were practically
socialized in an environment allowing the free manifestation of religiousness.
All data converge shows that Romania religiosity is not declining, but on the
contrary, it tends to increase.
The data referring to the non-affiliation gives other evidence suggesting
that the Romanian society is strongly oriented towards religion. The percentage
of those declaring non-affiliation significantly decreased between 1993 and
2005, nowadays almost everyone declaring to belong to a religious
denomination (see Figure 5). As compared to other European societies, only
Malta displayed a higher level of affiliation in 2000 (Halman, 2001). However,
since Romania orthodoxy used to represent an important role in defining and
preserving national identity, the high level of religious affiliation also comes as
a consequence of expressing this identity.

Figura 5. Variation of the percent of non-affiliated persons in Romania between


1993 and 2005
7%

1993: 6%
6%

5%

4%

3%

1997: 2% 1999: 2%
2%

2003: 1%
1%
2005: 0,4%

0%

Source: EVS 1993, 1999, WVS 1997, 2005, BOP 2003

From a longitudinal perspective, religious affiliation increases between


1993 and 2000, the percentage of the non-affiliated ones decreased by 4
percentage points. A similar phenomena, labelled as religious revitalization
(Pollack, 2003), take place almost everywhere in the former communist
societies (see Figure 6). Within the region, Bulgaria and the three Baltic states
display the higher religious “re-affiliation”. Poland and Eastern Germany do not
display significant differences. While in the Czech Republic, secularization
continues in the 1990s. In the Western part of the continent, with a few

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

exceptions (the UK, Portugal, Austria), the rest of the societies experienced
secularization, smoothly decreasing the religious affiliation the dominant
tendency being the dominant process. One may notice that, overall, from the
point of view of religious affiliation, the 1990s were marked by religious revival
in the Eastern Europe and a continuation of secularization in the Western
countries.

Figura 6. The variation of the percentage of the non-affiliated persons in Romania


between 1993 and 2005
Bulgaria
United Kingdom
Latvia
Lithuania
Portugal
Estonia
Slovacia Religious revival
Romania
Austria
Hungary
Poland
Finland
East Germany
Denmark
Iceland
Italy
West Germany
Slovenia Secularization
France
Belgium
Spain
Irealnd
Netherlands
Sweden
Czech Republic

-40 -35 -30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10

Source: EVS 1990-1993, 1999-2001.


The figures represent the difference between levels of non-affiliation in 2000 and 1993.

In Romania, the religious revival had different paces during the 1990s.
There is a sharp increase of church frequenting immediately after the
communist breakdown, but after the mid-90s, the increase stopped, and no
significant change occurred (see Figure 7). During the whole period, the
religious practice increased from 30% to 45%. The initial increase, as well as
the later stagnation suggest that the latent religiosity, freed from the communist
constrains, became manifest at the beginning of the transition period. The
“religiosity stock” showed out, reaching a maximum, and then it remained at
this equilibrium point.

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania
Figure 7. The variation of religious practice in Romania between 1993 and 2005
50%

45%
1999
1997 2005
46% 2003
40% 45% 45%
43%
35%

30%
1993
25%
31%

20%

15%

10%

5%

0%
1992 1994 1996 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006

Source: EVS 1993, 1999, WVS 1997, 2005, BOP 2003


The figures represent the percentage of those going to church at least once a month.

Figure 8. The variation of public religious practice between 1990 and 2000

Irland
Eastern Germany
Belgium
United Kingdom
Secularization
Poland
Netherlands
Hungary
France
Spain
Slovenia
Austria
Sweden
Czech Republic
West Gemany
Denmark
Italy
Iceland Religious revival
Finland
Portugal
Latvia
Slovakia
Bulgaria
Romania
-25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0 5 10 15 20

Source: EVS 1990-1993, 1999-2001.


The figures represent the difference between the percentage of those going to church at
least once a month, in 2000 and 1990.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

During the decade which succeeded the communist breakdown, across


Europe, Romania had the highest increase of religious practice, as measured by
the percentage of those declaring to go to church at least once a month. With an
increase of the respective index with 15 percentage points between 1993 and
1999, Romania may be labelled as the European ‘champion’ of religious revival
at the end of the twentieth century. Bulgaria, Slovakia and Latvia are the other
societies which experienced significant scores in the 2000s EVS wave as
compared to the 1990 one. For the former soviet countries like Russia, Ukraine
and Belarus, there is no data to allow longitudinal comparisons. At the opposite
pole, Ireland displayed higher secularization, with 15 percentage points less in
2000 as compared to 1990, when considering the percentage of those going to
church at least once a month. Among the former communist societies, Eastern
Germany and Poland, the register dropped of 5 percentage points. The former
DDR continues the tendency of decreasing the social impact of religion,
probably as a part of the converging process with the West Germany. In Poland,
the Catholic Church played an important role during communism. When
communism ended, this opposition naturally disappeared, as well the incentive
to publicly contest the regime by going to church.

Religious revival: economic decrease or religious diversity?


In order to identify the factors influencing the level of religiosity of a
country we ran some regression models that included different sets of
predictors. When we only used as variables the degree of religious diversity and
the Gross Domestic Product, the results of the regression indicated a double
determination of the general level of religiosity in a country (Model 1 of Table
1). However, the relation indicated by the data between religious diversity and
the degree of religiosity was reversed as compared to the one predicted by the
theory of offer and demand. The lower the diversity was, the more the belief
spreads among the population. This strong and highly significant relationship
can be encountered in all three models of regression in Table 1. Thus, the
empirical data show that religious pluralism is the one associated to
secularization and it does not generate religiosity, a fact supported by Berger
(1969) and Bruce (1999). According to the cited authors pluralism facilitates
contact with other religions and questions the authority of only one super-
natural being, a fact which weakens the religious feeling.
Another aspect tested by the regression models is the effect of the level
of development on the degree of religiosity. In the first model, which is only
included as predictor for the GDP, the regression highlights a significant, but
lower effect of the GDP on the degree of religiosity. According to this model, in
countries with a lower level of economic development religious values are more
spread out among the population. But if we include the average of the higher
educated population in the model (Model 2 of Table 1) the effect of the GDP
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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

disappears but the model includes the average of the higher educated population
as a significant predictor. Consequently, the effect of the level of economic
development was not a real one, but it was in fact determined by the degree of
education of the population which determines and is, at its turn, determined by
the degree of economic development. In the third model we have replaced the
GDP from set of predictors with the average life expectancy (the two variables
cannot be simultaneously introduced in the regression for reasons of multi-
collinearity2), preserving the average of the higher educated population and
religious diversity in the model. In this case, too, the average of the higher
educated population is kept in the regression model as a significant predictor of
the degree social development, while the average life expectancy is eliminated
from the model. We may conclude that a populations’ level of religiosity
depends on its degree of development, but the main effect is not that of the
economic component of development, but the human capital, expressed by
means of the educational capital.

Table 1. Linear regression, dependent variable: religiosity in Europe 2000


Model 1 Model 2 Model 3
B β B β B β
Constant 0,124 0,538 1,548
Religious
1,533 0,63*** 1,253 0,51*** 1,270 0,52***
concentration
GDP 2001 -0,017 -0,32* -0,012 -0,22
Percent of higher
-1,695 -0,31* -0,020 -0,37*
educated population
Average life
-1,539 -0,15
expectancy

R 0,67 0,73 0,71


R2 0,45 0,59 0,50
Adjusted R2 0,41 0,47 0,45

***p<0,001; **p<0,01; *p<0,05


Data source: EVS 1999-2000

Regarding the three models as a whole, one may notice that religious
diversity is the predictor with the highest effect on the degree of religiosity of a
population. The degree of human development also plays an important part, but
the level of economic development does not have any impact when it is being
controlled for the effects of the educational stock. The models invalidate the

2
For all of the three models multi-colinearity was tested by Tolerance. For all predictors
included in the presented models Tolerance did not drop below 0,600, a fact which does
not indicate the multi-colinearity of the predictors.
161
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

supply-side theory and support the secularization thesis. However,


secularization is not determined economically, but by the general level of
human development.

Figure 4 Religiosity by religious concentration in European countries in 2000

Malta

Romania
1,50
Poland
Irelanda
Italy Portugal

Croatia Greece
1,00 Slovakia
Lithuania
Religiosity

Ukraine
Icelanda
Austria
Belarus Finland
Latvia West Germany
Luxembourg Spain
Hungary
0,50 Slovenia
Netherlands
France
Sweden
Denmark
Czech Republic
Estonia
0,00
R Sq Linear = 0,349
East Germany

0,20 0,40 0,60 0,80 1,00


Religious concentration
Data: EVS 1999-2000

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania
Figure 5 Religiosity by percent of population with university degree in European
countries in 2000

2,00

R Sq Linear = 0,293
Malta

Romania
1,50
Poland
Irelanda
Portugal
Croatia
Religiosity

Italy Greece
1,00 Slovakia
Lithuania
Austria
Icelanda
Ukraine
Belarus Finland
Spain
Russia Latvia
Luxembourg
0,50 Hungary
Netherlands
Bulgaria
Slovenia France
Sweden

Czech Republic
Denmark Estonia
0,00

10,00 20,00 30,00 40,00


percent of population with university degree

Data: EVS 1999-2000

Starting from the results of the three regressions we may discuss the
causes determining the existence of such a high level of religiosity in Romania.
We have seen that a population’s level of religiosity is the result of a
combination between the degree of religious pluralism and the stock of
educational capital. By considering Romania’s case, the respective model fitted
the existing situation pretty well. The graphics presented in Figure 4 and Figure
5 better illustrate what the results of the regression have revealed. The high
degree of religiosity in Romanians can by explained by the fact that the
religious market is almost a monopoly of the Orthodox Church and by the fact
that Romanians are among the European people with the lowest level of higher
education. Figure 4 presents the variation of religiosity according to religious
diversity. On the graphic, one may notice both the strong association of the two
variables and Romania’s position, in the right upper corner, next to Malta,
Poland, Ireland and Portugal, all states with one single denomination
dominating the religious market. Moreover, Figure 5 illustrates the relationship
between religiosity and the average of the higher educated population. Again,
Romania is situated next to Malta and Poland, in the upper left corner, among

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

countries with high religiosity and a low degree of higher educated population.
2005 WVS data support the above noticed tendency, showing a further increase
of religiosity, in a society with low religious diversity and few higher educated
people.
According to the presented results, the answer to the question, “Why
are Romanians among the most religious Europeans?” can be found in the
combination between the small religious diversity and the low average of higher
educated populations. These are the two factors which contribute decisively to
the explanation of the high level of religiosity in the Romanian population.

Table 2 Linear regressions – dependant variables: the variation of religiosity


between 1990 and 2000, the variation of public religious practice between 1990 and
2000, the variation of non-affiliation between 1990 and 2000.
The variation of
The variation of The variation of
religious non-
religiosity 1990 - religious practice
affiliation 1990-
2000 1990 - 2000
2000
B β B β B β
(Constant) 0,327 7,715 -2,388
- 3,774 0,707**
GDP growth 1990-2000 -0,078 -2,587 -0,689**
0,955***
Higher educated 0,019 0,014
-0,007 -0,379 -0,304 -0,336
population
Religious concentration 0,036 0,041 2,581 0,063 -6,719 -0,113
Ex-communist country -0,102 -0,318 -1,382 -0,094 -2,427 -0,114

R 0,782 0,635 0,736


R2 0,612 0,403 0,541
Adjusted R2 0,515 0,254 0,433

***p<0,001; **p<0,01
Data source: EVS 1993, 1999-2000.

By using a similar set of predictors to the one I have used to explain the
variations in the degree of religiosity, I have investigated the determinants of
religious revival which occurs mostly in ex-communist countries. The
difference from the previous models lied in the fact that the GDP used as
indicator for the level of economic growth was replaced by the GDP growth
1990-2000. While the first indicator referred to an existing state at a certain
moment in time, the second one reflected the transformations that had taken
place along a decade in the economic situation of the countries included in the
analysis. Moreover, I have also introduced a variable indicating the belonging to
the ex-communist countries in the set of predictors. By using as predictors the
growth of the GDP 1990-2000, the average of higher educated population,
religious diversity and the belonging to the group of ex-communist countries I

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Religiosity and Religious Revival during the Transition Period in Romania

applied three models of regression, having as predicted variables the variation


of the degree of religiosity, the variation of religious public practice and the
variation of religious non-affiliation.
The results of the three linear regressions lead to similar conclusions, as
was shown in Table 2. In all of the three cases the only predictor significantly
contributing to the explanation of the variations of religious implications is the
variation of the GDP. According to the results, the decrease of the GDP
generates an increase of both religious faiths and religious practice, as well as a
decrease of non-affiliation, thus confirming the thesis of the secularization and
of the impact the economically insecure periods of time have on the religious
phenomenon. The religious revitalization that has been noticed in the last
decade originates in the growth of social insecurity on the background of the
changes taking place especially in societies making the transition from
command to market economy. The other predictors - the degree of religious
diversity, the percentage of the higher educated population, and being a former
communist country - have no significant effect for any of the dimensions of
religious revival. The data validate the hypothesis of secularization and
invalidate the theory of the effect that religious diversity has on the growth of
religious involvement. In the case of Romania, the high level of religious
revitalization is justified by the strong economic decrease experienced during
the transition period and measured by the decrease of the GDP. The lowering of
life standards and the increase of social risks generated by the economic
recession led to a growth of religious belief which, in this context, appears as a
factor of stability, of ordering life promising, eventually, a better future, like
Inglehart and Norris (2004) show. The ‘90s were, for Romania, years of
stronger economic recession than for other ex-communist countries and this fact
accounts for the high level of religious revitalization

Conclusions
At the beginning of the millennium Romania is one of the most
religious countries in Europe, both from the point of view of religious practice,
as well as from that of belief and shared values. In a Europe that turns its face
from religion more and more, Romanians are not only among the most faithful
inhabitants of the continent, but the quantitative data demonstrate a religious
revival on several dimensions of religious involvement. The ‘90s brought up a
religious renewal in Romania and this fact had no effect on the uplifting of
restrictions the communist regime had imposed on religious practice or of the
increasing offer on the religious goods market, as one may think at a first
glance.
For European countries the degree of religiosity is the result of the
combination of two factors: the level of human development and the absence of
religious pluralism. What is important is not as much the level of economic
165
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

development, but the educational stock of the population. The more educated
the population of a country is, the lower religious belief becomes. Education
makes the surrounding world more predictable, easier to understand, and it
reduces the risks to which the individual is exposed, securing a better life for
him/her. On the other hand, the access to education takes away the “magic” of
the world, university people being more inclined to interpret the world
rationally and to know it through the logic of science. All of these reduce the
orientation towards a religious vision and decrease religiosity.
On the other hand, the data of the analysis do not support the supply-
side theory. On the contrary, it looks, as in the case of Europe, religious
diversity strongly influences the degree of religiosity, but the relation is
reversed. Reduced diversity encourages religious belief. The lack of direct
contact with other religions strengthens the main religion. The monopoly is
actually an advantage, instead of a disadvantage. One should bear in mind that
the level of religious faith is influenced by a combination of two factors and not
just by religious diversity. Indeed, Northern countries are under the conditions
of a religious monopoly, but they have a higher education level, which explains
the low religiosity.
In the case of Romania, the high level of religious faith originates in
both the situation of a religious semi-monopoly, in which the Orthodox Church
occupies the biggest share of the market, as well as in the small average of the
higher educated population. Why are the Romanians among the most religious
Europeans? The answer proved to be simple: because we have a very strong
Church and a reduced human capital. The religious revival reported in post-
communist societies is generated by the augmentation of risks and existential
insecurity. On the background of difficulties generated by economic recession,
an important number of people turned to religion so as to maintain their inner
balance. Romania suffered quite a lot during the transition period, as it had to
outgrow a moment of profound economic recession. This fact accounts, to a big
extent, the dimensions that religious revitalization was acquired in our country.
In this context the posterior evolutions of religious involvement and of faith in
Romania are very interesting. On the basis of the obtained results one should
expect that a better economic situation should bring about a long term
stagnation of religious revival and even a decrease of faith and religious
practice. But these are predictable only in the long run because values in general
and, implicitly, religious values, change slowly. The future researches may
validate or invalidate this prediction and should show us whether we are
heading towards secular Europe or we are developing a strongly religious
influenced culture.

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Annex
Table 3 Indexes of fit of the factorial model in Diagram 1 for the countries
included in the analysis.
1990 2000
Country
RMSEA 1 CFI2 RMSEA CFI
Austria 0,088 0,993 0,063 0,996
Belgium 0,055 0,997 0,057 0,997
Bulgaria 0,092 0,991 0,070 0,995
The Czech
0,102 0,991 0,054 0,997
Republic
Croatia 0,146 0,983
Denmark 0,177 0,968 0,095 0,992
Estonia 0,142 0,980
France 0,046 0,998 0,063 0,996
Eastern Germany 0,057 0,997 0,121 0,987
Western Germany 0,053 0,998 0,111 0,990
Greece 0,122 0,986
Ireland 0,195 0,973 0,184 0,974
Iceland 0,160 0,978
Italy 0,086 0,994 0,120 0,998
Latvia 0,255 0,904 0,089 0,993
Lithuania 0,145 0,982
Luxemburg 0,097 0,991
Malta 0,145 0,924
Great Britain 0,074 0,995 0,082 0,993
Holland 0,100 0,991 0,083 0,994
Poland 0,193 0,975 0,180 0,977
Portugal 0,100 0,992 0,181 0,974
Romania 0,100 0,991 0,122 0,960
Russia 0,086 0,993
Slovakia 0,082 0,994 0,092 0,994
Slovenia 0,056 0,997 0,056 0,997
Spain 0,095 0,992 0,081 0,994
Sweden 0,165 0,972 0,134 0,981
Ukraine 0,079 0,994
Hungary 0,123 0,986 0,075 0,995
Romania 2005 RMSEA=0,108 CFI=0,997
Note: 1. The closer the value of RMSEA is to 0,000, the more adequate it is to the
empirical data. Given the dimensions of the samples and the number of variables in the
model, indexes smaller than 0.100 can be considered as valid.
2. The closer the value of the CFI is to 1.000, the more adequate the model is to the
empirical data. Given the dimensions of the samples and the number of variables in the
model, indexes are higher than 0.950 which indicate a satisfactory fit of the model.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

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169
Family values in Romania and in Europe

RALUCA POPESCU

This study aims at analyzing changing family values in Romania, from


a comparative perspective with the European countries. The study starts from
the question whether Romanians have or do not have a different value pattern
compared to other European countries and tries to distinguish their common and
different aspects. How important is the family in the Romanian society in a
European context, which is the place that it occupies in the individual’s life,
how much is the marriage valorised in comparison with other family models,
how tolerant are Romanians related to different aspects regarding family and
sexuality? These are several of the questions this study tries to answer to. An
important goal is identifying the determinant factors of the analysed value
models and drawing an explanatory model for the specific value configuration.
The conceptual framework of the analyses is the traditional-modern-
postmodern trajectory. The work tries to identify where Romania is placed on
this axis, taking into account more criteria: the importance of the institution of
family in society, the propensity towards alternative family models, the
woman’s participation in the labour market and tolerance. The study is
structured in two parts. The first part, with a more descriptive character,
illustrates the main changes that have taken place at a demographic level and in
the family lifestyles. The second section focuses on the comparative data
analysis discussing the results we obtained. A transversal comparative analysis
on the EVS/WVS data in the 1999-2001 wave was approached at the European
level.
Romania’s situation was analysed both transversally and longitudinally
with data from three available EVS/WVS waves (waves 1990-1993, 1999-2001,
2005). The main conclusions of the analysis are presented in the final part,
discussing the way in which European countries are grouped depending on the
value orientations we analysed and what are the specific features of the
Romanian profile.

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The family between change and stability


Researchers, political actors and public opinion in general seem to
favour the idea that family has suffered deep transformations for the last
decades. At the same time, the family continues to represent a fundamental
institution in the society, a fact for which in public debates the problem of
“family decline” is regarded with more and more concern.
The typical image of the family, assumed also by the political and
scientific discourse, is that of an institution preserving the national values and
traditions, being relatively independent of the socio-economic context and
having a high inertial stability (Ghebrea 2000). Without diminishing its
importance as a social institution, the changes in the last decades in the sphere
of family entitle the analyses to consider that, on the contrary, family does not
represent a conservative institution, but an institution adapted to the
transformations at the level of the society: “Family is now trying to get rid of
the «glory» of conservatism, of the merit of being the keeper of the national
values, rather becoming «the barometer» of the social changes, crossing a
visible democratization, secularization and liberalization process” (Mihăilescu
2000, p.17). The family seems more and more integrated in the dynamics of the
society, all the more conditioned by economic and social changes, influencing
the overall evolution in its turn.
The changes in the last decades in the Western society have raised the
idea that we are facing a new post-industrial, post-materialistic civilisation. New
lifestyles, a philosophy of freedom and experimentalism, a new phase of
consumerism, a controlled hedonism, and other ways of spending leisure time
appear. In the sphere of family, the individual interests become more important
than the expectations the society had from the family, the alternative models to
the classic nuclear family turn out to be more and more spread out, the functions
of the family are redefined, the roles and statuses are facing a process of
democratizations and last, but not least, the family values are changing.

Changes at a demographic level


Demographic evolutions have kept alive the alarmist discourses about
the family crisis in the contemporary society. More and more persons do not
marry or postpone the moment of their marriage. The marriage rate1 finds a
continuous decrease in all the European countries, with an average of all the 27
countries of the European Union, only 4.88 marriages per thousand population
in 2005 (compared to 5.31‰, as it was recorded in 1994). In the context of
delaying marriage and spreading the consensual unions, the average age at the

1
The source for all the macro-social data used in this chapter is from the Eurostat,
Statistical Office of the European Communities (http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/).
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

first marriage came to be almost 30. In Sweden it is 30.5 years for women and
32.9 years for men.
The pattern of early and universal marriage is still maintained in
Romania: the marriage rate is among the highest (6.56‰), in a slight ascending
tendency in the last years (compared to the lowest value of 5.85‰ in 2001) and
the average age at the first marriage is among the lowest in Europe, of 24.1
years for women and 27.5 years for men.
Given the fact that less and less people marry or delay the marriage, the
divorce stayed relatively constant in most of the countries, the average in the
EU countries being of 2 divorces per marriage. In Romania, in the last decades,
the value is relatively constant, at approximately 1.5 divorces per marriage.
Still, the researches that went further than simply comparing the
statistical data, demonstrate that we have to look with restraint at the pessimistic
predictions about the disintegration of the family and the disappearance of
marriage as a life contract. The unfavourable comparisons between present and
past can be misleading. The stability of the family may be a myth rather than a
historical reality. The researchers suggest that, centuries ago, the rates of the
successive marriages after the decease of one of the partners (in the context of a
high mortality rate) may be at the same height as the current ones successive to
divorce (Parkinson, 1993, p.12). Besides, the number of marriages that ended
with informal separations cannot be compared with the nowaday’s figures,
because at that time it was not recorded. The average duration of a current
marriage is comparable to the span of 100 years ago.
Due to woman’s emancipation and to her participation in the labour
market, in the context of recent value changes, more and more couples postpone
the moment of childbearing or they even renounce to have children. The
decrease of fertility under the replacement level, probably represents the most
important problem. Most often, the number of children that a woman can have
is reduced by postponing the moment of childbearing and, thus, by the
shortening the fertility period of time. The fertility at the level of EU countries
is at 1.52 children per woman, and in Romania of 1.32 children per woman. The
average age at the first child’s birth is 30 years old as well. In most countries,
this age is lower than the marriage age, in the context of the multiplication of
births outside the marriage. One third of the European children are born outside
the marriages and in some societies more than half of the new-born children are
in this situation (Island – 6%, Estonia – 58%, Sweden – 55%, Norway – 51%).
In Romania there is recorded average value of almost 30%.

Changes in family lifestyles


Important changes have also happened in what concerns the family
lifestyle. Single-parent families have become widespread. In the Baltic States
approximately one out of four families is a single-parent family (in Latvia, even
one out of three), high percentages, up to 20%, being common to more countries

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in Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia). Among the


Western European countries, most single-parent families are in Ireland and
Great Britain (approximately 16% of the families). Romania records an average
value at a European level (13.4%). On the other hand, the reconstituted family
(the second marriage for two divorced persons who have children) is more and
more spread, the same with other types of arrangements: homosexual marriages,
groups of persons who decide to live together for financial reasons, serial
marriages, conglomerates of marriages, etc. Though, the attachment for a stable
relationship remains high, as shown by further considerations.
More and more couples prefer the unofficial cohabitation instead of the
legal marriage. In Denmark, one out of five families is of this type. Values
above 10% of the total number of unions are also recorded in Finland, Norway,
Estonia, Holland, Great Britain, or Austria. In Romania, the consensual unions
are not spread out in the same way, representing 6.5% of the total number of
households, a higher value compared to some Eastern countries (Poland, The
Czech Republic, Slovakia, Lithuania) or Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain,
Greece or Portugal).
In this new type of union, couple relations define by what Anthony
Giddens calls “pure relationship”: “a social relation that was initiated only for
itself, for what any person can obtain from an relationship shared with the other
person, and which continues to the extent in which both partners consider it
brings them enough satisfaction in order to be supported by each one of them”
(Giddens, 2000, p.59). By the pure relationship type, this is not meant by only
love relationships; this is also valid for all the other relations: parents – children,
relatives, and friends. All of these become relationships that develop
permanently and in which the way of referring to the other is discovered “on the
fly”. Alternative strategies of child raising appear and intimacy replaces the
parental authority. The parents are rather the child’s friends, his/her protectors,
confidants and advisers.
In Romania, all these value changes in the family lifestyle or in family
relationships are less visible, because the transformation process is at the
beginning. As we will see in the next sections, these options/choices are rather
scarce.

The importance of the family


The place the family occupies in the individual’s life
Compared to the other European societies, in Romania, the importance
of family records an average value. In the case of the countries with the highest
scores, more than 90% of the population declares that the family is important or
very important. The group formed of these societies is heterogeneous from a
geographic point of view and seems to not respect a religious or historical-
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

political criterion. In the cathegory with highest scores we find countries from
former Yugoslavian space, more traditionalist countries like Turkey, Albania,
Malta, more conservative catholic countries like Iceland, Great Britain or
former socialist countries like Hungary. Levels comparable to the ones of
Romania can be found in Austria, Belgium, Norway, Slovakia, Denmark,
Finland, France, Spain (with values higher than 85%). The lowest scores are
registered in some socialist countries, especially in the former Soviet Union –
Russia, Belarus and the Baltic States – the only ones that, with the exception of
Germany, record values below 80%.
It is interesting to notice that in most of the countries it is considered
that the importance conferred to family should rise in the future, especially in
the countries which, at the moment, do not grant a very big importance to
family. Besides this, some other authors (Mihăilescu, 2000) noticed that “the
wish for the rise in the importance conferred to family is stronger in the
countries in which the changes in family models were deeper than in the
societies where these changes had a smaller role (...)” and the explanation could
refer to: “becoming aware of the difficulties produced by family changes and
the wish to strengthen the nuclear family or, on the contrary, to increase the
devotion to the new forms of family” (p.24). Analysing the experience of the
Western societies and, especially, of the Northern societies, it seems that the
individualization tendency rises up to a certain extent. Inglehart (1997) also
considers that postmodern value orientation is characterized, besides the
spreading of new values and lifestyles, also by the revalorization of tradition.
“The signs of a continuous individualization are counterbalanced by a rise in the
importance of the traditional values over the family structure, especially in some
of the most individualized states (...). We have got the impression that the
pendulum of individualization moves backwards, after the people had been
confronted with the consequences of the ideas that went too far” (Van der
Akker, Halman, de Moor, 1993, p. 109). The devotion to the family stays high
and it is expected to keep its values or to rise in the future.
The importance offered to family does not differ significantly according
to the individuals’ religiosity, such that for the greatest majority of the ones who
do not go to religious services, the family does not represent the most important
domain in their life. We can consider that the family represents a universal
human value, a fundamental component of the human existence.
In Romania, the attachment to family maintained a high level, being at
the same time the aspect of life that offers the biggest satisfaction to the
individuals. In the three waves, the importance conferred to the family kept high
constant values. There are not significant differences depending on sex,
education, job or the residential area. Still, the individuals’ age and marital
status influence the importance conferred to the family. For the youngsters, the
family is more important than for the old persons, as for the married persons or
for the ones who live in consensual unions compared to the persons who

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experienced the dissolution of their own family – divorced, separated persons or


widows and widowers. A high importance is paid by the unmarried persons, but
in this case the family they relate to is their family of origin, not their own one.

Figure 1 The importance conferred to the family in the European countries (in the
present and in the future)

Source: EVS/WVS 1999-2001, for Romania WVS 2005. The vertical axis represents
the percentage of the ones who believe that the family will have a bigger importance in
the future. The horizontal axis represents the percentage of the ones who declare that the
family is “very important” or “important”.

Compared to the other important aspects of the life, the described


pattern is one in which, as it was expected, the family occupies the first place,
being followed by work and religion; friends and leisure time also play an
important role. Political life is rather without importance in most individuals’
perception.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

As Figure 2 suggests, the importance conferred by Romanians to


different domains of life is constant along time, with the exception of religion.
This one, found in an ascending evolution, in 2005 reaches a very close level to
the importance offered to work, a domain which, traditionally, is placed on the
second place in Romania, after the family. Contrary to the general tendency in
Western Europe, in Romania the religiosity degree is ascending (see the chapter
on religion in the present volume). The religiosity in Romania represents an
explanatory component even for the importance of family. The majority of the
individuals in Romania (70%) consider that the church offers answers to the
problems of family life, besides the spiritual, moral and social ones. All the
socio-demographic criteria trigger significant differences: the faith in solving
one’s problems with help from the church is the highest with women, with
persons that are more than 55 years old, with the persons with a low level of
education, with the ones who live in the rural areas and the ones who
experimented unhappy family events (divorced, widows or widowers).

Figure 2 The importance of different domains in the individual’s life

100

90
1993 1999 2005

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0
Family Work Religion Friends Leissure Politics

Note: The figures represent the cumulative percentage of the ones who answered
important and very important.
Source: EVS/WVS Romania 1993, 1999, 2005.

The pattern of the importance of different domains in the individual’s


life is common with most of the European states. Pollini (2006) identifies 2
different models: “structure A”, where the family is placed on the first place and

176 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Family values in Romania and in Europe

work on the second, a category to which the majority of the European countries
belong and “structure B”, where the family is on the first place and friends, on
the second. To the latter category, belong the states with postmaterialist values
(Inglehart 1997), for which friends and leisure time play a more important role
than work: Germany, Finland, Holland, Great Britain, North Ireland, Denmark
and Switzerland.
In the perspective of postmaterialist values, friends become the same
important as relatives. Friendships can manage to do things the family failed to
do; it represents a kind of “family that you construct”, “a family of choice”
(Hardyment, 2000, p.87). Granovetter (1974) demonstrated that friends,
neighbours, acquaintances play a very important role in the individual’s life and
even in the successful functioning of the family (Broderick, 1988, p.298),
ensuring crucial contact with the public sphere.

The importance of marriage: is marriage an outdated institution?


Anthony Giddens (1992) considers that the popularity of the marriage’s
institution (against the spreading of the alternative cohabitation patterns) is an
indicator of “the search for a complete relation”. Modernity is characterized by
“institutional reflexivity”, a process of permanent re-evaluation/reconsideration
of the social institutions. As in the case of the other spheres of the social life,
individuals redefine their needs, their wishes, and their expectations in the
sphere of personal, intimate relations continuously. For the great majority of
individuals in the European countries, marriage is still valorised representing an
important social institution.
The highest agreement with the statement according to which marriage
is an outdated institution is encountered in France, Luxembourg, Belgium and
the lowest is in Malta, Island, Turkey and Albania. Romania records a relatively
low value in comparison with the other European countries included in the
analysis. The historical experience and the cultural factor seem to be responsible
for the differences among countries. Countries with a larger spreading of the
post-materialist values do not assign the same significances to marriage, its role
of a fundamental institution in the society being reconsidered. On the contrary,
former socialist countries (to a smaller extent the ones in the former Soviet
Union) keep a high attachment to this institution.
In Romania, for the greatest majority of individuals, marriage does not
represent an outdated institution, but the percentage of those who agree with
this statement is growing. The agreement with this statement is higher in the
case of youngsters and of those who live in alternative family arrangements to
the legally constituted unions: consensual unions, divorced persons.

177
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 3. The share of population who declare that the marriage is an outdated
institution

16
14
12 14,3
12,5
10
8
8,6
6
4
2
0
1993 1999 2005

Source: EVS/WVS Romania 1993, 1999, 2005

Surprisingly, marriage is considered an outdated institution especially


by the persons with a lower level of education (22% of the ones without
education in comparison with 10% of the ones with a university degree) or by
the ones in the rural area (17% in comparison with 12% of the ones in the urban
area). In this respect, the analyses have to be made carefully, because/as there
can be identified different ways to approach marriage values. The decreasing
importance of the institution of marriage for the persons with a low level of
education living in rural areas cannot be explained by their less traditional value
orientations. The analyses focusing on poverty or on vulnerable groups in the
Romanian society (Zamfir ed., 1999, Stănculescu ed., 2004) draw the attention
on the consolidation of the family disorganization processes in certain poor
communities with low human capital, from the suburbs of big cities or from the
rural area. Survey data, confirmed by the census data, emphasize the fact that
many of the alternative patterns of families (single-parent families, reconstituted
families, consensual unions) come from poor communities or from the rural
area, rather being of a traditional type. Consequently, we can estimate that for a
part of the population considered in the analysis, the agreement with the
statement according to which marriage is an outdated institution represents
rather an indicator of adaptation to poor living conditions and of some processes
of social disorganization, more than an indicator of some important value
changes.
Despite a slight decline of the institution of family, numerous
researches showed that the ratio of relatively traditional family behaviours
stayed very high. People are more individualistic in words than in facts and,

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especially, they are permissive in what concerns the others than in what
concerns themselves: “Accepting the rise in the number of alternative relations
does not mean that people themselves will get involved in these kinds of
relations. Marriage is not considered indispensable anymore, but, at the same
time, marriage is still preferred (…); what changed in these areas of family life
was a rise of tolerance for the behaviours considered unacceptable before, but
not also a rise in the active involvement in such behaviours” (Elster, Halman, de
Moor, 1993, p.14).

The importance of marriage: tolerance for different aspects regarding


marriage and sexuality
The highest tolerance for divorce can be found in Northern states
(values around 7 on a scale from 1 to 10). Romania has one of the lowest
values, together with countries with a more conservative culture like Malta,
Turkey or Albania. The negative values (average values lower than 5, which is
the average value on the scale) belong generally to Eastern countries (with the
exception of Ireland). In comparison with other aspects discussed, related to
family and intimate relations, tolerance for divorce is higher (average value
5.5), followed by the tolerance for abortion (average 4.6), homosexuality
(average 4) and casual sex (average 3.1). The lowest tolerance is the one for
prostitution (average 2.7) and adultery (average 2.6).
Comparing data for every country, two categories seem to stand out:
one of the countries in which the postmodern values prevail and another one of
the former communist and conservative countries. In the first category, it can be
appreciated that the tolerance for divorce is not specific, but is an expression of
a general tolerance, a common value in the relation to the analysed aspects.
Still, a high tolerance for divorce or abortion is found in many of the former
socialist countries, as a consequence of the fact that this kind of behaviour is
quite common in these countries. The states of the former Soviet Union have a
pattern of a high rate of divorce (among the highest values in Europe) that
explains the high tolerance for it. In the context of the restrictive pro-natalist
policy in the socialist period and on the background of the missing family
planning education, the practice of abortion was widespread in the majority of
these countries. In what concerns the level of tolerance for some other
phenomena (for example, homosexuality), it is very low for these countries:
with the exception of the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia, all the other
former socialist countries, together with Malta and Turkey record average
values lower than 3 (on a 1 to 10 scale). Surprisingly, these countries are less
intolerant for prostitution or adultery in comparison with many of the Western
European states. For example, Northern states show the highest values towards
homosexuality, divorce, abortion and among the lowest values towards the
casual sex and adultery.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Inglehart (1997) considers that the postmodern value orientation can be


measured by three directions: the rejection of modernity, the revalorization of
tradition, the spreading of new values and lifestyles. Consequently, we can
explain how the countries with postmaterialist values reject to a larger extent
practices like adultery, considering them unjustified choices. In modernity,
casual sex or adultery represented ways of adapting to external social pressures
(the impossibility of separation, “saving the appearances”). Given the fact that
in the postmodern society these constraints have disappeared, behaviours of this
type are no longer reasonable. In this context, the revalorization of tradition
should be understood as the enforcement of the options based on principles, the
morals of a -controlled hedonism. Consequently, the postmodern value
orientation is not characterized by an increase in undifferentiated tolerance, but
for assumed individual choices, for responsible life options.
Romania presents low values at all the analysed aspects, placed next to
Malta, Turkey, and Albania which are among the most intolerant countries. The
religious factor explains a part of intolerance that these countries show, being
the countries with the highest level of religiosity in Europe. The low tolerance is
also explained by other factors such as the low level of education (the share of
the population with higher education is low in the European context), the high
percentage of people who live in rural area where values of traditional type or
low level of trust in people prevail. The level of trust is high only in the case of
family (97%) or relatives (80%), less in the case of neighbours (50%) or friends,
acquaintances (56%) and in the case of unknown people it is quite low (12%).
The reduced relational social capital, rather of „bonding”2 type (based on family
and inside the affiliation group relationships) also represents an important
explanation of the Romanians’ intolerance (B.Voicu, 2005).

2
In Robert’s Putnam terms regarding the two types of social capital: “bonding”
(relationships with the people like you, inside the affiliation group) and “bridging”
(useful relationships with individuals with different social statuses, outside the
affiliation group, with an important role in the individual fulfillment and social
development).
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Family values in Romania and in Europe
Table 1 Tolerance for aspects of family life and sexuality, on socio-demographic
criteria
How justifiable is:
Homo
Divorce Abortion Prostitution
sexuality
man 4.3 3.3 2.2 2.0
sex
woman 4.2 3.3 2.1 2.1
18-24 years old 4.6 3.5 2.6 2.7
25-34 years old 4.6 3.5 2.3 2.3
age
35-54 years old 4.6 3.7 2.3 2.2
55 or more years old 3.6 2.7 1.7 1.6
Elementary (up to 8 grades) 3.5 2.5 1.6 1.5
Secondary education (vocational
education 4.4 3.5 2.2 2.2
school, college)
Higher education (university
5.6 4.5 3.1 3.2
degree)
area of rural 3.6 2.7 1.8 1.7
residence urban 4.7 3.7 2.4 2.4
Total 4.2 3.3 2.1 2.1
Note: average values, on a scale from 1– never justifiable to 10 – always justifiable
Source: WVS Romania, 2005

Tolerance for divorce, abortion or homosexuality is different depending


on individuals’ socio-demographic characteristics. The tolerance varies
significantly depending on age, level of education and residence area. The
highest values are registered with youngsters, people with higher education and
with persons who live in urban areas. The differences according to sex are not
statistically significant.
It has to be noticed that all the analysed aspects record values closer to
the negative pole, only tolerate divorce to people with higher education
recording a value over 5. The specific tolerance for each phenomenon is an
expression of the general tolerance, as there is a significant association between
variables3.

3
The correlation coefficients are: divorce – abortion = 0,707/divorce – prostitution =
0,458/divorce – homosexuality = 0,385/prostitution homosexuality =0,686/prostitution
– abortion = 0,541/abortion – homosexuality = 0,485. All of them are significant at the
level p<0,0005.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Alternative lifestyles: single mothers


Baumann (2003) shows that if in the modern period the identity was
based on stability, in postmodernity, individuals search for means of avoiding
determinism and not restraining their opportunities or „the modern obsession of
gaining in all areas and not sacrificing any of the possibilities” (Béjin, 1998,
p.178). The characteristics of the postmodern life strategy are not stable, the
rules of the game change permanently. Alternative styles of family life – single-
parent families, consensual unions, homosexual couples, etc. are more and more
spread. Marriage still remains a stable value and, as we showed, the majority
consider that the importance of family should increase in the future.

Figure 4. Woman as a single parent (Romania)

50% 1993 1999 2005


45% 49% 48%

40%

35% 38% 38%


34%
30%
30%
25% 28%

20% 22%
15%
14%
10%

5%

0%
approve dissaprove it depends

Source: WVS/EVS Romania 1993, 1999, 2005

Generally, single mothers are largely accepted in the society. In the


attempt of classification, the political and historical criteria seem to not function
anymore, high values being registered both in the Northern countries and in the
former socialist countries. The lowest agreement (below 20%) is found in
traditional countries such as Turkey and Albania or in more conservative
catholic countries like Malta. Still, clear categories cannot be established, for
example Spain’s positioning among the most open countries to this alternative
pattern of family and Sweden’s positioning among the most reserved countries
are somewhat surprising. The percentage of single mothers in those societies,
the problems associated with this type of family or the type of social policy
adopted, provide possible explanations. Sweden, for example, has developed a
social policy that includes a lot of support benefits for single mothers.

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Family values in Romania and in Europe

The countries with a higher percentage of single-parent families


(usually ruled by women), like Great Britain or Estonia seem to manifest a
rather reserved attitude towards this pattern (the higher percentage is taken by
the answer, “it depends on the situation”).
Still, in Latvia for example, we find a percentage of single mothers, 30% in the
total number of families, but also a high agreement of this family type (above
55%). We can estimate that, instead, contextual variables related to social policy
(“positive discrimination” how much are the single-parent families advantaged
by the social benefits) or to problems associated with this type of family in the
respective society can form a reserved attitude.
In Romania, the acceptance of these families is relatively high in
comparison with the other European countries (approximately half of the
respondents agree). According to the census in 2002, 11, 4% of the households
are of this type, which represents an average value in a European context. Along
time, a tendency of polarization of the answers can be noticed – the percentage
of those who answer “it depends on the situation” has decreased and the share
of people who disapprove has increased, the percentage of the ones who
approve being rather constant in the last years. The approval of single mothers
is higher among young people (57% of the ones younger than 24, in comparison
with 38% of the ones older than 65), among persons with a high level of
education (64% of the ones with higher education in comparison with 24% of
the ones without education), in urban areas (57% in comparison with 36% in
rural areas), but none of these socio-demographic characteristics induce
statistically significant differences.
The marital status also represents a criterion of differentiation, the
acceptance being higher among the persons who are not married or who live in
informal unions, who are divorced or separated in comparison with married
persons or with widows and widowers.

Alternative lifestyles: consensual couples


Consensual unions represent a cohabitation pattern more and more
spread in the contemporary societies, symbolizing a new type of intimate
relationship, called by Giddens (1992) “pure relationship”, conceiving it as a
relationship existing only by itself, without any external constraints. Refusing to
become formal, the couple tries to develop a completely self-sufficient
relationship. The vulnerability of this relationship is what makes it valuable in
the partners’ eyes. It offers a large range of choices, the partners are free to set
up rules to protect the couple from dissolution – regarding, for example, the
fidelity or the distribution of the household responsibilities, rules that do not
have any external support. The success of the relationship depends on the result
of compatibility or of the common understanding attempts.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Consensual couples are not spread out in Romania. For the first time, in
the 2002 Census4 there were 828000 registered persons (only 3.9% of the total
population), 3.2% in the urban areas and 4.6% the in rural areas of people who
are living in such unions. The couples of this type represent 6.5% of all the
households. Only half of the ones who live in consensual unions are aged 20-34,
a category in which, in Western societies, cohabitations are the most numerous,
(hence, the name of “juvenile cohabitation” under which the phenomenon is
also known). The data in the WVS survey (2005) estimate an even lower
percentage of these ones, 2.8% of the investigated population declaring that
they live as if they were married. Analysing the socio-demographic
characteristics of this population (taking also into account that in the sample
there are few cases, so we cannot draw any conclusion), we can identify
surprising tendencies. Being an indicator of postmodern family lifestyles, the
higher percentage of the consensual unions in the rural areas or among the ones
with a low level of education (almost half have an elementary education) is
surprising. An important part of the population (a quarter) is represented by the
Roma people and they have low incomes (one third place in the first income
quintile). By age categories, only half of the persons who live in consensual
unions are younger than 35. The profile of the sample, similar to the one
described by the Census data, illustrates a heterogeneous composition of the
population who lives in unions in Romania.
In urban areas and especially in big cities, consensual informal unions
are more frequent with youngsters, the ones with a high level of education,
unmarried or divorced persons and with more pronounced postmaterialist value
orientations. In the rural areas we encounter cohabitations between persons of
different ages, rather single or widows and widowers, from Roma traditional
communities (they follow the pattern of the “marriage without certificate”,
established on the norms of the community and informally recognized, but
illegalized). Besides, the preference for unofficial family arrangements is
frequently found in poor communities, confronted with social disorganisation
processes. Therefore, we can estimate that the persons who live in consensual
unions in Romania form a heterogeneous class, which tends to polarize in two
different categories: one for which the cohabitation represents a contextual
option, a result of the adaptation to a problematic situation (family problems,
widowhood, the lack of a dwelling, the lack of incomes, disorganization) and
another one for which the consensual union represents a life choice, the
expression of a postmodern value orientation. It is difficult to approximate the
share of the two categories in the total number of unions of this type.
Even if the involvement in such relationships is not so spread out, the
tolerance for the unmarried couples who live together is high. Only 15%

4
According to the “Census of Population and Dwellings”, National Institute for
Statistics, 2002.
184 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Family values in Romania and in Europe

mentioned that they would not like to have such a couple among their
neighbours. Education induces significant differences, as it was expected; social
distance is more reduced in the case of the people with higher education (9%),
in comparison with the people without education (23%). The marital status also
influences the tolerance towards consensual unions. The persons who live in
unions, unmarried persons, are more tolerant in comparison with the persons
who are married, divorced, separated or widowed. Young persons are more
tolerant, but the difference from the other age categories is not statistically
significant.
The affection for/devotion to a stable relationship remains vey high. In
most of the European countries, the majority consider that a stable relationship
is necessary in order to be happy. As in the case of the perception of the
importance of the institution of marriage, former communist countries have the
highest values (above 80%). In Western countries and in Southern Europe
(Greece, Portugal, France and Italy) the belief in the ideal of a long-lasting
relationship is more encountered. The countries where the postmaterialist values
prevail (the Northern countries, Great Britain) record the lowest values (below
40%). In Holland only one fifth of the population considers that a stable relationship
is necessary for one’s own happiness. Comparatively, Romania presents one of the
highest agreements with this statement (approximately 85%).
Complementary, it is interesting to notice that among all the analysed
aspects regarding the tolerance, the strongest intolerance is the one for adultery,
the norm of the fidelity in the couple staying the same important as in the past.
In the sphere of intimate relationships, Europeans generally share the ideal of a
stable, self-sufficient relationship based on fidelity (given the fact that more and
more of the external constraints disappeared).

Roles and statuses in the family


Considering that a housewife is fulfilled just as as a wife who works,
represents an indicator difficult to analyse. Malta, with more conservative value
orientations, together with Finland5, where post-materialist value orientations
are spread, also records the highest acceptance of this lifestyle (87%,
respectively 80%). A high agreement (more than 70% of the investigated
population) is found in several former socialist countries such as Lithuania, the
Czech Republic, Moldavia, Bosnia or Slovakia and in more traditional countries
like Turkey. In the Western countries, the agreement is relatively high

5
Finland confronts with a special situation – the profound economic crisis in the '90s
led to a strong recoil of the society to values of a traditional type.The family and the
church experienced a spectacular rise of their importance as social institutions in the
context of a return to traditional values (see the observations in the last chapter of this
work).
185
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

(approximately 60%) in Iceland, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Spain but


lower in Northern countries like Denmark, Holland, Sweden. Romania is part of
the category of the countries with a low agreement (below 50%) together with
Croatia, Bulgaria, Albania, Greece, Latvia, and Germany.
Different factors provide the explanations: the low share of working
women, the woman’s involvement in housework despite the employment on the
labour market, the woman’s image in the society or even contextual factors that
belong to the economic and political situation in every country. Generally
speaking, every country with a high rate of occupancy tends to manifest a lower
agreement with this statement. Malta and Turkey as well as conservative
countries, record the lowest rates of women’s employment (34%, respectively
24%) and they also show the highest agreement with this statement. The
woman’s employment does not seem to be the only determinant factor. The
explanatory model also has to take into account other contextual factors
regarding the economic situation or the type of social policy. For the former
socialist countries, the agreement with this statement represents rather an
expression of a culture of woman’s involvement both in the labour market and
household. For the Northern states, massive woman’s employment in the labour
market, gender equality value represents the main explanation.
In Romania, the agreement with the statement, according to which to be
a housewife can contribute to the woman’s personal fulfilment to the same
extent as the choice of having a career, is quite low and its findings have a
descending tendency. Housewives are less and less valorised.
Analyses of gender values (M.Voicu, 2004; Voicu &Voicu, 2002) show
that Romania shares the common pattern of the majority of the former
communist countries, characterized by the massive participation of women in
the labour market, doubled by a large value support, similar to Northern
countries (lower in comparison with Sweden, but higher in comparison with
Finland and Denmark) and significantly higher than in Western societies. On
the other hand, the equality between women and men inside the household is
supported by fewer Romanians than in most of the Western European countries
and even Eastern European countries: women were responsible for the
household duties to a larger extent.
The classical division of work inside the household is maintained and
the woman has, in fact, two jobs: one on the labour market and another one at
home. The culture of the woman’s involvement both in the labour market and in
the household explains this situation only partially. Woman’s exceeding
responsibilities inside the household represents, at the same time, an indicator of
the low standard of living (R. Popescu, 2002).

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Family values in Romania and in Europe
Figure 5 The Romanians’ agreement with the statement: “Being a housewife is just
as fulfilling as a paid work”

agree
50% strongly agree
45%

40%

35% 32% 34%


30%

25% 25%

20%

15%
16% 14%
10%
10%
5%

0%
1993 1999 2005

Source: WVS Romania, 2005

There are no significant differences between women and men in this


respect. However education strongly influences the level of aspirations and the
individuals’ value orientations. Housewives are less valorised by the persons
with higher education (only 23% of the ones with a university degree agreed
with this statement in comparison with 40% of the ones with primary
education). At the same time, the acceptance of the housewife pattern is
widespread in rural areas, where the woman’s employment on the labour market
is much lower and where the traditional value orientations are more frequent.

Satisfaction with the family life


The family is one of the domains that confers the greatest satisfactions
to the individuals, 93% of people being satisfied and very satisfied with their
family life. Women have a lower satisfaction level, as a consequence of the fact
that they confront to a larger extent with the household duties. Satisfaction with
the family relations tends to decrease along with age, according to the family
life cycle theory. The area of residence is also a criterion of significant
discrimination. The individuals in the urban areas are more satisfied with their
family relations in comparison with the ones in the rural areas. The high level of
education also involves high satisfaction (an almost double percentage – 72% of
the ones with a university degree declared they were very happy in comparison
with 37.6% among the ones who have completed elementary school).
The fear of the aggravation of family life conditions is more reduced,
the percentage of worried people decreasing with more than one fifth in

187
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

comparison with the percentage recorded in the 1999 wave. Despite this
alleviation, given the maintenance of the economic uncertainty, the worries for
the family life conditions remain widespread– approximately 80% of the people
answered that they are afraid or very afraid. The fears are more frequent for the
categories with higher responsibility in ensuring the economic function of the
family: for women, who traditionally are confronted with more household
duties, for the categories of age more active on the labour market, for the
persons living in urban areas and for the persons with a lower level of
education, more vulnerable during economic changes.

European patterns of family value orientations


Considering all the analyzed variables, Europe remains a heterogeneous
space of values, with several categories and distinctive profiles, from
conservative countries to individualistic and tolerant ones. The majority of ex-
socialist countries are grouped in a distinctive class as well as the countries
driven by strong religious beliefs.

Figure 6 The classification of European societies according to their value


orientations regarding family

"libertine" (9)
conservative (2)
rejecting single mothers (8)
tolerant & inidvidualistic (4)
former socialist (14)

Source: EVS/WVS 1999-2001

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Family values in Romania and in Europe

A classification of the family values pattern existing in the European


societies can contribute to a better understanding of Romania’s position in the
continent from the family value’s point of view. We selected 10 of the
indicators described in the previous sections, presented in Table 2. Then we
grouped the European societies depending on the distances among them given
by the average values of the indicators. The cluster 6 analysis shows the fact that
European countries group in five distinctive classes. Each one of these classes is
characterized in Table 2 by the average value that countries record for each one
of the indicators. It has to be noticed that the labels we used and the
characteristics of each class, as well, are relative to the Europe assembly and the
classifications are not absolute.

Table 2 Average values of the variables depending on each class


Types of societies
Tolerant and Countries which
Conservative “Libertine” Ex-socialist
individualistic reject single
countries countries countries
countries mothers
Number of the countries in
2 4 9 9 14
each cluster
Family is very important 9,6 8,7 8,7 8,5 8,3
Family has to have a greater
9,8 8,3 9,1 9,0 8,8
importance in the future
Single mother without a
5,1 7,2 4,1 6,5 6,9
stable relationship
A stable relationship is
7,4 5,7 6,9 7,2 7,9
necessary to be happy
A housekeeper wife is as
4,8 6,1 5,9 5,7 5,8
fulfilled as a working wife
Marriage is and outdated
0,7 1,6 1,6 2,2 1,7
institution
Tolerance for divorce 3,1 7,1 5,1 6,1 4,9
Tolerance for adultery 1,1 2,2 2,6 2,9 2,7
Tolerance for homosexuality 2,1 7,2 4,1 5,3 2,5
Tolerance for abortion 1,9 6,2 4,0 5,2 4,2

Note: The items were calculated on a scale from 1 to 10. The figures in the table
represent averages of the indicators on the rows by the cluster of countries (on the
columns). The higher a value is, the stronger the average support for the statement in the
cluster is. The maximum values on each row are marked with bold and minimum values
are marked with italics and they are also underlined.

6
We used both the Hierarchical Cluster Analysis and K-means Cluster from SPSS. The
calculation method of the distances between cases (countries) was the square Euclidian
distance. For measuring distances between clusters, Ward and BAVERAGE were used,
the result confirming the stability of the solution with 5 clusters (adjusted Rand
index=0.78). The solution explains (ETA2k=) 64% from the variation of the analyzed
items.
189
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

The five categories of societies are briefly described as it follows:


1. The first category is the one of the conservative countries where Malta
and Turkey are grouped together. They offer high importance to the family
and develop conservative attitudes for the all analysed items: general
intolerance, disagreement with the alternative family lifestyles, and support
for the woman involved in housekeeping activities.
2. Individualistic and tolerant countries – Denmark, Island, Holland,
Sweden – display the highest level of tolerance (except adultery), support
alternative family lifestyles (single mothers), support woman employment,
give less importance to family in the future and show less support for a
stable relationship. Postmaterialistic values are widespread.
3. The countries that reject the single mothers – Albania, Estonia, Germany,
Ireland, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Great Britain – have average values on
all the dimensions, but they disapprove single-mother families. The
percentage of the families of this type (with the exception of Albania and
Italy) are among the highest in Europe and the rejection of single mothers
is probably explained by the problems associated with this type of family
in the respective society.
4. Libertine countries – Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland,
France, Greece, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Spain, and North Ireland – believe
to the largest extent that the institution of marriage is outdated and have a
lower intolerance for adultery and average values for the other dimensions.
5. The block of the former socialist countries groups the majority of the
former communist countries, with the exception of Estonia, Poland and
Slovakia (that follow the pattern of the countries that reject single mothers)
and of the Czech Republic and Slovenia (which are grouped in the class of
the “libertine” countries). It also includes Portugal, with a totalitarian past
and with a lower development level in comparison with the rest of the
Western countries. These countries consider family less important
compared to the other groups, but they value more stable relationships as a
central element for a happy life. They have a high agreement with single
mother families but have a low general tolerance (the lowest values except
the conservative group).

Romania is part of the group of former socialist countries, but values


for certain indicators make it similar with the group of the conservative
countries, describing a pattern where the family represents a fundamental
institution in the society, whose importance should increase in the future.

190 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Family values in Romania and in Europe

Conclusions
The family represents the aspect of life that offers the highest satisfaction to
the individuals and is followed by work and religion. On the background of
economic improvements in the last years, the fear of aggravation of life conditions
of the family record a descending tendency. Despite this alleviation, because of the
economic uncertainty maintaining, the worries regarding the family life conditions
are widespread, being more frequent at the categories that have a higher
responsibility in assuring the economic function of the family (among women, who
are traditionally concerned with more household duties, for the economically active
age categories), for the people in urban areas and for persons with a lower level of
education, more vulnerable during economic changes.
Marriage does not represent an outdated institution, but the share of the
people agreeing with this statement is rising, especially in the youngsters’ case,
but also for a distinct category of the population with low human capital. On the
background of the consolidation of some processes of family disorganization in
certain poor communities, considering marriage an outdated institution must be
interpreted as an indicator of adjustment to poor living conditions and social
disorganization, rather than an expression of some value changes.
The devotion to a stable relationship remains very high in comparison with
the other European countries. The alternative family patterns – single mothers or
consensual couples – are not widespread and their significance can be contextually
different. The cohabiting persons in Romania form a heterogeneous class, which
tends to polarize in two distinct categories: one for which cohabitation represents
more a contextual choice, the result of adjustment to a problematic situation and
another one for which a consensual union represents a life choice, the expression of
a postmodern value orientation, being difficult to approximate the percentage of the
two categories among the overall consensual unions.
The agreement with the statement that being a housewife can be as
fulfilling for a woman as having a career is quite low and finds itself in a
descending tendency. The housewife is less and less valorised, especially by
youngsters and persons with higher education.
Romania presents among the lowest values at all the aspects concerned
with tolerance, a fact which makes it similar to the conservative countries. The
most open and tolerant attitude, with post-materialistic family values is
characteristic rather to a minority: young people in the urban areas, with higher
education and average incomes. The religious factor, the low level of education
for the overall population , the high share of the rural areas in which the
traditional values prevail, low level of trust in people and the scarce relational
social capital represent explanations for the Romanians’ conservative attitude.
The family value pattern is changing, but the postmodern tendencies are
weak, characteristic rather to a minority. The importance of family remains very
high, placing it on the first position in the values hierarchy and representing the
domain that confers the greatest satisfaction to individuals.
191
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

References
Béjin, André, 1998. „Căsătoria extraconjugală de astăzi”, in Phillipe Ariès and André
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Elster, Peter; Loek Halman and Ruud de Moor, 1993. „Value Shift in Western
Societies”, in Peter Elster, Loek Halman and Ruud de Moor (ed.)., The
Individualizing Society. Value Change in Europe and North America,
Tilburg Unversity Press
Ghebrea, Georgeta, 2000. Regim social-politic şi viaţă privată (Familia şi politica
familială în România), The Publishing House of the University in Bucharest.
Giddens, Anthony, 2000 (1992). Transformarea intimităţii. Sexualitatea, dragostea şi
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Inglehart R, 1997. Modernization and Postmodernization. Cultural, Economic and
Political Change in 43 Societies, Princeton: Princetone University Press
Hardyment, Christina, 2000. Viitorul familiei, Bucureşti: Editura Ştiinţifică
Mihăilescu, Ioan, 2000, „De la familie la familii”, in Ioan Mihăilescu (ed.)., Un deceniu
de traziţie. Situaţia copilului şi a familiei în România, Bucharest: UNICEF
Nikodem K, P. Aracic, 2005., „The family in Transformation” in Josip Baloban (ed). In
Search of Identity. A Comparative Study of Values: Croatia and Europe,
Zagreb, Golden marketing – Tehnicka knjiga
Parkinson, Lisa, 1993. Separarea, divorţul şi familia, Alternative Publishing House,
Bucharest
Popescu, Raluca, 2002. „Situaţia familiei şi a copilului în societatea românească” in
Ioan Mărginean şi Ana Balaşa (eds). Calitatea Vieţii în România, , Expert
Stănculescu Manuela, Ionica Berevoescu (eds), 2004. Sărac lipit, caut altă viaţă,
Polirom
Voicu, Bogdan, 2005., Penuria Pseudo-Modernă a Postcomunismului Românesc, Expert
Projects
Voicu Mălina, Bogdan Voicu. 2002. Gender values dynamics. Towards a common
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192 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Social status and child-rearing values1
PAULA A. TUFIŞ

Child-rearing values are often associated in sociological approaches


with individuals’ locations within the social class system or their social status
(see, for example: Duvall, 1946; Inkeles, 1960; Kohn, 1963, 1969; Kohn et al.,
1983; Alwin, 1989; Kohn et al., 1990; Spade, 1991). Kluckhohn (1951, p.395)
defines a value as “a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual
or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from
available modes, means, and ends of action”. Based on this definition, Kohn
(1963, p. 471; 1969, p. 7) considers child-rearing values as parents’ conceptions
of what is desirable for their children. The link between parental values and
social class is mainly explained by the differences in socio-economic profiles
(described by education, occupation, and earnings) characterizing each social
class. These differences in socio-economic profiles determine differences
between classes in terms of living conditions and lifestyles, which, in turn,
translate into class-specific world-views and class-specific values. This
assumption is the basis for formulating the hypothesis that different social
classes adopt different child-rearing attitudes, values, and practices, which may
determine differences in children’s personalities and their educational and
occupational career trajectories.
Much of the Western child-rearing values literature has focused on
differences in child-rearing values between middle class and working class
parents, in other words, the first link in the causal chain described above. This
chapter will also focus on this link by first presenting some of the theories
advanced in the literature in order to explain the relationship between social
class or social status and child-rearing values. Based on these theories, in the
second part of the chapter, I will propose a model for studying some of the

1
I would like to thank Duane Alwin, Dumitru Sandu, and Claudiu Tufiş for their
valuable suggestions and comments on earlier drafts of this chapter.
193
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

mechanisms that could explain this relationship. The main starting point for the
model is Kohn’s and his colleagues’ work (Kohn, 1963; Pearlin and Kohn,
1966; Kohn, 1969; Slomczynski et al., 1981; Kohn et al., 1983; Kohn et al.,
1986; Kohn et al., 1990). In the third part of this chapter, I will detail the
methodology used for the statistical analyses and then present the estimated
empirical model results, using the 2005 Romanian data from the World Values
Survey (WVS). Since some of the theoretical assumptions present in the child-
rearing values literature may be generalized to a variety of national and cultural
contexts, while others may be sensitive to differences between national
contexts2, the present empirical analysis is mainly an exploratory one, aiming to
describe relationships in the present Romanian context. I will conclude by
reviewing some of the more important results of the analysis presented in this
chapter and discuss possible implications of these results.
In the U.S. context, empirical results (see, for example: Kohn, 1963;
1969) suggest that working class parents place more value on their children’s
ability to conform to a set of externally imposed rules, while middle class
parents focus more on developing their children’s ability for self-control and on
the development of a set of internal behavior guidelines. Parental values3 reflect
parents’ ambitions for their children and their conceptions about the most
efficient strategies to fulfill these ambitions. Two social status components
(education and occupation) play an important part in the formation of parents’
views on what constitutes an efficient strategy, through their effects on
intellectual flexibility and occupational autonomy (Kohn, 1969; Alwin, 1989).
First, based on the assumption that higher schooling levels focus more
on developing abstract and critical thinking, people with higher educational
attainments will tend to examine externally imposed rules and consequences of
following these rules in specific situations more closely. Kohn (1963)
associates higher educational levels with greater intellectual flexibility, Wright
and Wright (1976) with enlightening social experiences (such as reading,
traveling, or being active in various associations and organizations), Alwin
(1984) with openness to the idea to think for oneself, and Bowles and Gintis
(1976) find the dichotomy between conformity and autonomy precisely in the
organization of the schooling experience (the first school years versus medium
and high levels of schooling). The link between education and parental values is
thus explained by the degree of intellectual flexibility.

2
The conclusions regarding the relationship between social class or social status and
child-rearing values in the US are confirmed in other national contexts as well (Inkeles,
1960; Pearlin and Kohn, 1966; Kohn, 1969). Most of the analyses in the child-rearing
values literature refer to Western capitalist countries, but the relationship was also
confirmed to exist in Poland (Slomczynski et al., 1981; Kohn et al., 1986), Japan (Kohn
et al., 1990) and China (Xiao, 2000b).
3
In this chapter, I use the terms “child-rearing values” and “parental values”
interchangeably.
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Secondly, based on the assumption that occupations with higher social


status are characterized by different behavior, social interaction, and promotion
guidelines than occupations with lower social status, the occupational status will
have an impact on individuals’ values, strategies for success, and worldviews.
While members of middle or upper class occupations are confronted with
occupational situations that tend to require independent action, members of
working class occupations are probably exposed more often to occupational
situations in which conformity with externally imposed rules is essential. Kohn
(1963, p. 476) argues that the main difference between middle class and
working class occupations is that the former imply the manipulation of inter-
personal relationships, ideas, and symbols, while the latter involve the
manipulation of objects. The second important difference in his view is that
standardization and supervision levels are higher in working class occupations,
compared to middle class occupations. A third difference, in his opinion, is that
problems tend to be solved through collective action in working class
occupations, and through individual action in middle class occupations. Inkeles
(1960) also links the type of occupation to values, experiences, and perceptions.
He associates working class occupations with greater pressures to conform. In
this case, the degree of occupational autonomy is one of the main mechanisms
mediating the relationship between occupation and parental values.
The parents’ financial situation has a weaker impact on child-rearing
values, compared to those of education and occupation (Kohn, 1969, p. 137;
Spade, 1991, p. 349). However, taking into account that the financial situation is
correlated with education and occupation, the link between income and parental
values may be explained in terms of mechanisms linked to education and
occupation such as those discussed above.
In studies that conceptualize social stratification in terms of discrete
social classes, the middle class (characterized by higher educational and
occupational levels and better financial situations compared to the working
class) tends to place more value on developing children’s autonomy, self-
control, and their reliance on a set of internal rules for guiding behavior. The
working class tends to place more value on conformity and adherence to
externally imposed rules in children’s socialization. Moving on to a conception
of social stratification based on social gradations, the previously mentioned
hypotheses can be generalized in terms of social status and parental values: the
higher one’s social position, the more inclined one will be to focus on the
development of children’s autonomy and the less inclined to raise children in
the spirit of conformity and obedience.
The choice between social class and social gradations conceptualizations of
social stratification is largely determined by the author’s theoretical preferences4.

4
See Kohn et al. (1990) for a detailed discussion of differences between social class
conceptualizations and social gradations conceptualizations in studies on child rearing values.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

For example, Kohn (1963; 1969; Kohn et al., 1990) uses the social class approach
and compares middle class parental values to working class parental values.
However, he points out that no social class is homogenous and parental values vary
within each social class, according to social status gradations within each class
(Kohn, 1963, p. 472). Other studies (Slomczynski et al., 1981; Alwin and Jackson,
1982; Alwin, 1986; Luster et al., 1989) employ the social gradations approach. In
this case, the comparison between two or more discrete groups is no longer possible
and the research problem is reformulated in terms of the magnitude of the effect of
social status on child-rearing values.
Different authors label the theoretical dimensions that appear in the
classification of parental values differently, but there is a high degree of overlap
among classifications. Duvall (1946) differentiates between developmental
parental values (children should be healthy and happy, should be able to share
and cooperate with others, should love their parents and confide in them, should
be eager to learn, should be capable of taking care of themselves and also
capable of handling different situations) and traditional parental values (the
children should be clean and neat, should obey and respect their parents, should
please their parents, should take care of their own things, should be religious,
reliable and dependable, and they should also help out around the house).
Lenski (1961) contrasts parental preferences for intellectual autonomy (the child
should think for him/herself) and preferences for intellectual heteronomy (the
child should obey others). The classification adopted by Kohn (1969) groups
parental values into values that indicate self-control or self-direction (children
should show consideration towards others, should be interested in how and why
things happen, should be responsible and should have self-control) and
conformity (they should be well-mannered, clean and neat, they should get good
marks at school, be honest and obedient). Xiao (2000a), using WVS data for the
United States, groups independence, perseverance, and imagination as measures
of parental preference for autonomy, and obedience, good manners, and
religious faith as measures of parental preference for conformity. The same
author uses a slightly different operationalization of parental preference for
conformity in China’s case – the indicators he uses are obedience, hard work,
and thrift (Xiao, 2000b).
The two types of parental values, conventionally labeled autonomy (or
self-control or self-direction) and conformity (or obedience) are treated either as
the extremes of the same dimension (for example, see Schaefer, 1959; Kohn,
1969; Kohn et al., 1990, Hagenaars et al., 2003), or as separate dimensions (for
example, see: Alwin, 1986, 1989; Luster et al., 1989; Xiao, 2000a, 2000b).
Generally, the choice is determined partly theoretically and partly empirically.
Based on results from several exploratory analyses on the 2005 Romanian WVS
data, the two types of parental values are conceptualized here as different
dimensions.

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In the United States’ case, empirical data supports the hypothesis of a


gradual decrease over time in parental preferences for conformity, in concert
with an increase in preferences for children’s autonomy and self-control
(Duvall, 1946; Wright and Wright, 1976; Alwin, 1984, 1986, 1990). Parents’
wish to distance themselves from the way they themselves were raised,
combined with the influence of experts’ advice on child-rearing advertised by
the media (Bronfenbrenner, 1958; Wright and Wright, 1976; Alwin, 1984) may
determine a decrease in the association between social status and parental
values, caused by the “conversion” of some social segments to the styles and
parental values that emphasize the child’s self-control. Although the influence
of experts’ advice is likely to take effect first among the highly educated social
strata, over time, the child-rearing techniques promoted by experts and their
associated values may permeate the other social strata. In addition, overtime,
changes in family size and structure may also contribute to the change in the
relationship between social status and parental values (Alwin, 1984). Recent
studies show that, even in the presence of these changes, the impact of social
status on parental values persists and the magnitude of the relationship is still
substantial (see, for example: Kohn et al., 1990; Spade, 1991; Xiao, 2000a).

The role of child-rearing values in social reproduction


The arguments presented above, according to which parents develop
child-rearing strategies based on their own occupational and life experience, do
not necessarily imply that this process is exclusively rational, and/or deliberate.
Parents might internalize behavior guidelines and success strategies to such an
extent that they unwarily and unintentionally come to instill them in their
children (Kohn, 1963). Actually, for parents with modest social positions, who
aspire to higher social positions for their children, the rational strategy would be
to adopt the parental values that characterize the targeted social position. From
this point of view, a study on the impact of parental aspirations on parental
values could offer interesting conclusions in this field of study. On the other
hand, it is possible that parents do not necessarily desire their children to be
upwardly mobile as much as to avoid downward social mobility (Inkeles, 1960;
Breen and Goldthrope, 1997). In this case, the process through which parents
teach their children status-specific values acquires a stronger rational action
component.
At the same time, the existence of a connection between the parent’s
social position and the values parents try to instill in their children
(hypothetically, these values are precisely the values the parents themselves
adhere to) does not imply social immobility or the perpetuation of poverty and
social advantage. Kohn (1969, p.51) notices that the social class impact on
parental values is not impressive in terms of its magnitude, but rather in terms
of its consistency (the relationship persists across a variety of items that
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

measure parental values and across a variety of national and temporal contexts).
In and of itself, the fact that parents, consciously or unconsciously, prepare their
children for the same type of occupation and the same type of social position as
theirs – in the same way schools play a role in the reproduction of inequalities
(Bowles and Gintis, 1976) – does not determine a high degree of social
reproduction, as long as parental values are not the only factor influencing the
child’s final social position.
It is undeniable that social origins do have an impact on the child’s final
social position – not only through the transmission of parental values, but also
due to financial, cultural, and social capital investments in the child that the
origin family can afford (see, for example, Blau et al., 1978; Lareau, 1987;
Coleman, 1988). However, there are resources that are not directly connected to
social origins that intervene in the social mobility process. For example, the
Wisconsin models of status attainment demonstrate the importance of socio-
psychological factors (e.g., the child’s mental ability, influences of mentors and
significant others, self-conception, or the experience of school failure or
success) in mediating the impact of social origins on social destinations (Sewell
et al., 1970; Sewell and Hauser, 1980; Sewell et al., 2001).
Pearlin and Kohn (1966) believe that this is not exclusively a process
through which parents prepare their children for the same type of occupation as
theirs. It is more likely that parents, during their occupational careers, come to
fully subscribe to the values, attitudes, and behaviors that are deemed
acceptable within their occupational group and are determined by characteristics
of their occupation. Consequently, parents believe that it is important and
beneficial for their children to adopt the same values, attitudes, and behaviors.
Furthermore, as Wright and Wright (1976) notice, the degree to which
socialization is successful (the extent to which children come to adopt the
values their parents deem important) is largely unknown (the empirical results
are contradictory). On one hand, several studies have found small correlations
between parental values and children’s values (for example, Whitbeck and
Gecas, 1988). On the other hand, a study examining the process of
intergenerational transmission of values, using data for the United States and
Poland (Kohn et al., 1986), reported moderate to high correlations (ranging
from 0.37 to 0.59) between parents’ valuation of self-direction and children’s
valuation of self-direction.

Socio-demographic characteristics and parental values


It is possible that the relationship between social status and parental
values is largely explained by a series of parental socio-demographic
characteristics. Social status is correlated with socio-demographic variables
such as sex, age, family structure, and residential environment. In turn, these
variables are correlated with parental values. Given these circumstances, part of
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Social status and child-rearing values

the association between social status and parental values may be attributable to
parents’ socio-demographic profiles.
Parental values may differ according to the child’s gender, but also
according to the parent’s gender (Kohn, 1969; Alwin and Jackson, 1982; Spade,
1991; Xiao, 2000a). As long as social behavior norms differ according to
gender, it is likely that parents will adopt one set of values when raising their
daughters and a different set of values when raising their sons. For example, in
traditional societies there is a clear separation between the expected behavior
for men and the expected behavior for women (Dreyer and Wells, 1966, p.83).
In modern societies, these differences in gender specific expected behaviors are
less significant, but they persist. Consequently, it is likely that the separation
between parental values for daughters and parental values for sons will also
persist. Furthermore, each of the two parents may take on different roles in
child-rearing, leading to differences between mothers and fathers in child-
rearing values5. Traditionally, mothers tend to value children’s autonomy more
than fathers do (Xiao, 2000a), and while fathers are responsible for control and
discipline in parent-child relationships, mothers tend to take on responsibilities
related to the child’s emotional support and creative development, although the
roles can differ according to cultural context, social class, and the specific
parent-child pairing (mother-daughter, mother-son, father-daughter, or father-
son) (Kohn, 1963). Even though the data used for the analyses in this material
does not allow for the identification of the child’s sex, the parent’s sex is
known, and allows us to test hypotheses regarding differences between
women’s and men’s parental values.
The length of parental experience (measured by the present age of the
first-born child) can also contribute to the explanation of the type of adopted
parental values (Duvall, 1946; McNally et al., 1991). On one hand, Duvall
(1946) finds that mothers with grown up children tend to value conformity more
than young mothers with small children. She attributes this to the fact that as
children grow up, their interactions outside the family circle increase in
frequency and both children and parents are under increased pressure to
conform to social standards. On the other hand, it is possible that new parents
will adopt a more authoritarian child-rearing style and the associated values,
given that they are confronted with a new situation and might be overly
protective of the child. As children grow up and enter their teenage years, it is
precisely their increased interactions outside the family circle that limit the
parents’ possibilities for close supervision and increase the child’s desire to be
independent. Furthermore, parents may change their parental styles and child-
rearing values according to the child’s cognitive development level, de-

5
It is difficult to determine the causal directions in the relationships among parental
roles, parental styles, and parental values. It is possible that these dimensions influence
each other, at least during the initial period of parenthood.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

emphasizing conformity values as the child’s cognitive development level


increases (Roberts et al., 1984; McNally et al., 1991).
Besides the fact that the direction of the effect of parental experience on
child-rearing values is uncertain from a theoretical point of view, with cross-
sectional data (such as the data used in this material), the effect of parental age
(a variable highly correlated with the length of parental experience) on child-
rearing values captures not only age effects but also cohort effects (Alwin,
Hofer et al., 2004; Alwin, McCammon et al., 2004). Due to long-term changes
in family structure and functions, in acceptable social behavior norms, and in
mean educational levels (among other factors), older cohorts are likely to be
more fervent supporters of conformity values than younger cohorts.
Unfortunately, the data used here does not include a measure of the first-born’s
age. The parent’s age can be used as a proxy for the length of parental
experience. However, in this case, the effects of parental experience, age, and
cohort will be combined in a single coefficient.
Family structure (operationalized by marital status and number of
children) may also have an effect on parental values. First, it is expected that
there will be differences between parental values adopted by parents in intact
families and parental values in single-parent families, with single parent
families focusing more on conformity values (Xiao, 2000a). Second, it is likely
that there will be differences in values according to whether the single parent
has never been married, is divorced, or widowed (Alwin, 1984), but the small
number of cases in these categories does not allow for the estimation of separate
effects for each. The number of children may influence child-rearing styles and
values, since maintaining order in families with more children can be more
problematic, determining a stronger orientation towards conformity values
(Xiao, 2000b).
Child-rearing values may also vary according to residential area. The
differences between urban and rural areas in traditions, opportunity structures,
and occupational and life experiences produce not only differences in child-
rearing values, but also differences in other value orientations. Furthermore, the
intensity of the relationship between social status and parental values might be
different in the two residential areas.

Mechanisms mediating the relationship between social


status and parental values
Kohn’s work suggests that one of the most important mechanisms
mediating the relationship between social status and parental values is linked to
characteristics of occupations (especially the degree of occupational autonomy,
operationalized by the degree of complexity, supervision, and routinization of
work). A series of preliminary analyses on the Romanian data show that

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occupational autonomy does not have an independent contribution to the


explanation of parental values when controlling for social status6. This result
replicates Xiao’s (2000a; 2000b) findings for China and the United States. The
author attributes the lack of effect of occupational autonomy on child-rearing
values to various changes that took place over time in the workplace
environment. In the Romanian case, either the lack of effect is due to
deficiencies in the occupational autonomy measure, or the effect of
occupational autonomy on parental values diminished over time. In either case,
occupational autonomy in the current Romanian context is not an important
mediating mechanism in the relationship between social status and child-rearing
values. Consequently, the empirical analysis will focus on other possible
mechanisms that might mediate this relationship.
In addition to occupational autonomy, Kohn (1969; Kohn et al., 1990)
proposes as mediating mechanisms a series of dimensions linked to
psychological functioning (anxiety and fatalism, psychological well-being,
intellectual flexibility) and parental orientations to society, work, and self
(authoritarian conservatism, morality standards, trust, receptiveness to change,
conformity, value placed on extrinsic job characteristics, self-confidence). Due
to data constraints, the present material will only explore the second type of
mediation mechanisms proposed by Kohn: parental orientations to society,
work, and self. The theoretical model employed here (see Figure 1) broadens
the scope of this mechanism and includes seven parental orientations in various
areas: orientations to self, work, life, society, and religion. These orientations
are chosen based on the hypothesis that they are partially determined by the
individual’s social status and they indicate different worldviews and different
life experiences, which, in turn, have an influence on parental values.

6
The analyses (results are not presented here) explored the effects of the degree of
freedom of decision at the workplace on parental values. Although this indicator is
different from the ones used by Kohn and it captures a limited facet of occupational
autonomy, it may be considered as an indicator measuring occupational autonomy.
Although the correlation between this indicator and social status is moderately high and
statistically significant at any conventional significance level (r = 0.433), the bivariate
correlations between this indicator and the two types of parental values are small and
not statistically significant (r= 0.008 for autonomy and r = -0.053 for conformity). In the
multivariate analyses, the occupational autonomy indicator does not have an
independent contribution to the explanation of parental values and its addition to the
model does not diminish the effects of social status on parental values. It is possible that
a more detailed measurement model for occupational autonomy, similar to the one used
by Kohn, might produce different results. However, the data used here does not contain
the necessary indicators.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 1. Mechanisms explaining the relationship between social status and
parental values – theoretical model

It is assumed here that in the causal relationship between general value


orientations and the more specific child-rearing values, the former determine the
latter. This particular causal order is based on the assumption that general value
orientations are formed before individuals reach adulthood (during childhood
and youth) and they are relatively stable after that (Inglehart, 1977), while child-
rearing values become stable only when an adult has become a parent. In this
new role, the adult defines his/her child-rearing values so that they are
congruent with his/her value orientations in other areas. From this point of view,
child-rearing values are not new values that individuals adopt once they become
parents, but rather re-evaluations and adjustments of other value orientations to
the specific situations arising in the interactions between parents and their
children.
First, it is expected that the type of personality will have an impact on
parental values. Extrovert personalities are compatible with autonomy values
and incompatible with conformity values (Roccas et al., 2002). Based on the
assumption that, generally, parents consider their own values and own
characteristics as desirable for their children as well, extroverted parents will
tend to focus on the development of their children’s self-control ability. At the
same time, parents with this type of personality will tend to give little
importance to conformity values in child-rearing. If there is a significant
association between social status and extroverted personality, then the type of
202 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Social status and child-rearing values

personality will mediate the relationship between social status and parental
values (if the type of personality has an independent effect, over and above that
of social status, on parental values).
Moving on to orientations to work, the hypothesis that drives the
inclusion of these orientations in the theoretical model is that preferences for
certain types of jobs are determined by social status and that these preferences
can offer additional information about the type of adopted parental values. The
explanation for the existence of a relationship between orientations toward work
and parental values follows the same reasoning as in the case of the relationship
between occupational autonomy and parental values. Individuals in social
positions with higher social status are employed in jobs with a higher degree of
occupational autonomy, but they also tend to place more importance on
occupational autonomy among job characteristics, in comparison to individuals
with lower social status (Kohn, 1969). Consequently, job characteristics such as
opportunities to use initiative, the feeling that you can achieve something, and
the degree of responsibility, are probably more important for those with higher
social status (Inkeles, 1960). In addition, because financial aspects are less
problematic for people in high social status positions, non-financial aspects of a
job become more salient for these categories of individuals (Kohn, 1969).
Consequently, these individuals place greater importance both on occupational
autonomy, but also on other job characteristics such as the degree to which the
job is interesting and the degree to which it meets one’s abilities. Due to the
requirements of a job with high non-financial advantages (initiative,
responsibility, the pressure to get results and be successful), it is expected that
preferences for these types of jobs will be compatible with value orientations
focused on autonomy and self-control rather than on conformity. Under these
conditions, it is possible that workplace preferences are even more strongly
linked to child-rearing values than occupational autonomy is.
It is expected that satisfaction with different areas of life is partially
determined by socio-economic status, and, in turn, the degree of satisfaction
influences the strategies and values adopted in child-rearing. Although
subjective evaluations of satisfaction with life and of material and psychological
well-being are relatively unrelated to educational levels in some national
contexts, they are generally positively associated with absolute and relative
positions in the financial hierarchy and with occupational positions (Inkeles,
1960; Fernandez and Kulik, 1981; Veenhoven, 1995; Easterlin, 2001).
Veenhoven’s (1995) analyses suggest that in less affluent countries, the
relationships between education and income on one hand, and satisfaction on
the other hand are stronger than those in affluent countries. Considering this, it
is expected that social status is positively correlated with satisfaction in the
Romanian context.
Independently of the effect of social status, the evaluation of global
satisfaction with life can have an effect on parental values, to the extent that the

203
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

degree of satisfaction with life reflects differences in life experiences and


conceptions on life. The theoretical model adopted here assumes that people
with positive life experiences and optimistic outlooks on life, characterized by
higher levels of satisfaction, will tend to focus more on the development of their
children’s self-control abilities and less on children’s conformity. In contrast, a
fatalistic outlook on life is probably negatively correlated with social status and
the valuation of children’s autonomy. A fatalistic orientation is largely
determined by occupational situations individuals encounter during their
occupational careers and by the way they were raised in their families of origin
(Inkeles, 1960; Kohn, 1969). Thus, one’s social origins and one’s social status
are associated with varying perceptions of the world’s degree of complexity and
of the degree of control over life (Inkeles, 1960), which, in turn, may influence
parental values.
Two orientations to society are included in the model: receptiveness to
change and morality criteria. Kohn (1969) associates advantaged positions in
the social structure and valuation of children’s autonomy with greater
receptiveness to change and more pronounced tendencies to obey the spirit of
the law rather than the letter of the law. Last, but not least, religiosity intervenes
in the relationship between social status and parental values due to its
connection with the tendency to obey the dictates of an external authority
(Inkeles, 1960). Consequently, religiosity is expected to be negatively
associated with social status and the valuation of children’s autonomy, and
positively associated with child-rearing values focused on conformity.
Tendencies of religious parents to place more value on children’s conformity
might also be explained by the congruence of conformity values with religious
doctrine (Xiao, 2000a).
Among the seven orientations discussed above, it is likely that the
last two (criteria of morality and religiosity) will intervene in the
relationship between social status and parental values in a different way
from the others (extrovert orientation, importance of non-financial
aspects of a job, satisfaction with life, control over one’s own life, and
receptiveness to change). While the first five orientations are
hypothetically positively related both to social status and to child-rearing
autonomy values, but negatively related to child-rearing conformity
values, the last two orientations are likely negatively related to social
status and autonomy and positively related to conformity values.

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Data and methodology


Model and Sample
Using the 2005 Romanian WVS data, the empirical model7 studies the
relationship between social status and two types of child-rearing values:
autonomy and conformity. The main goal of the analysis is to explain the
association between social status and parental values. Two types of explanatory
mechanisms are proposed here: the socio-demographic profile and respondents’
orientations to various domains. The socio-demographic profile acts as a control
mechanism in the model, while the respondents’ orientations act as mediating
mechanisms. I employ the distinction between control mechanisms and
mediating mechanisms in order to differentiate between mechanisms involving
exogenous variables and mechanisms involving endogenous variables. The
socio-demographic variables are exogenous variables in this model – they are
associated with social status, but not causally related to it. The term “mediation”
is reserved for the case in which a variable intervenes in the causal relationship
between two other variables – it is caused by an independent variable, and
causes in turn another dependent variable (Baron and Kenny, 1986). Using this
terminology, respondents’ orientations are considered as mediating
mechanisms. Both types of mechanisms serve the same purpose – that of
explaining the relationship between social status and child-rearing values.
The secondary goal of the analysis is to explore differences between
respondents living in urban and rural residential areas, both in the degree of
association between social status and parental values and in the degree to which
this relationship is explained by the control and mediating mechanisms.
Preliminary analyses (results are not presented here), suggest that both sex and
residential area may interact with the other variables in the model. The sample
size does not allow for the estimation of the model in the presence of
interactions of the other variables both with sex and with residential area (a
four-group model on urban men, urban women, rural men, and rural women).
Since the interactions with residential area are stronger than those with sex, I
have chosen to estimate a model that only takes into account the interactions of
the other variables with residential area. In order to explore these differences,

7
The models are estimated using FIML (Full Information Maximum Likelihood). This
method estimates model coefficients in the presence of incomplete data. The estimation
algorithm uses the information from the observed portions of the data in the presence of
an unlimited number of missing data patterns, and the estimated parameters include
information about the mean and variance of missing portions of a variable, given the
known information from the observed portions of other variables (Wothke, 2000).
FIML produces efficient and unbiased estimators when the data are missing at random,
and several simulations have demonstrated that the algorithm performs well even with
non-ignorable missing data (Wothke, 2000).
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

the model is simultaneously estimated for the two groups defined by residential
area8.
The structure of the final model is based on the theoretical model diagram
(see Figure 1), and includes social status and the socio-demographic variables as
intercorrelated, exogenous variables. All the exogenous variables influence the
variables measuring the respondent’s orientations. No causal structure is imposed
among the variables measuring orientations. Instead, in order to take into account
the associations existing among these variables that are not explained by the
influences accounted for by this model, the structural errors associated with these
variables are intercorrelated (Maruyama, 1998, p. 188)9. Both the exogenous
variables and the mediating variables cause the final two dependent variables of
interest: valuation of autonomy and valuation of conformity in child-rearing. In a
similar way, the part of the association between these variables, unaccounted for by
the other variables included in the model, is represented in a non-causal way,
through the correlation between the structural errors associated with the valuation of
autonomy and the valuation of conformity10.
In order to explore both the individual and the combined impact of the
two explanatory mechanisms on the relationship between social status and
parental values, a sequence of models is presented. The first model estimates the
effect of social status on the two types of parental values, without accounting
for any other influences. The second model estimates the effect of social status
on parental values in the presence of controls for socio-demographic variables.
The third model estimates the same effect in the presence of mediating
variables, and the final model includes both the control mechanisms and the
mediating mechanisms in the estimation of this effect. It is expected that the
effect of social status on parental values (in absolute value) will diminish once
control mechanisms and mediating mechanisms are taken into account.

8
The models are estimated using AMOS 7.0. The simultaneous group analysis implies
the estimation of a single model for both groups, resulting in a unique set of parameters
(covariances, variances, regression coefficients, and R2 coefficients) for each group.
Estimating a simultaneous group model instead of a separate model for each group,
results in more efficient parameter estimates and allows for statistical tests of parameter
differences between groups (Arbuckle, 2006).
9
Although the causal ordering of these variables might be theoretically determined (for
example the personality type influences preferences for certain job characteristics), in this
model, where these variables only play a mediating role, the causal ordering does not offer
additional information on the relationship between social status and child-rearing values.
10
In this case, the modeling choice reflects the idea that the two types of values do not
influence each other, but that they covary. For example, because of accumulated life
experiences, a person adopts parental values that focus on conformity and simultaneously
rejects parental values that focus on autonomy. Alternatively, a person may adopt a
combination of the two types of values, although it is likely that a person that scores high on
the autonomy dimension will have low scores on the conformity dimension.
206 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
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Furthermore, in order to explore the effects of socio-demographic


variables and the effects of orientations on child-rearing values in more detail,
two additional models are estimated. These two models do not account for
effects of social status, in order to diminish collinearity effects. The fact that
social status has moderate to high correlations both with the socio-demographic
variables and with the mediating variables creates problems with the
partitioning of common variance in the dependent variables between predictors
(Baron and Kenny, 1986, p. 1177; Maruyama, 1998, p. 62). Consequently, the
first of these models only includes effects of socio-demographic variables on
parental values, and the second of these models only includes effects of
orientations on parental values.
Although all respondents in the sample, regardless of their parental
status, answered the questions referring to child-rearing values, the analysis
presented here will focus on the subsample of parents, because the issue of
adopted parental values is more relevant for this subsample. At the same time, it
is likely that parental values are more crystallized within this group.

The measurement of parental values


The final endogenous variables in the analysis (valuation of autonomy and
valuation of conformity in child-rearing) were constructed as scales, using items
that have been associated with these dimensions in the child-rearing values
literature: independence, imagination, and perseverance as indicators of autonomy
and hard work, obedience, religious faith, and thrift as indicators of conformity
(Duvall, 1946; Lenski, 1961; Kohn, 1969; Xiao, 2000a, 2000b; Hagenaars et al.,
2003). The respondents were shown a list of 10 qualities which children could be
encouraged to learn at home, and they were asked to choose up to five qualities they
consider especially important. The chosen qualities were coded 1, and the qualities
that were not mentioned were coded 0. For the analyses presented here, the
respondents that did not provide an answer, and those that chose more than five
qualities were excluded from the analysis (39 cases from the subsample of parents).
Choosing more than five characteristics is considered invalid, since it disregards
research instructions. Furthermore, this situation suggests that the respondent found
it hard to differentiate among the ten proposed values (Xiao, 2000a). Cluster
analysis11 was employed in order to decide whether it is more appropriate to
operationalize child-rearing values in terms of a single dimension or two
dimensions, and in order to check whether the empirical grouping of parental value
items is compatible with theoretical expectations.

11
Because the items are binary, I have used a type of cluster analysis which takes this
into account: hierarchical cluster for binary variables, with clustering on variables, using
the between-groups linkage clustering method and the Phi 4-point dissimilarity
measure.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

The results of this analysis are presented separately for urban and rural
residential areas in Figure 2. The theoretical expectations regarding the
grouping of items measuring child-rearing values are confirmed in both
residential areas: independence, imagination, and perseverance are grouped into
one cluster, and obedience, thrift, religious faith, and hard work are grouped
into another cluster. In order to construct the parental values scales12, I used the
arithmetic mean of the items belonging to a cluster. Due to the fact that each of
the items can take a value of 0 (the respondent did not mention the quality) or 1
(the respondent mentioned the quality), the two resulting parental values scales
have the same amplitude and range from 0 (none of the qualities on that parental
values dimension was mentioned) to 1 (all of the qualities on that parental
values dimension were mentioned).
The choice to measure the valuation of autonomy as a separate
dimension from the valuation of conformity is preferred here also because this
distinction allows for a more detailed description of the relationships between
social status and child-rearing values. Otherwise, parental preferences for
children’s autonomy or conformity are essentially the extreme opposites along a
single dimension of child-rearing values13. It is possible, however, that the
impact of social status on one type of parental values is different from the
impact on the other type of parental values.

Figure 2. The clustering of items measuring child-rearing values


0 5 10 15 20 25 RURAL 0 5 10 15 20 25
URBAN

Thrift Independence

Relig.faith Imagination

Hard work Perseverance

Obedience Hard work

Independence Obedience

Perseverance Relig.faith

Imagination Thrift

12
As before, because of the binary nature of the items, I opted for scales instead of
using a latent variable in this case, given the fact that the indicators do not conform to
the multivariate normality assumption imposed by the estimation method used here
(maximum likelihood) (Arbuckle, 2006, p. 39).
13
The correlations (in absolute values) between the two measures for the two types of
parental values on one hand, and a unique measure of parental values (computed by
subtracting the number of qualities indicating a preference for conformity from the
number of qualities indicating a preference for autonomy) are very strong
(approximately 0.86).
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Social status and child-rearing values

Determinants of parental values


Social status was constructed as a latent variable14 with three observed
indicators: education, occupation, and income. Education is measured by
categories indicating progressively higher levels of schooling, ranging from 1
(no schooling) to 14 (M.A. degree or Ph.D. degree) 15. Occupation is measured
using a prestige scale (Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale -
SIOPS) developed by Treiman (1977) and updated by Ganzeboom and Treiman
(2003)16. On this scale, high scores indicate high levels of prestige. In order to
capture the relative positions of individuals in the financial resources hierarchy,
incomes are measured in deciles of household incomes per capita.
The control variables are all observed variables, and include the
respondent’s age, marital status (single versus the reference category: married),
number of children, and sex (man versus the reference category: woman).
Mediating variables are either observed variables (control over one’s
own life, openness to scientific and technological advances, importance of
God), latent variables (extrovert orientation, satisfaction, morality/legality
criteria), and scales (valuation of non-financial aspects of a job).
Control over one’s own life is measured by the reactions, on a scale
from 1 (everything is determined by fate) to 10 (people shape their fate
themselves) to the statement: “Some people believe that individuals can decide
their own destiny, while others think that it is impossible to escape a
predetermined fate”. Openness to technological and scientific advances is
measured by the agreement, on a scale from 1 (completely disagree) to 10
(completely agree), with the statement: “Because of science and technology,

14
For each of the latent variables used in the model, an exploratory factor analysis was carried
out as a preliminary step to the analysis (results are not presented here). Based on these results,
confirmatory factor models were constructed for each of the latent variables (see details on
model goodness of fit for these confirmatory factor analysis models in Table A-1).
15
This variable and all other ordinal level variables in these analyses are treated as
interval level variables.
16
In order to transform the variable measuring occupation from its original version
containing partially ordered categories into an interval level variable it is necessary to
recode it. The recoding scheme is based on recoding tables developed by Ganzeboom
and Treiman (2003). Groups with no occupation and “other” occupations are treated
differently, according to which category they belong to: students, housewives, and
unemployed respondents are allocated prestige code 0, while retired respondents and
those with “other” occupations (for whom no details were recorded regarding their last
occupation, respectively their present occupation) are treated as incomplete data, to be
taken into account by the FIML estimation procedure. I opted for treating the last two
categories of respondents in this way in order to avoid excluding them from the
analysis. The assumption here is that each of the respondents in these two categories has
an associated occupational prestige code (be it one derived from a past occupation or
one derived from a present occupation).
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

there will be more opportunities for the next generation”. In order to measure
religiosity, I have opted for the use of a single indicator, linked to one of the
dimensions of religiosity (religious faith) 17: importance of God in respondents’
lives, ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 10 (very important).
Extrovert orientation is a latent dimension, operationalized by answers to
items from the portrait-values battery: “To what extent are you similar to a person for
which it is important18: (a) to have a good time; to spoil oneself, (b) to be rich; to have
a lot of money and expensive things, (c) to have adventures and to take risks; to have
an exciting life, (d) to be successful; to have people recognize one’s achievements”.
This dimension captures two types of values with congruent motivations19: self-
enhancement and openness to change (Schwartz et al., 2001). Both types of values are
associated with extroverted personalities (Roccas et al., 2002).
Satisfaction is also a latent dimension, measured by items of
satisfaction with various domains: satisfaction with one’s life as a whole (the
scale ranges from 1 completely dissatisfied to 10 completely satisfied),
satisfaction with the state of one’s own health, with the amount of money one
has, and with one’s way of living20 (the scales for these items range from 1 not
at all satisfied to 4 very satisfied), and a global happiness measure (“Taking all
things together, would you say you are very happy (4), rather happy (3), not
very happy (2), or not at all happy (1)”).
The latent variable measuring criteria of morality/legality is constructed
using items grading (on a scale from 1 always justifiable to 10 never justifiable)
several behaviors that violate morality and legal standards: claiming
government benefits to which you are not entitled, someone accepting a bribe in
the course of their duties, cheating on taxes if you have a chance, avoiding a
fare on public transport.
The preference for non-financial aspects of a job is constructed as an
additive scale, based on a set of dichotomous items. Respondents were asked to

17
Preliminary analyses explored the effects of an additional indicator of religious
practice (churchgoing frequency). However, the indicator does not bring additional
contributions to the explanation of child-rearing values when controlling for the
religious faith measure.
18
This is a retranslation of the item as it was included in the Romanian questionnaire.
The original WVS item stated: “Now I will briefly describe some people. Please
indicate for each description whether that person is very much like you, like you,
somewhat like you, not like you, or not at all like you”.
19
According to Schwartz et al. (2001), the 10 items included in this battery of questions
describe a circular value space, in which adjacent values are compatible. As the distance
on the circle’s diameter increases, the values become incompatible. In the circular
structure described by the 10 values included in the portrait-values battery, the four
items chosen here to operationalize extrovert orientation have adjacent positions.
20
Satisfaction with the state of one’s own health, with the amount of money one has, and with
one’s way of living are country-specific items, not included in the original WVS questionnaire.
210 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Social status and child-rearing values

evaluate the importance (0 not important, 1 important) of the following job


characteristics: a job that is interesting, an opportunity to use initiative, a job in
which you feel you can achieve something, a responsible job, and a job that meets
one’s abilities21. In the newly created scale, each respondent received a score equal
to the number of non-financial aspects of a job that he/she thought were important.

Results
The examination of the descriptive statistics for the subsample under
study, separately for urban (N=762) and rural (N=596) residential areas, suggest
that respondents living in urban areas are characterized by higher mean scores
on all three indicators of social status (the results are not presented here).
Respondents living in urban areas are also younger and tend to have fewer
children than respondents in rural areas.
For the mediating variables, with the exception of morality and religiosity
indicators (which theoretically were expected to display a different behavior from
the remaining mediating variables), urban residents have consistently higher mean
scores than rural residents. Generally, among the indicators used to measure the
final dependent variables, items measuring the valuation of autonomy in child-
rearing are preferred by higher percentages of parents living in urban areas, while
items measuring the valuation of conformity in child-rearing are preferred by higher
percentages of people living in rural areas (with the exception of ‘thrift’).
In general, social status is associated with all of the control variables and all
of the mediating variables – correlation coefficients are statistically significant,
except for the correlation with morality criteria in urban areas (the results are not
presented here). Older parents, single parents, and those with more children tend to
have a lower social status in all three samples (total, urban, and rural). Men tend to
have higher social statuses than women do, and in the entire sample of parents,
social status scores are higher in urban areas compared to rural areas.
Parents with a higher social status tend to have extroverted
personalities, and to prefer jobs characterized by non-financial advantages.
They also have higher levels of satisfaction. Finally, they have the feeling that
they can control their own lives, and they are more receptive to changes brought
by technological and scientific advances, these results offering support to
theoretical expectations. Parents with lower social status tend to be more
religious and more inclined to reject amoral and illegal forms of behavior. As
expected, social status is positively associated with the valuation of autonomy in
child-rearing and negatively associated with the valuation of conformity in
child-rearing, and these associations are statistically significant. The

21
These items have been included in the 2005 Romanian WVS, but they are from a
battery of items from the European Values Survey.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

correlations are low to moderate (-0.159 and -0.306 for relationships with the
valuation of conformity and 0.273 and 0.315 for relationships with the valuation
of autonomy). The association between social status and the valuation of
autonomy is relatively stronger in urban areas (the covariance is 0.191,
compared with 0.139 for the rural areas). The differences between urban and
rural residential areas are more pronounced in the case of the association
between social status and valuation of conformity (the covariance is -0.175 for
urban areas and -0.069 for rural areas).
In general, associations between valuation of autonomy in child-rearing
on one hand and socio-demographic and mediating variables on the other hand,
go in opposite directions in comparison to associations between valuation of
conformity in child-rearing and the socio-demographic and mediating variables.
This suggests that the socio-demographic and orientation profiles of parents
who adopt the two types of values are polar opposites. The associations between
the valuation of autonomy in children and socio-demographic and orientation
variables have the same signs as the associations between social status and
socio-demographic and orientation variables. In the case of the valuation of
conformity in children, the directions are reversed: associations between the
valuation of conformity and the other variables go in an opposite direction from
associations between social status and the other variables. The two parental
values dimensions are significantly correlated, with moderate to high negative
correlations (approximately -0.450). This suggests that the two types of values
are dissonant, but that, at the same time, the parental value space can include a
combination of the two types of values.
The directions of associations suggest that each of the proposed socio-
demographic and orientation variables can act as explanatory mechanisms of the
relationship between social status and parental values. Parents with higher
social status tend to value autonomy and reject conformity in children, but, at
the same time, each social status position is associated with a certain socio-
demographic and orientation profile, a profile that, in turn, may influence the
type of adopted parental values. The questions that motivate the analyses that
follow are: (a) whether this profile has an independent effect on child-rearing
values, over and above the effect of social status, and (b) to what degree the
social status effect on parental values can be explained by taking into account
the characteristics of these profiles. In order to answer the first question, the
discussion of results will focus on the statistical significance of the effects of
control variables and orientation variables on parental values when controlling
for social status. In order to answer the second question, the discussion will
focus on comparing social status effects on parental values in models that do not
control for socio-demographic and orientation profiles effects and in models
that include these controls. Table 1 through Table 4 present the main interest
effects in multivariate models, and contain both unstandardized and
standardized coefficients, in order to facilitate both comparisons between the
two residential groups and an exploration of the intensity of effects.

212 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Social status and child-rearing values
Table 1. Regression coefficients in the prediction of the valuation of autonomy in child-rearing for urban residents
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status 0.030 *** ( 0.283) 0.021 *** ( 0.215) 0.023 ** ( 0.199) 0.018 * ( 0.166)
Age -0.003 *** (-0.152) -0.002 ** (-0.114) -0.002 ** (-0.111)
Single -0.040 (-0.059) -0.035 (-0.051) -0.030 (-0.044)
Number of children -0.033 *** (-0.141) -0.015 (-0.063) -0.012 (-0.053)
Man 0.047 * ( 0.085) 0.025 ( 0.046) 0.014 ( 0.026)
Extrovert orientation 0.033 ** ( 0.126) 0.028 * ( 0.110) 0.019 ( 0.073)
Non-financial job
0.023 *** ( 0.143) 0.017 ** ( 0.105) 0.017 ** ( 0.106)
aspects
Satisfaction 0.042 + ( 0.084) -0.009 (-0.018) -0.016 (-0.031)
Control over life 0.006 + ( 0.064) 0.005 ( 0.054) 0.005 ( 0.048)
Openness to S&T
0.000 (-0.002) -0.001 (-0.006) -0.001 (-0.005)
advances
Criteria of morality 0.005 ( 0.026) 0.007 ( 0.038) 0.008 ( 0.040)
Importance of God -0.013 * (-0.087) -0.010 + (-0.063) -0.008 (-0.052)
R2 0.08 0.07 0.08 0.11 0.11 0.13
Notes: *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05, + p < 0.1
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 2. Regression coefficients in the prediction of the valuation of autonomy in child-rearing for rural residents
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status 0.030 *** ( 0.273) 0.022 *** ( 0.224) 0.023 ** ( 0.197) 0.021 * ( 0.194)
Age -0.002 ** (-0.121) -0.001 (-0.036) 0.000 (-0.026)
Single -0.008 (-0.012) 0.007 ( 0.010) 0.023 ( 0.037)
Number of children -0.015 * (-0.094) -0.007 (-0.045) -0.003 (-0.020)
Man 0.008 ( 0.017) -0.011 (-0.024) -0.028 (-0.059)
Extrovert orientation 0.023 + ( 0.102) 0.021 + ( 0.097) 0.022 + ( 0.100)
Non-financial job
0.009 ( 0.066) 0.008 ( 0.062) 0.008 ( 0.061)
aspects
Satisfaction 0.069 ** ( 0.155) 0.020 ( 0.045) 0.026 ( 0.058)
Control over life 0.003 ( 0.033) 0.003 ( 0.037) 0.004 ( 0.051)
Openness to S&T
0.005 ( 0.043) 0.002 ( 0.020) 0.002 ( 0.019)
advances
Criteria of morality -0.007 (-0.044) -0.006 (-0.036) -0.005 (-0.030)
Importance of God -0.009 (-0.045) -0.002 (-0.010) -0.004 (-0.020)
R2 0.07 0.03 0.08 0.07 0.11 0.11
Note: *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05, + p < 0.1
214 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Social status and child-rearing values
Table 3. Regression coefficients in the prediction of the valuation of conformity in child-rearing for urban residents
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status -0.028 *** (-0.306) -0.022 *** (-0.263) -0.028 *** (-0.288) -0.026 *** (-0.280)
Age 0.002 *** ( 0.130) 0.001 * ( 0.083) 0.002 * ( 0.101)
Single -0.008 (-0.014) -0.014 (-0.024) -0.020 (-0.033)
Number of
children 0.027 *** ( 0.135) 0.008 ( 0.040) 0.003 ( 0.012)
Man -0.037 * (-0.080) -0.014 (-0.031) 0.003 ( 0.007)
Extrovert
orientation -0.016 (-0.074) -0.011 (-0.048) -0.004 (-0.016)
Non-financial
job aspects -0.005 (-0.037) 0.003 ( 0.018) 0.003 ( 0.020)
Satisfaction -0.050 * (-0.116) 0.013 ( 0.030) 0.013 ( 0.031)
Control over
life -0.004 (-0.045) -0.002 (-0.029) -0.003 (-0.032)
Openness to
S&T
advances -0.001 (-0.012) -0.001 (-0.005) -0.001 (-0.009)
Criteria of
morality -0.008 (-0.048) -0.011 (-0.066) -0.012 + (-0.074)
Importance of
God 0.018 *** ( 0.136) 0.013 ** ( 0.100) 0.013 ** ( 0.102)
R2 0.09 0.05 0.06 0.10 0.11 0.12
Note: *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05, + p < 0.1
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 4. Regression coefficients in the prediction of the valuation of conformity in child-rearing for rural residents
Model 1 Model 2 Model 3 Model 4 Model 5 Model 6
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status -0.015 ** (-0.159) -0.008 + (-0.095) -0.012 (-0.123) -0.007 (-0.071)
Age 0.001 ** ( 0.118) 0.001 + ( 0.081) 0.001 + ( 0.088)
Single -0.003 (-0.006) -0.008 (-0.016) -0.005 (-0.010)
Number of children 0.015 * ( 0.107) 0.012 * ( 0.086) 0.013 * ( 0.091)
Man -0.005 (-0.011) 0.002 ( 0.006) 0.002 ( 0.005)
Extrovert
orientation 0.014 ( 0.074) 0.015 ( 0.078) 0.017 ( 0.089)
Non-financial job
aspects 0.006 ( 0.053) 0.006 ( 0.056) 0.007 ( 0.060)
Satisfaction -0.045 * (-0.118) -0.019 (-0.049) -0.015 (-0.040)
Control over life 0.000 (-0.007) -0.001 (-0.010) -0.002 (-0.028)
Openness to S&T
advances -0.010 * (-0.111) -0.009 * (-0.096) -0.009 * (-0.098)
Criteria of morality 0.011 ( 0.076) 0.010 ( 0.071) 0.010 ( 0.067)
Importance of God 0.011 ( 0.063) 0.007 ( 0.041) 0.006 ( 0.037)
R2 0.03 0.03 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.06
Note: *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05, + p < 0.1
216 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Social status and child-rearing values

The first model estimates the total association between social status and
child-rearing values. The results of this model are similar to the previously
discussed results regarding the bivariate relationships between variables, except
that model 1 simultaneously estimates the influence of social status on both
dimensions of parental values. In addition, model 1 provides values of the
unstandardized regression coefficients (b coefficients). The model is estimated
only in order to obtain estimates of regression coefficients that are comparable
with results from the other multivariate models.
Model 2 estimates effects of control variables on parental values
without accounting for the effect of social status. Controlling for the other
socio-demographic variables’ influences, age and the number of children have
statistically significant influences on parental values, both in the urban and in
the rural area (negative effects on the valuation of autonomy and positive effects
on the valuation of conformity in child-rearing). Furthermore, among urban
residents, sex is also a statistically significant predictor of parental values (men,
compared to women, are more inclined to value children’s autonomy and less
inclined to value children’s conformity). The result contradicts the theoretical
expectations based on results from other national contexts. It is possible that
past social norms of acceptable behavior, during the period in which the parents
in this sample were developing their value spaces, but also more recent social
norms of behavior, during the period when parents in this sample try to develop
the values of their children, place a greater importance on conformity for girls.
Given that the effect of sex disappears when social status is controlled for (see
model 4), it is also possible that differences in parental values between men and
women are due to differences in socio-economic status between the two groups.
Marital status is not a statistically significant predictor of parental values,
neither among urban residents, nor among rural residents, when the other socio-
demographic characteristics are controlled for (see Table 1 through Table 4).
Model 3 presents the effects of parents’ orientations on child-rearing
values, without accounting for social status influences. In the prediction of the
valuation of autonomy, among the seven orientation variables included here,
two (openness to scientific and technological advances and criteria of morality)
do not have statistically significant effects when the other orientations are
controlled for (see Table 1). In contrast to effects among urban residents, in
rural areas, most of the orientation variables have small and statistically non-
significant effects on the valuation of autonomy in child-rearing (among the
orientation variables, only satisfaction and extrovert orientation have
statistically significant effects – see Table 2). Similarly, in the prediction of the
valuation of conformity, the majority of the effects of orientation variables are
small and statistically non-significant, this time both among urban and rural
residents (see Table 3 and Table 4). The only exceptions are the effects of
satisfaction and of the importance of God among urban residents, and the
effects of satisfaction and openness to scientific and technological advances

217
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

among rural residents. These results suggest that although in the bivariate
approach all of the parent’s orientations are statistically significantly associated
with parental values, there is some overlap among their effects on parental
values in the multivariate approach. Only in urban areas and only in the
prediction of the valuation of autonomy in children, all of the orientation
variables that were statistically significantly associated with that parental value
dimension maintain their statistical significance in the multivariate analysis.
Models 4 and 5 estimate the effects of social status on parental values,
in the presence of control variables, respectively orientation variables. In these
models, due to the collinearity of predictors, a literal interpretation of the
coefficients’ statistical significances is problematic. In general, the effects of
control variables and orientation variables diminish and become statistically
non-significant in comparison to the results of the previous two models
discussed above. Age remains a consistent and statistically significant predictor
of parental values (with the exception of its relationship with the valuation of
autonomy in rural areas). Among rural residents, the number of children
continues to be a statistically significant predictor of the valuation of conformity
in child-rearing. In model 5, with several exceptions, orientation variables
remain consistently linked to the two parental values dimensions. However,
only a few of these effects retain their statistical significance: for the prediction
of autonomy child-rearing values, among urban residents – extrovert
orientation, the valuation of non-financial aspects of jobs, and the importance of
God, and among rural residents – extrovert orientation; for the prediction of
conformity child-rearing values, among urban residents – the importance of
God, and among rural residents – openness to scientific and technological
advances (see Table 1 through Table 4).
However, the main goal of these models is to estimate the impact of
social status on parental values. Compared to the total association estimated in
model 1, controlling for the socio-demographic profile reduces the impact of
social status on valuation of autonomy by 30% among urban residents and by
27% among rural residents, and on valuation of conformity by 21% among
urban residents and by 47% among rural residents (percentages based on
unstandardized coefficients). Controlling for the effects of orientation variables
also produces a decrease in the impact of social status on parental values in all
cases, except for the relationship with the valuation of conformity in urban areas
(in this case, probably due to a higher degree of collinearity among predictors,
some of the regression coefficients bounce through 0 and this influences the
results). The decrease in the impact of social status on autonomy is of 23%, both
in the urban and the rural areas, and the decrease in the impact on conformity in
rural areas is of 20%.
The final model estimates the impact of social status on parental values
in the presence of the combined effects of control mechanisms and mediation
mechanisms. Together, the two types of variables explain 40% of the effect of

218 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Social status and child-rearing values

social status on valuation of autonomy among urban residents, and 30% of the
effect among rural residents. The decrease in the effect of social status on the
valuation of conformity in urban areas is modest (7%), however this result is
once again influenced by some coefficients bouncing through 0 (especially the
coefficient for criteria of morality, recording a marginally statistically
significant effect in the opposite direction from the expected direction). In rural
areas, the effect of social status on conformity is reduced by 53% (see Tables 1
through 4).
These results suggest that both the socio-demographic profile variables
and the orientation variables contribute to the explanation of the relationship
between social status and parental values. The two profiles combined (socio-
demographic profile and orientation profile) explain a greater percentage of the
relationship between social status and parental values than each profile in part,
suggesting that each profile has individual contributions to the explanation of
the relationship, although there is some degree of overlap. In all cases analyzed
here, the impact of social status on child-rearing values is reduced when
controlling for the variables that have been chosen as explanatory mechanisms
and, in the case of the relationship between social status and conformity in rural
areas, the effect becomes statistically non-significant.
In the final model, among the control variables, age continues to have a
statistically significant effect, independent of the effect of social status on
parental values (with the exception of the prediction of the valuation of
autonomy in rural areas). Additionally, the number of children remains a
marginally significant predictor of the valuation of conformity among rural
residents. Among the proposed mediating mechanisms, only a few have
statistically significant relationships both with social status (see Table A-3) and
with parental values in the model that controls for the complete set of influences
(see Table1 through Table 4): in the prediction of the valuation of autonomy, in
urban areas – the valuation of non-financial aspects of a job, and in rural areas –
extrovert orientation; and in the prediction of the valuation of conformity, in
urban areas – the importance of God1, and in rural areas – openness to scientific
and technological advances. These variables on which social status has
statistically significant effects and which, in turn, have statistically significant
effects on parental values constitute the main pathways that mediate the effect
of social status on parental values.

1
Additionally, in this case, criteria of morality are statistically significantly related both
to social status and to the valuation of conformity. This mediating variable was
excluded from the enumeration because the sign of its effect on the valuation of
conformity is reversed in comparison to the theoretically expected sign. Furthermore,
the bivariate correlation between criteria of morality and the valuation of conformity is
not statistically significant.
219
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

In order to explore differences between urban and rural areas in the


processes that control and mediate the relationship between social status and
child-rearing values, I also estimated tests for the equality of structural
relationships between urban and rural areas for the initial model and the final
model (see Table A-5). These tests show that in the final model, there are
statistically significant differences between urban and rural residents in the
relationships among the exogenous variables (the associations between social
status and control variables) and in the effects of control variables on the
mediating variables. There are no statistically significant differences between
urban and rural residents in the direct effect of social status on the valuation of
autonomy. However, the social status effect on the valuation of conformity is
significantly higher (in absolute value) in urban areas than in rural areas (see
Table 3, Table 4, and Table A-5). This is mainly because in urban areas the total
association from the initial model between social status and the valuation of
conformity in children is significantly higher than in rural areas (see Table 3,
Table 4, and Table A-5). A second reason is that the control and mediating
mechanisms have a diminished explanatory power in the case of urban residents
when compared to rural residents.

Conclusions
Using a theoretical model proposed by Kohn and his colleagues (Kohn,
1963; Pearlin and Kohn, 1966; Kohn, 1969; Slomczynski et al., 1981; Kohn et
al., 1983; Kohn et al., 1986; Kohn et al., 1990) and the 2005 Romanian WVS
data, I have examined the relationship between parents’ social status and their
valuation of autonomy or conformity in child-rearing. The two types of parental
values distinguish between two different child-rearing strategies. The valuation
of autonomy in children denotes an increased focus on the construction of an
internal set of behavior guidelines, while the valuation of conformity in children
denotes an increased focus on obeying externally imposed rules. Although the
two child-rearing value orientations are largely discordant, this does not mean
that parents cannot adopt a combination of the two parental value types. In
general, however, the higher the valuation of autonomy in children, the lower
the valuation of conformity.
The analyses presented here show that there is indeed a significant
relationship between social status and parental values: in comparison to parents
in lower social status positions, those with higher social status tend to focus
more on developing their children’s autonomy and they tend to de-emphasize
conformity values in child-rearing. The intensity of these associations and the
analysis results regarding the relationships among social status, parental values,
and socio-demographic and orientation profiles reiterate Kohn’s (1969)
observation that the relationships between social status and parental values are
not impressive in regard to their intensity, but because of their consistency. In

220 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Social status and child-rearing values

the analysis presented in this chapter, the correlations between social status and
parental values are small to moderate (approximately ranging between 0.16 and
0.30 in absolute values), but the relationships between these two variables, and
the relationships of these two variables with other variables describing the
socio-demographic and orientation profiles are consistent with the theoretical
expectations.
The existence of a relationship between social status and parental
values, even if this relationship is small to moderate in intensity, raises the
problem of the intergenerational inheritance of social advantages and
disadvantages. If parents instill in their children values that characterize their
own social status position, then the process of socialization is tantamount to
preparing the child for the same social status and the same occupational position
as the parents’ position. Under these circumstances, it is important to
understand which are the mechanisms that allow social status to influence
parental values. In this chapter, I have taken into consideration two types of
mechanisms that could explain part of the relationship existing between social
status and parental values: socio-demographic profiles and orientation profiles.
First, a part of the total association between social status and parental
values may be due to social status differences between groups that are
characterized by different socio-demographic profiles and to the relationships
that may exist between the socio-demographic profile and parental values. The
results of this analysis suggest that men, urban residents, young people, married
persons, and those with fewer children tend to have a higher social status, and at
the same time, they tend to value autonomy and reject conformity in children. In
the multivariate models presented in this chapter, these socio-demographic
characteristics explain between 20% and 40% of the total association between
social status and parental values.
Secondly, another part of the total association between social status and
parental values may be due to the indirect effects of social status on parental
values. The model in this chapter examined the role of parental orientations to
different domains as mechanisms that mediate the relationship between social
status and parental values. The orientations that were examined here ranged
from domains that are more concrete to domains that are more abstract:
orientations to self, work, life, society, and religion. These are some of the
mechanisms that can intervene in the relationship between social status and
parental values. However, other important mechanisms could not be examined
here. For example, the degree of occupational autonomy and mechanisms linked
to intellectual flexibility and psychological well-being may act as mediators of
the relationship between social status and parental values, intervening in the
model that was proposed here between social status and the orientation
variables.
Among the examined mediating variables, the analysis results suggest
that social status is positively associated with extrovert orientation, the

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

valuation of non-financial job advantages, the degree of satisfaction and control


over life, and openness to scientific and technological advances, and negatively
associated with intolerance towards amoral or illegal behavior and with
religiosity. The direction of the association between social status and the
examined orientations is paralleled in the associations between parents’
orientations and the valuation of autonomy in children, and is reversed in the
associations between parents’ orientations and the valuation of conformity in
children. In the multivariate models, the orientation variables explain
approximately 20% of the total association between social status and parental
values, with the exception of the prediction of the valuation of conformity
among urban residents, where the mediation effects act in opposite directions
and cancel each other out. Together, the control mechanisms and the mediating
mechanisms explain one third to a half of the effect of social status on parental
values. Once again, in this case, the relationship between social status and the
valuation of conformity in urban areas is an exception, given the fact that some
of the indirect effects cancel each other out.
Among the socio-demographic variables, age is the most important
control mechanism. Either because older parents have had more experience
(both life and parental experience), or because effects are due to differences
between cohorts, this category of parents tends to place more value on
conformity in children and to de-emphasize autonomy values. An explanation
that conceptualizes age as duration of life may be that as people grow older, the
accumulation of life experiences determines successive revisions of the
hierarchy of values, with the focus moving from the valuation of autonomy
toward the valuation of conformity. An explanation based on the length of
parental experience may be that advanced by Duvall (1946), according to
which, as children grow older and start to interact with people from outside the
family circle, parents come under increased pressures to conform to social
standards. Explanations based on cohort effects may invoke differences in the
political, economic, social, and cultural contexts marking the life experiences of
each cohort. For example, for older cohorts in this sample, a larger part of their
socialization was spent under the communist regime, a context in which
conformity was extremely important.
Orientation variables also contribute to the explanation of the
relationship between social status and parental values. In each of the four
situations analyzed here (two types of parental values in two residential areas), a
different orientation emerges as the most important mediating factor. Among
the mediators in the relationship between social status and the valuation of
autonomy, the orientations to domains that are more concrete are more
important (extrovert orientation among rural residents and the valuation of non-
financial job aspects among urban residents). In contrast, among the mediators
in the relationship between social status and the valuation of conformity, the
orientations to domains that are more abstract are more important (openness to

222 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Social status and child-rearing values

scientific and technological advances among rural residents and religiosity


among urban residents). Under these conditions, it is possible that the valuation
of autonomy is mainly determined by a person’s orientations to self and the
immediate surrounding environment, while the valuation of conformity is
mainly determined by a person’s orientations to domains that transcend the self
and the immediate surrounding environment. Since autonomy values imply a
focus on an internal set of behavior guidelines, it is reasonable that orientations
to domains closer to the self emerge as the most important ones. In parallel, the
fact that the valuation of conformity focuses on obedience of externally
imposed rules justifies the stronger link between the valuation of conformity
and domains that transcend the self.
Even in the presence of the various explanatory mechanisms used here,
the direct impact of social status on parental values persists and amounts to
approximately half of the total association between these two variables. The
only case in which the direct effect of social status is reduced to a degree where
it is no longer statistically significant, is the case of the prediction of the
valuation of conformity among rural residents, where the total association
between social status and this type of parental value was small to begin with.

Appendix
The comparability of results between urban and rural areas
In order to ensure the comparability between estimated parameters for
urban and rural residents, for all the latent variables the measurement weights
were constrained to be equal across the two groups (Maruyama, 1998, p. 261).
For two of the four latent variables used here (criteria of morality and
satisfaction), these constraints do not have a statistically significant effect on the
model goodness of fit in comparison to the unconstrained model (see Table A-1).
For the other latent dimensions (social status and extrovert orientation),
imposing these constraints on the model produces a significantly worse model
fit, according to the Δχ2 test.

223
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table A-1 Tests of measurement model invariance across residential areas

Equal measurement weights


Unconstrained model model Invariance test
χ2 χ2 χ2 RMSEA RMSEA χ2 χ2 χ2 RMSEA RMSEA Δχ2 Δχ2 Δχ2
(df) (p) (p) (df) (p) (p) (df) (p)
Social status0.00 0 --- --- --- 6.97 2 0.031 0.043 0.563 6.97 2 0.031
Extrovert
52.09 4 0.000 0.094 0.001 64.88 7 0.000 0.078 0.003 12.80 3 0.005
orientation
Criteria of
14.25 4 0.007 0.043 0.623 15.78 7 0.027 0.030 0.944 1.54 3 0.674
morality
Satisfaction 32.38 10 0.000 0.041 0.821 32.67 14 0.003 0.031 0.987 0.29 4 0.990

Notes: A separate model is estimated for each latent variable. The unconstrained model
for the social status factor is just-identified.

Due to the fact that χ2 goodness of fit tests and Δχ2 model comparison
tests are sensitive to sample size and test an implausible hypothesis of perfect
model fit (Cochran, 1952; Jöreskog, 1969; Arbuckle, 2006), an alternative
measure of model goodness of fit (RMSEA) is also examined. Browne and
Cudeck (1993) and Arbuckle (2006) suggest that an RMSEA value of 0.05 or
less indicates a good model fit and values between 0.05 and 0.08 indicate a
model with a reasonable approximation error. For the two latent factors for
which the Δχ2 test suggested that measurement weights equality constraints
produce a significantly worse fit (social status and extrovert orientation), the
alternative model fit test (RMSEA) suggests that imposing the constraints
produces reasonably fitting models, even if the model fit is significantly reduced
in comparison with the unconstrained model. Furthermore, I considered that the
comparability of results takes precedence over the model fit. Consequently, the
sacrifices in terms of the model fit are acceptable.

Additional results
In the final model (model 6), all of the indicators have statistically
significant loadings on the factors they measure, and all standardized factor
weights are greater than 0.5, suggesting that the indicators are strongly linked to
the dimensions they measure, providing an empirical justification (in addition to
the theoretical justifications) to include them as measures of the latent variables
(see Table A-2).

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Table A-2. Factor weights (model 6)

Urban Rural
b ß p R2 b ß p R2
Social status
Education 1.000 (0 .783) --- 0.61 1.000 ( 0.784) --- 0.61
Occupation 6.532 ( 0.737) *** 0.54 6.532 ( 0.676) *** 0.46
Income 0.645 ( 0.630) *** 0.40 0.645 ( 0.529) *** 0.28
Extrovert orientation
Have a good time 1.000 ( 0.794) --- 0.63 1.000 ( 0.801) --- 0.64
Be rich 0.909 ( 0.705) *** 0.50 0.909 ( 0.723) *** 0.52
Take risks 0.898 ( 0.724) *** 0.52 0.898 ( 0.722) *** 0.52
Be successful 0.907 ( 0.697) *** 0.49 0.907 ( 0.701) *** 0.49
Criteria of morality (it is not justifiable to ...)
Claim undeserved benefits 1.000 ( 0.722) --- 0.52 1.000 ( 0.705) --- 0.50
Accept bribes 0.574 ( 0.625) *** 0.39 0.574 ( 0.691) *** 0.48
Cheat on taxes 1.253 ( 0.724) *** 0.52 1.253 ( 0.766) *** 0.59
Avoid a fare on public transport 1.101 ( 0.832) *** 0.69 1.101 ( 0.895) *** 0.80
Satisfaction
Happiness 1.000 ( 0.738) --- 0.55 1.000 ( 0.712) --- 0.51
Satisfaction with life 3.098 ( 0.714) *** 0.51 3.098 ( 0.700) *** 0.49
Satisfaction with health 0.877 ( 0.566) *** 0.32 0.877 ( 0.549) *** 0.30
Satisfaction with amount of money 0.958 ( 0.649) *** 0.42 0.958 ( 0.645) *** 0.42
Satisfaction with way of living 0.909 ( 0.706) *** 0.50 0.909 ( 0.674) *** 0.46
Note: --- fixed coefficients; unstandardized factor weights in the measurement model
are constrained to be equal across residential areas; *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p <
0.05, + p < 0.1

The effects of social status on the mediating variables in the final model
are all in the expected direction (see Table A-3). Both among urban residents
and among rural residents, social status has a positive impact on extrovert
orientation, the valuation of non-financial aspects of a job, satisfaction, the
degree of control over life, and openness to scientific and technological
advances, and a negative effect on criteria of morality and religiosity. In
general, the effects are statistically significant, with a single exception (the
effect on the valuation of non-financial job aspects among rural residents). The
effect of social status on satisfaction is one of the strongest effects in the model
(β=0.623 in urban areas and β=0.478 in rural areas).

225
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Table A-3. Regression coefficients in the prediction of mediating variables (model 6)


Extrovert orientation Non-financial job benefits
Urban Rural Urban Rural
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status 0.131 *** ( 0.310) 0.089 * ( 0.179) 0.231 *** ( 0.348) 0.087 ( 0.103)
Age -0.023 *** (-0.317) -0.007 + (-0.108) 0.002 ( 0.019) -0.001 (-0.005)
Single 0.028 ( 0.010) -0.182 (-0.063) -0.078 (-0.019) -0.107 (-0.022)
No. children 0.072 + ( 0.078) -0.021 (-0.029) 0.026 ( 0.018) -0.097 + (-0.077)
Man 0.147 + ( 0.068) 0.196 + ( 0.089) -0.270 * (-0.080) 0.168 ( 0.045)
R2 0.23 0.10 0.11 0.03
Satisfaction Control over life
Urban Rural Urban Rural
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status 0.134 *** ( 0.623) 0,116 *** ( 0,478) 0.172 ** ( 0.156) 0.247 ** ( 0.188)
Age -0.004 ** (-0.118) 0,000 ( 0,000) 0.001 ( 0.006) 0.009 ( 0.049)
Single -0.183 *** (-0.134) -0,213 ** (-0,152) -0.439 (-0.063) -0.379 (-0.050)
No. children 0.057 ** ( 0.120) -0,025 (-0,068) -0.032 (-0.013) 0.149 + ( 0.076)
Man -0.107 ** (-0.098) -0,020 (-0,019) 0.679 ** ( 0.121) 0.406 ( 0.070)
R2 0.41 0.32 0.06 0.05
Openness to S&T advances Criteria of morality
Urban Rural Urban Rural
b p ß b p ß b p ß b p ß
Social status 0.082 + ( 0.100) 0.193 ** ( 0.195) -0.055 + (-0.096) -0.080 + (-0.125)
Age 0.006 ( 0.043) -0.006 (-0.042) 0.013 ** ( 0.133) 0.000 (-0.001)
Single -0.353 + (-0.068) 0.724 ** ( 0.127) -0.213 (-0.058) 0.221 ( 0.059)
No. children -0.078 (-0.043) 0.107 ( 0.073) -0.120 * (-0.095) 0.046 ( 0.048)
Man 0.040 ( 0.010) -0.027 (-0.006) 0.069 ( 0.024) 0.073 ( 0.026)
R2 0.02 0.04 0.03 0.03
Importance of God
Urban Rural
b p ß b p ß
Social status -0.072 * (-0.102) -0.066 + (-0.123)
Age 0.004 ( 0.030) 0.006 + ( 0.080)
Single 0.178 ( 0.040) -0.063 (-0.020)
No. children 0.088 ( 0.057) 0.008 ( 0.010)
Man -0.770 *** (-0.216) -0.265 * (-0.111)
R2 0.08 0.05
Note: *** p < 0.001, ** p < 0.01, * p < 0.05, + p < 0.1

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Table A-4. Structural weights equivalence tests across residential areas (model 1)
Unconstrained model Equal structural weight Invariance test
χ2 χ2 RMSEA χ2 χ2 RMSEA Δχ2 Δχ2
χ2 (df) (p) RMSEA (p) χ2 (df) (p) RMSEA (p) Δχ2 (df) (p)
Social status → Autonomy 22.40 10 0.013 0.030 0.974 22.40 11 0.021 0.028 0.989 0.00 1 0.996
Social status → Conformity 22.40 10 0.013 0.030 0.974 26.86 11 0.005 0.033 0.965 4.46 1 0.035
Table A-5. Structural weights equivalence tests across residential areas (model 6)
Unconstrained model Equal structural weights Invariance test
χ2 χ2 RMSEA χ2 χ2 RMSEA Δχ2 Δχ2
χ2 (df) (p) RMSEA (p) χ2 (df) (p) RMSEA (p) Δχ2 (df) (p)
Social status ↔ Control variables 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1445.57 458 0.000 0.040 1.000 16.70 10 0.081
Social status → Mediating variables 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1439.54 455 0.000 0.040 1.000 10.68 7 0.153
Control variables → Mediating variables 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1495.04 476 0.000 0.040 1.000 66.17 28 0.000
Social status → Autonomy 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1428.95 449 0.000 0.040 1.000 0.08 1 0.781
Control variables → Autonomy 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1437.86 452 0.000 0.040 1.000 8.99 4 0.061
Mediating variables → Autonomy 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1433.00 455 0.000 0.040 1.000 4.13 7 0.765
Social status → Conformity 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1432.85 449 0.000 0.040 1.000 3.98 1 0.046
Control variables → Conformity 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1430.03 452 0.000 0.040 1.000 1.16 4 0.884
Mediating variables → Conformity 1428.87 448 0.000 0.040 1.000 1436.76 455 0.000 0.040 1.000 7.89 7 0.342
Notes: ↔ covariances, → causal relationships; control variables: age, marital status, number of children, sex; mediating variables:
extrovert orientation, non-financial job aspects, satisfaction, control over life, openness to scientific and technological advances, criteria
of morality, importance of God.
227
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

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Identity and axiological profile: value
identifications for Romanian young people

HORAŢIU RUSU

Identity is a fascinating subject, always in the limelight, which was and


is still approached in many ways, both in the scientific and in the public, media
or political agenda. In this respect, we may, for example, think about “Face
Off”, a movie directed by John Woo, which in 1997 achieved huge success
with the public1. The entire plot of the movie focuses on the reciprocal
substitution of the identities of the main characters. Sean Archer, an FBI agent,
trying to baffle a terrorist plan, takes Castor Troy’s look, a famous criminal,
who was caught by the police and found in a coma. Unfortunately, things do not
happen as they were secretly planned by the FBI; Castor comes to his senses
and, in his turn, takes hold of Archer’s look. Of course, the “role plays” they
interpret are imperfect, so the people with whom they interact begin to ask
themselves: “Who is this Castor?”, respectively “Who is this Archer?”.
Another example, which circulates more in the political environment, is
known under as the The Duck Test. In 1950, during the Cold War, Richard
Patterson, The United States’ ambassador in Guatemala, accusing the local
government that it was communist, used the following allegory: “...suppose you
see a bird walking around in a farm yard. This bird wears no label that says
‘duck’. But the bird certainly looks like a duck. Also, he goes to the pond and
you notice he swims like a duck. Then he opens his beak and quacks like a
duck. Well, by this time you have probably reached the conclusion that the bird
is a duck, whether he’s wearing a label or not” (Immerman, 1982:102). The
question that lies behind this argument is: “How can we know that a certain bird
is a duck?”.

1
The movie is among the first 10 most successful movies, measured according to
income in the USA and also it was in the 13th position worldwide in the same year.
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

“Who or what is X?” and “How can we establish who X is or what X


is?” are maybe the first and the most important questions that lay behind the
reflections researched by any person interested in the domains of identities, be
they individual – as in the first example – or collective – as in the second
example. Apparently simple, the answers I am searching for cannot be grasped
before finding out the theoretical solution to the question, “What is identity?”
i.e., how the title also suggests, “What is identity at a collective level?”.
Keeping this in mind, I will also raise the question “How can we establish an
identity profile at a collective level?” and, only after this, I will search for
answers for the main question, the one that organizes this entire chapter: “What
is the Romanian youngsters’ identity profile, from an axiological point of view?
This chain of questions transposes in the structure of the chapter in the
following way: an initial part where I make an incursion in the universe of the
theories of collective identities, followed by a brief review of several
contemporary conceptual models of the axiology of social domain; a second
part dedicated to the description of the methodology and the used indicators; a
third part dedicated to the analyses and data presentation; finally, the last part
where I outline some conclusions. Also, here should be mentioned that by
young people I mean the persons between 18 and 35 years old.

Theories on collective identities or “How can we establish


that a certain bird is a duck?”
Besides the fact that it is a very common word in everyday life, no
matter the age, the sex, the profession, the ethnicity or the race, identity is
one of the most ubiquitous concepts of the literature concerned with social
sciences today, to which a lot of definitions were given, and which probably
encompasses a great number of differences. Thus, we find it quite frequently
in a large panel of combinations: cultural identity, national identity, ethnic
identity, social identity, collective identity, categorical identity and so on
(see Smith, 1991; Gellner, 1983; Bauman, 1992; Calhoun, 1994; Tilly, 1996;
Jenkins, 1996, etc.). Sometimes the spheres of these notions overlap to a
larger extent, some other times to a smaller extent or even not at all,
sometimes they are considered interchangeable and sometimes they exclude
each other. These differences or similarities, that originate in the positions
assumed by the scientists of identity on ontological (between realism2 and

2
It is a position named by some scientists called holism, or naturalism, or structuralism,
integrated or currently known in the social theories of identity and culture under the
generic name of essentialism and which postulates the existence of some
superstructures, certainties, essences, realities independent of individuals and above
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

relativism3), epistemological (between objectivism and subjectivism) and


methodological (between quantification of the causal relations and
interpretation or description) continuums, find themselves, in different forms or
formulations, in the theories of identity.
Presently, the differences, oppositions or bipolarities that were evoked
previously are transposed in a quasiunanimous way – see: Sayer (1997), Bacová
(1998), Woodward (2001), Brubaker, Loveman and Stamatov, (2004), etc. – in
the terms of essentialism and constructivism (for other typologies related
especially to the theories of national and ethnical identity, see: Smith (1999: 3-
19), Ozkirimli, (2000), Dungaciu, (2004: 26-31).
Of course that, as Sayer (1997) also suggests, there are many variants of
essentialism and many critics of essentialism, each one of them modifying along
with the context and the problem that is discussed. We meet the “extreme”
essentialist claiming that everything is full of substance, and “moderate”
essentialisms accepting that, while some things have substance, some other do
not. What unifies them all is the convergence to the assumption that “objects”
exist by themselves and also the fact they possess certain essential properties
that make them a certain kind, rather than the other.
As there are many types of essentialisms, there are also many types of
constructivism. The area of the theories that can be comprised under this term is
at least the same large and various as in the case of essentialism. However, what
really unifies them are the basic assumptions on social reality, which is
constructed, changeable and multiple; things do not exist by themselves, but
only as categories of constructs generated subjectively, as our representations.
Thus, constructivism reunites those perspectives that support the idea of
some contextual, processual, instrumental, changing or invented4 identities, and
essentialism reunites those perspectives that advance or start from the idea of
the existence of some fixed, static, with pronounced determinist character,
affective, homogenizing5 identities. All these points of view are accompanied
by speeches about culture, cultural features, structures, borders, categories,
power, actors, memories, images, emotions, cognitions, etc. The main axes

them and still reproduced by them; the identity appears as existence in itself, as a priori
reality, as a structure.
3
It is a position that could be named either non-realist, or nominalist, or even
individualist. Currently, in the social theories on identity, it is known under the generic
name of constructivism and postulates that the existence of reality is produced by
individual consciences; identity emerges as a product of the self, as an independent
representation in and through conscience.
4
Theories known under names like: instrumentalism, situationalism, cognitivism, modernism,
inventionism or even postmodernism tend to be included in this group. The same happens for
authors like: Barth, Mitchell, Brass, Horowitz, Calhoun, Anderson, Jenkins, etc.
5
For example, theories like primordialism, perrenialism, sociobiologism and authors like
Shils, van den Berghe, Geertz, Isaac, Grosby, Connor, etc. tend to be included in this group.
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

around which any debate on identity gravitates are: culture - heredity, structure -
action, collective - individual, affectivity -cognition, emic - ethical. If we were
to imagine that we found in a room where there are also several research fellows
in disagreement with the status of identity, we surely could select some
fragments from their dialogues, as follows: “it is natural…”; “it is invented…”;
“it is an elites’ instrument”; “it is hereditary, it is in our genes”; “it is a matter of
pure cognition”; “it is a matter of emotions and feelings”; “it is a category
created by others”, “it is a deeply subjective belief, it exists only in our
imagination”. The consequence of this so-called “fight” – existing ever since the
world began, between Eleatics and Heraclitians6, as some people would say – is
that most of the discussions are captive in an apparently sisyphic attempt to
solve the problem in an unequivocal way: is identity inherited, essential,
perennial or is it permanently socially built and re-built, fluid and imagined?
The answer to this question can be given if we leave aside both the
extreme essentialist (determinist) position – which confines the idea of the free
will and transforms the individual in “cultural dopes”, the way Garfinkel
(1967:68) called it – and the extreme constructivist one (postmodern) – which,
in fact, deconstructs the social reality and, in the worst case, inducts solipsism.
The simpler the answer may seem, the more paradoxical it is: identity is, at the
same time, essential and constructed. Arguments to support this idea can be
found both on the ground of philosophy, social psychology and sociology and
on the ground of the theories of identity.
An example in this sense, familiar to identity logicians, is known under
the name of “Theseus ship”. Theseus was an Athenian hero, who defeated the
Minotaur, thus saving the lives of the young Athenians, sacrificed once every
nine months in the Labyrinth in Crete. They say that the ship on which he
traveled to the island of Crete and the way back was kept by Athenians in his
honor and at the same time as a symbol of the victory over Minos, the Cretan
king. Once a year, Athenians used to organize a parade and sail on Theseus’
ship. Of course, one may suppose that, over time, parts of the ship eroded and it
was necessary to replace them with some new parts, shaped exactly the same
way and built exactly from the same materials as the old ones. Over time, it is
normal to suppose that every part of the ship was gradually replaced. If at the
certain Tk moment in time, all parts came to be replaced, the following question
could be raised: Is Theseus’ ship fundamentally the same one?
The answer to this question can be given if we search for it not in
philosophy, or in logic, but in sociology. The solution is provided by the well-
known Thomas theorem, claiming that a situation defined as real becomes real

6
Eleatics (Xenophanes of Colofon, Parmenides of Elea, Zeno of Elea) supported the
uniqueness and immutability of world and existence, while Heraclides of Ephesus
favored the idea of continuous change, very suggestively expressed by his aphorism:
Panta Rhei.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

in its consequences (Thomas and Thomas, 1928: 572). Transposed in the


language of the previous example, the theorem says that what makes the ship the
same is the people’s faith or the fact that people perceive and identify it as being the
real one and act accordingly towards it, organizing parades. To express it in a
different way, even though, from a qualitative point of view, the “object” changes
its properties (essences), its significance is the only one that matters. It is the same
ship because this is what people (the Athenians) believe and think, and one of the
main rules of the researcher interested in the social domain is never to neglect what
people say, because, in fact, this is what really interests him. Consequently, not the
formal logic, but the social logic is the one that allows the use the concept of
identity and the study of its change at the same time.
The idea that all the categorical constructs are essential is also
supported by Allport (1954) – in the domain of social psychology – who shows
that (discussing the problem of prejudices, of the sources of discrimination in
inter-group’s relations) people do not only have the tendency to think in
categorical terms, but they also have the tendency to look at social categories as
being natural and to develop beliefs in their essential character.
In the field of the theories of identity, the same idea is found from
Smith7, who states that, in fact, “the social construction”, seen as a type of
categorization, does not necessarily mean a negation of the reality of identity,
but an underlining of its ambivalent status: of a real (essential) product and at
the same time8 of an imagined (constructed) product. Connor finds on the same
coordinates when he says that “Identity does not draw its sustenance from facts
but from perceptions; not from chronological/factual history but from
sentient/felt history”, in other words, identity is there, it exists because it is
perceived as being there; it is perceived as being “eternal” and “above time” and
“not facts but perceptions of facts that undergird attitudes and behavior”
(Connor,, 2004: 45).
Finally, theories from other fields of sociology lead to the same idea.
Among them, it could be mentioned the theory of structuration, Giddens’ idea
of duality of the social structures and agents. There is a “structural” reality more
or less fluid where the social actor performs – either we see it as a construction,
as a great narrative, as a pre-assigned thing or as a gift (Bădescu, 2002: xxvii):
there are institutions or typical ways of acting, there are symbols or memories
and there are “legitimized” interpretations given to them, etc. – but, at the same

7
In the framework of a debate with Gellner, named “The nation: real or imagined?” (see
http://members.tripod.com/GellnerPage/Warwick0.html)
8
We may also notice as a result of a thorough study that most of the theories of identity
contain this implicit idea, the ambivalence of identity: being at the same time state and
process. In other words, identities “are constructions” (structures or essences) and “they
are built” (processes or categorizations) at the same time, as it can be seen at Durkheim
(1964), Weber (1968) or from Shils (1957) to Hall (1991).
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

time, they exists only to the extent in which they are produced, reproduced and
recognized by social actors. Transposed in the field of identity, this idea can
sound in the following way: identity exists at a collective level to the extent in
which it is reproduced at an individual level.
Thus, the problem of the acknowledgment of reality, of the uniqueness,
stability and efficiency of identity raises in the register of its actualization, its
production and re-production by social9 action, be it discourse, attitude or
behavior of social actors; in other words, it becomes effective or real when it
has implications for the social actors and he/she identifies with it. Thus it can be
said, starting from this idea, that collective identity is the identification with the
others through similar “elements” or characteristics. Hence, it results the
methodology I use in the present paper. I do not search for “discovering” the
identity of a collectivity, of a collective entity a priori assumed, but I decide for
the search of common aspects of individual identities, i.e. for the elements of
common identification – be they values, memories, images, processes, or
feelings – of the social actors. In other words, not the reified constructions
themselves, but the process of identification with them is the one that gives the
reality of a collective identity (see also Barth (1969) for details regarding the
relation between categorization, (ethnical) identity and (cultural) elements).
In other words, on the collective-individual axis, the landmark of the
empirical study is represented by the individual, and the collective identity will
be an emergence of the common identifications. Thus, this is the answer which
shows “how can we establish an identity profile at a collective level” and which
allows me to pass on to the next question “Which identitary profile, at an
axiological level, do young people in Romania have?”
The spheres of identity are, as it could be inferred until now, numerous
and they have their referential, depending on the examined theories: from
common images, collective memories, values or ideologies10. In this paper, as
the title also suggests, I try to investigate only one of them, namely the
axiological dimension of the collective identity of the young people. In other
words, what I will present in the following sections is subordinated by the idea
of the study of values with which Romanian young people identify today.

The axiological dimension of identity


Values, as we already know, constitute a kind of abstract, absolute
landmarks that cannot be observed straightway, and that are approached
specifically by every collectivity, community, ethnicity, nation through their

9
Or “feeling”, as Bădescu says (2002:xxxiii).
10
See any of the theories of identities from Durkheim (1964) to Weber (1978) or
Cooley (1909), from Geertz (1963) to Shils (1957) to Barth (1969), Horowitz (1975),
Anderson (1983), Brass (1991), Smith (1999) and others.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

own culture, during their history. Values add an important tinge, probably the
most important, to the portrait of “who is or what is”. One of the definitions
given to the value to which many research fellows refer is the one from
Kluckhohn: value is “a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an
individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the
selection from available modes, means and ends of action” (Kluckhohn, 1951:
395). They appear as elements of the symbolic, latent universe of reality and as
a support of the level of updates. “The achievement” of values thus represents
one of the reasons of all the individuals’ actions, namely the entire social life:
“the system of value standards when institutionalized in the social systems and
internalized in personalities guides the action” (Parsons and Shils, 1992: 41). As
values orientate people’s actions and options, but they cannot be studied
directly, their analysis implies the investigation of the level of actualizations,
i.e. the level of attitudes, knowledge and individuals’ behavior.
There are three theoretical and empirical models most invoked by social
scientists today11 in the study of the axiological dimension: Inglehart’s model,
Schwatz’s model and Hofstede’s model. The analyses I will make further on,
uses, as a background, especially the first two models. That is why I will present
only their main ideas synthetically.
Inglehart’s model proposes a hierarchical distinction between two types
of values: materialist and postmaterialist and, at the same time, it predicts an
evolution of orientations at the level of societies from the first to the second
type. Theoretically, this distinction bases not only on Weber’s thesis of
secularization, but also on Maslow’s (1943) thesis of the motivational pyramid.
In a practical way, Inglehart draws his hypothesis on the observation of the
solutioning of the crisis of the basic resources after World War II and on the
orientation of the political systems to solving other types of problems. His
analyses indicate the existence of a connection between the interest in satisfying
some basic needs (social security, economic prosperity, and so on), identified as
being materialist and the low economic development of a society, and the
interest in satisfying some superior, intellectual, esthetical needs (self-
achievement, preoccupation for the environment, and so on) identified as being
postmaterialist, and a strong economic development (Inglehart, 1997).
Schwartz proposes a universal typology of values. The structural
organization (the arrangement, the pattern) of values according to this model is
given by the compatibility or incompatibility between them. From the point of
view of the theoretical construction, Schwartz draws on Rokeach’s model
(1973) which shows that the differences among individuals are given rather by
the importance they confer to certain values to the detriment of others than by
their presence or absence in the individuals’ orientation system. The ten basic
values, about which Schwartz says can be identified in all the societies, are: self

11
See, for example, Arts et al. (2003); Vinken et al. (2004); Ester et al. (2006); Ramos (2006).
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

direction, stimulation, hedonism, self-achievement, power, security,


conformism, tradition, benevolence, and universalism. They are structured in
two dimensions: openness to change versus conservation and self-enhancement
versus self-transcendence (Schwartz, 1994, 2006).
Hofstede’s model proposes five dimensions of culture: social distance,
the avoidance of uncertainty, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity
versus femininity and the orientation to the future (for details, see Hofstede,
2001). As already announced, I will not refer to this model, given the fact that I
do not have data that would allow me to create the indicators proposed by it.
Before passing to the second part of the work, where I will describe the
methodology and the items used, I would like to mention again that the entire
analysis is dedicated only to the axiological dimension of identity, values being,
as I showed in the previous section, a part of the collective identity.

Indicators and methodology


The empirical analysis I propose is, by and large, a descriptive one,
following especially to point out the structure, stability or the dynamics of value
identifications from the perspective of the longitudinal available data – the data
bases I will use are EVS 1993, EVS 1999 and WVS 200512. In order to measure
the values, I will use a series of indexes built on the basis of the factorial
analyses. The structure and the stability of values, where the analyses imply the
determination of some factors, will be verified with the help of the correlation
between the factors obtained in each wave and an index created on the basis of
the saturations of the factors obtained in 2005, and the dynamics of the
identifications with the help of ANOVA analysis on the basis of the indexes I
obtained. Besides this, I will try to underline the possible differences among
various categories of young people; in other words I will examine the game of
overlapping between collective and categorical.
Of course, it is not my purpose to be exhaustive in what concerns the
axiological universe, a reason for which I will stop at the investigation of value
identifications that allow longitudinal13 comparisons. Thus, the first step is to
find those values (that is results of the common identifications or factors, in
terms of the statistical analysis) which could help to outline an axiological
profile whose stability could be studied. Above the conditions imposed by the
availability of the data, I took into account, when I chose the factors, not only
the theories regarding the value systems evoked previously, but also a taxonomy
resulted from Arts’ et al. analyses (2003: 23-48). They identify, on the basis of

12
The youngsters’ sub-samples taken into account, corresponding to the age interval 18-35
years old include 399 subjects in 1993, 369 subjects in 1999, respectively 486 in 2005.
13
on the basis of the items that can be found in all the three questionnaire and data bases
EVS/WVS, 1993, 1999, 2005.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

EVS data, two dimensions of the axiological universe (similar to both at a social
and individual level): a dimension that would represent the social-liberal
orientation (whose key features, related to postmodernism, are individual liberty
and autonomy14) and a dimension that would represent the normative
orientation (among whose features will be: the support for the traditional family,
religiosity, the strong appreciation for the social norms and so on, things that are
related to materialism). Thus, I endeavored that the values I used in the analysis
to be theoretically distributed on a conservatism/normativism – openness to
change axis. More precisely, I considered the support for: religiosity, the idea of
authority versus autonomy, intolerance (towards deviant behaviors), gender (in)
equity (as values of a conservative type) and alternative family models, equity,
permissiveness, the liberal model of a society versus the egalitarian model of a
society (as values related to the dimension of openness to change)15.
Different studies show that religiosity is not only understood, but also
measured in different ways (see Bădescu, 2002; Halman and Petterson 2006;
Voicu 2006; Rughiniş 2006). The most frequently explored dimensions of
religiosity are the faith and the religious practice. In my analysis I propose an
index that includes, besides the dimensions mentioned above, a dimension of
self-perception and another one of the positioning towards the church. Thus, the
index consists of other indexes that measure separately the importance of
religion and also God’s importance, the Christian ethos and the importance
attributed to the institution of church, an indicator that measures the religious
behavior and another indicator that measures the self-perception of religiosity
(see the annex).
Permissiveness is measured on the basis of the acceptance of some
behaviors that transcend the borders of “normality”: homosexual behavior,
prostitution, abortion, euthanasia, divorce. The index that I proposed is also
present in some other analyses, either as a simple index, or encompassing two
dimensions of permissiveness: a personal and a sexual one (for details, see for
example Arts et al., 2003).
Tolerance is generally understood as the acceptance of some behaviors
or attitudes with which we do not agree or which we do not like (Medrano &
Rother, 2006). The intolerance towards deviant people is determined in my
analysis on the basis of the non-acceptance as neighbors of some persons
belonging to some groups traditionally considered deviant: alcoholic people,
homosexuals and drug dependents.
The index I will name “authority” from now on appears frequently in
the literature under the name of authority versus autonomy and has various

14
This “type of individualism” – as the authors say – should not be interpreted in terms
of egoism, narcissism, hedonism or ethical relativism; it does not lack a spirit of
community but is socially committed; ”– Arts et al. (2003:31).
15
The practical way in which these indicators are constructed is described in the annex.
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

modalities of construction. The different variants actually have as background


the Weberian theory of the rationalization of societies. On this basis, Inglehart16
(1997:390) proposes that the value should be given by the subtraction between
the sum of two indicators that denote the spirit of “Protestantism”
(perseverance/determination and thrift) and the sum of two indicators that
denote the preference for the traditional facet (religiosity and obedience). For
example, Schwartz (1992) creates two indexes, one of conformism and the other
one of independence which, in the model he advances, appear at the counter-poles
of the axis. Conformism is an additive index created on the basis of an item that
measures the importance conferred to the freedom of choice and of another item
that measures the importance conferred to creativity. Here, I decided for a more
elaborated variant, after the model used by Arts et al., too (2003: 53). The index is
of an additive type, the items that refer to the support for authority, namely hard
work, thrift, religious faith, obedience are summed up, and the ones that refer to the
support for autonomy, namely independence, responsibility feeling, perseverance/
determination and imagination were subtracted.
The other values included in the analysis (the acceptance of alternative
family models, gender inequity, equity, acceptance/non-acceptance of the model
of egalitarian society) are based on the answers to a single question.

What kind of value identifications can we find from young


people?
First of all, in this section, I will try to see how the eight values
included in the analysis group together over time (from 1993 to 2005), and I
will also see if there is a preference for certain type of values.
Theoretically speaking, as was expected, collective identifications with
the values enumerated above are made on two different dimensions:
conservatism and openness to change. These two dimensions (easily visible in
Figure 1) were practically obtained on the basis of the cluster17 analysis.
Intolerance, gender inequity, support for the authority and religiosity group
together in a cluster that reflects the conservatism, while the support for the
equity, for the alternative family models, and the liberal society model group
together in a cluster that reflects openness to change. The dendograms in Figure
1 present the analyses results for all the three waves.

16
For the abbreviated variant of achievement index.
17
Although I tested the way values group with the multidimensional scaling method,
obtaining similar results, I preferred to present in this paper the results obtained using
the cluster analysis method, due to the fact that the graphical representation is more
intuitive. The cluster analysis used here is a hierarchical one, with clustering on
variables, Ward method; the variables were standardized. The solution is stable, similar
results are obtained using the Baverage method.
241
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 1. The clustering of the values on the dimension conservatism/openness to change in the dynamics 1993-2005
242 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people
Note: The inclusion of the identification with the liberal/egalitarian society model in the cluster that refers to the conservative dimension
is due to an abrupt rearrangement on the liberalism/egalitarianism “axis”. In 1993 the average value is 7,02, a fact that indicates a strong
support for liberalism, and in 1999 it is 3,86 indicating a strong support for egalitarianism; in 2005 it comes back to 5,14.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
The data for 2005 allow me, besides the analyses above (created having as theoretical reference Inglehart’s, Arts’ et al.,
models), to resort to some of the afferent indicators of Schwartz’s model (see the annex). In Schwartz’s original version, values are
measured according to the answers given to 21 questions. Each index of the ten fundamental values is built with 2 individual indicators,
except for universalism, built with 3 indicators. WVS/EVS questionnaire from 2005 includes only 10 items (from all the 21), one for
each value. Further on, I intend to analyze on the same theoretical axis – conservatism-openness to change – the intensity of the value
identification, with the help of Schwartz-type available items. According to Schwartz (2006), on this axis, self-direction and stimulation
(i.e. openness to change) are opposed to tradition, conformity and security (i.e. conservatism). This theoretical assumption (for the
Romanian society) of the two poles’ segregation is also confirmed by the data obtained through cluster18 analysis (Figure 2).
Figure 2. The clustering of the values on the conservatism/openness to change axis in 2005 on the basis of Schwartz items
18
The choice for the presentation of the cluster analysis results is motivated by the same principle that I have presented above, that is the
possibility of facile visual interpretation. I used a hierarchical-type cluster analysis with clustering on variables,, i.e. the Ward method. The
solution is stable, and similar results are obtained when using the Baverage method. Similar results are also obtained if the multidimensional
scalar method is used (the coefficient that measures the agreement to data Normalizes raw stress = 0,005 and the similarity coefficient Tucker =
0, 99). The same answer is obtained with the same two dimensions if the factorial analysis method is being used.
244 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

The hierarchy of value identifications that gives us a hint regarding the


pole that prevails, the “most powerful” pole, is practically established based on
the average values of each item (Figure 3): the lower the average is (according
to the scale – see the annex), the more intense the identification with the
respective value is.

Figure 3. The hierarchy of value identifications (Schwart’s items)

Tradition
(2.47)

Security
(2.52)

Conformism
(2.55)

Self direction
(2.61)

Stimulation
(3.89)

Note: Each of the five dimensions can vary from a theoretical minimum value of 6 to a
theoretical maximum value of 1.

It can be noticed that, although the differences are not always


statistically19 significant, the three values assimilated to the conservative
dimension tend to situate in the superior part of the “pyramid”, and the other
two (openness to change type) tend to place at the pyramid basis. This
“hierarchy” allow me to say that in 2005 the young people preferred to identify
themselves with values belonging to the category of conservative ones.

Young people’s values identification: which way?


As it was noticed above, using a synchronic analysis, the identifications
with conservative values seem to prevail over the identifications regarding the

19
The significant differences for p=0,000 are situated among tradition-stimulation,
security-stimulation and conformism- stimulation, and for p<0, 1 between security-self
direction and tradition-self direction.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

openness to change. Further, I will follow the evolution of this relation


(conservatism - openness to change) from a longitudinal perspective. The period
1993-2005 offers the possibility to see which way youngsters’ preferences went,
and even though I do not intend to make predictions, it leaves open the
opportunity to advance some hypotheses.
To analyze the dynamics of the phenomenon, the changes in the
youngsters’ values, identification were looked at, first of all, at a global level
and then in particular to see if there are differences, depending on some
categories (the place where youngsters live, sex and age). Table 1 synthesizes
the results of the analyses made at a global level.

Table 1. The dynamics of Romanian youngsters’ value identifications


Year 1999 versus 2005 versus 2005 versus
Values 1993 1999 1993
Authority È ∼ È
Religiosity È È È
Gender inequity ∼ ∼ ∼
Intolerance ∼ ∼ ∼
Unegalitarian society
Ê È Ê
model
Permissiveness ∼ Ê Ê
Alternative family model ∼ Ê Ê
Equity ∼ Ê ∼
Note: the sign È or Ê reflects a significant intensification or a decrease (to p<0.05) of
the identification with the mentioned values in comparison with the reference year; the
sign ~ indicates the fact there are no significant changes in comparison with the years
when the reference is made. (The results are based on the ANOVA type analysis; for
gender inequality, intolerance, inequality society model, the used test is Bonferroni, and
for all the others, Tamhane).

The global image obtained form the data presented here, indicates that
from 1993 to 1999 we assist to an intensification tendency of the identification
with the so-called conservative values (the religiosity and the preference for the
authority increase), and a stability tendency or even diminishing tendency of the
identification with values that would indicate openness to change (the support
for an unequal society model). The observation is similar for the period 1999-
2005 (religiosity is continually increasing while the support for the alternative
family model, equity and permissiveness is continually decreasing) except for
the identification with the idea of social inequality. The dynamics is more
striking in the larger period 1993-2005 (religiosity and preference for the
authority are significantly increased while the support for the model of an
unegalitarian society and the model of the alternative family and permissiveness

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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

are significantly lowered). In a practical way, the result can be compared with
the facts indicated by the hierarchy of values built above and depending on
Schwartz’s model items. If the analysis based on Schwartz’s items indicates the
fact that conservative values are situated in 2005 in the superior part of the
identification “pyramid”, Table 1 shows that the young people in 2005 identify
themselves more than in 1993 or 1999 with conservative values and less with
those values that reflect openness to change.
Table 2 presents the results of the analyses made on the categories of
young people from different residential environments. The interpretation of this
table can be made both diachronically and synchronically. I am not going to
make an individual presentation, at the level of the indicator, but I intend to
make the “translation” globally, depending on the two axes: conservatism -
openness to change axis and rural - urban axis.

Table 2. Value identification of the young people in the urban and rural areas
Comparison Rural in
comparison with Urban Rural
Urban
1999 2005 2005 1999 2005 2005
Value orientations 1993 1999 2005 versus versus versus versus versus versus
1993 1999 1993 1993 1999 1993
Authority ∼ È È ∼ ∼ È ∼ ∼ È
Religiosity ∼ È ∼ È Ê È È ∼ È
Gender inequity È È È ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Intolerance ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Unegalitarian
society model ∼ ∼ Ê Ê È Ê Ê ∼ Ê
Permissiveness Ê Ê Ê ∼ ∼ Ê ∼ ∼ Ê
Alternative society
model ∼ Ê Ê ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ Ê ∼
Equity ∼ ∼ Ê ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Notes:
1. the signs È or Ê indicate a significant positive difference and a
significant negative difference respectively (p≤0,05) of the identification
with the values enumerated in comparison with the year and the residence
environment to which the reference is made;
2. the signs Ì or Ê have the same meaning only for p≤0,10;
3. the sign ~ indicates the fact that there are no differences of identification
between residence environments or significant changes regarding the years
to which the reference is made.
4. The results are based on the ANOVA analysis (For authority and the unegalitarian
society, the test I used was Bonferroni and, for all the others, Tamhane)

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Examples of interpreting:
1. The first cell in the upper left corner indicates the fact that the young
people living in the urban and rural areas were found in 1993 on the same
positions regarding the orientation to a society based on authority.
2. The first cell in the upper right corner indicates the fact that the preference
for the authority of the young people living in the rural areas is
significantly increased in 2005 than in 1993.

Synchronically, that is from the point of view of the comparisons of the


identifications in the same year among youngsters from different residential
environments (first three columns of the Table 2), the analysis reveals the fact
that in 1993 the differences between the two dimensions, conservatism versus
openness to change, were given especially by the inequality of gender and
permissivity. In 1999 the differences become sharper. On one hand, to the two
values already mentioned, authority and religiosity are added, and on the other
hand, the support for the alternative family model and permissiveness are
added. In 2005, the split of rural youngsters from urban youngsters in what
concerns the type of value identification is maintained on the conservatism
dimension referring to authority and religiosity, and it becomes total on the
openness to change dimension.
From a diachronic point of view (the last six columns of Table 2), in rural
environments as well as in urban ones, the identification with the conservative
values becomes more powerful in time or it remains at the same levels as in 1993.
On the openness to change dimension the situation is somehow reversed, the
identification tending to diminish or to remain the same as in 1993.
If we look at the relation rural-urban dynamically, we could say that
rural youngsters identify more intensively with conservative values, while urban
youngsters identify especially with values regarding the openness to change.
Metaphorically speaking we could imagine a train that runs, let’s say, from the
West to the East (towards conservatism). On the way, some youngsters get off
the train (those who have surpassed the age interval of 18-35 years), some
others get in (those that are 18 years old). Those that remain on the train and
those that get in, make the crowded areas in the train move to its margins. The
change is not chaotic, but indicates a polarization: youngsters from rural areas
start moving rather to the beginning of the train (towards conservatism), while
those from the urban areas seem to rather prefer the last wagons of the train.
Further, I will pass to the presentation of the results of the analyses
made on categories of youngsters organized depending on the sex variable.
Table 3 below synthesizes these results.

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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people
Table 3. Youngsters’ value identifications depending on gender
Comparison Feminine versus
Masculine Feminine
masculine
1999 2005 2005 1999 2005 2005
1993 1999 2005 versus versus versus versus versus versus
Value orientations 1993 1999 1993 1993 1999 1993
Authority ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ È ∼ ∼ È
Religiosity ∼ È ∼ È ∼ È È ∼ È
Gender inequity Ê ∼ Ê ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Intolerance ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Unegalitarian society model ∼ ∼ ∼ Ê È Ê Ê È Ê
Permissiveness ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ Ê ∼ ∼ ∼
Alternative family model ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ Ê ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Equity ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼ ∼
Notes:
1. The signs È or Ê reflect a significantly positive difference, respectively a significantly negative difference (p≤0,05) of the
identification with the values enumerated in comparison with the year and the residence environment, the reference is made;
2. The sign ~ indicates the fact that there are no differences of identification among residential environments and there are no
significant changes in comparison with the years and the reference years (the results are based on the ANOVA-type
analysis; for the authority and inequality model the used test is Bonferron and for all the others is Tamhane).
Example of interpreting:
The first cell in the right indicates the fact that the preference for authority increases significantly among women in 2005 and
1993.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Although globally it seems that gender does not make evident any
difference between women and men on the dimension regarding the openness to
change, and only a few differences on the conservative dimension there are a
group of value orientations that attract attention to them; that is religiosity,
authority, and gender inequality. Synchronically analyzed, it is seen that women
are more religious in 1999 and more oriented towards gender equality than men
were in 1993 and 2005. Dynamically it can be seen that in 1999 and 2005
women are more religious and identify especially with the authority in
comparison with the men` s situation and to their own situation in the precedent
years.
The analyses (ANOVA) made on age categories (18-23, 24-29, 30-35)
did not reveal significant differences in the value identifications either
synchronically or diachronically.

Conclusions
The main question I have followed throughout the text was: „What is
the identity profile of Romanian young people, in the axiological level?” In
search of the answer I started from the idea of a theoretical definition of identity
and the search for its analysis methodology. I showed that the best method of
study is that of collective identifications. In a strict matter of speaking, the
identitary profile was not investigated in its entirety, but only its axiological
dimension. Thus, I was trying to show how these identifications are structured
and what their dynamics are during the 1993-2005 period of time. I discovered,
as was expected based on the contemporary theories of social axiology, that the
values to which the youngsters adhere to are systematically grouped into two
clusters: one indicating openness to change and the other showing a
conservative attitude. The values that have been identified as belonging to the
first cluster are: support for alternative family models, equity, permissiveness
and a liberal social model, whereas the ones belonging to the second cluster are:
religiosity, the idea of authority, intolerance and support for gender inequality.
The synchronic analysis, in which I built a hierarchy based on items of
the S. Schwartz model, has showed that in 2005, the top of youngsters’
preferences tends to be more conservative. In other words, I have noticed that
young people identify more with values labeled as conservatory (tradition,
conformity, security) rather than with those of openness to change (autonomy
and stimulation).
After a diachronic analysis of identifications with these categories of
values, I realized that, generally speaking, a relatively constant growth can be
observed (from 1993 to 1999 and from 1999 to 2005) in support of conservative
values and a decrease in values related to openness to change. While for the
differentiation between men and women, the collective-categorical interplay
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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

does not show great differences, for the rural-urban it shows a tendency of
differentiation that is more and more pronounced concerning identifications, as
young people in the rural area become significantly more conservative and less
open to change over time.
Thus, in the 1993-2005 dynamic, in the axiological profile of young
people, the most significant characteristic that seems to be revealed along with
the passage of time is the “conservative” trait (in which values like religiosity
and authority play the main role) while the characteristic of “openness to
change” is less pronounced and seems to keep becoming so.
Although I did not intend to analyze all of the causes that determine
these tendencies in the value identifications of young people, it is reasonable to
assume that they are part of the more general picture of social changes that the
Romanian society is experiencing20. If the post-revolutionary “euphoria” from
the beginning of the 90s has left a strong mark on youngsters’ options towards
change and liberalism, the reign of the transition that brought with it a growth in
the social risks, a diminishing of perspectives, a decline in trust and hope and a
heightening of pessimism (Rusu, & Bălăşoiu, 2005) makes these options
weaker. It is still expected that, on an average term, as the Romanian society
becomes more stable and modern, more integrated in the European complex, as
the culture of mistrust (Sztompka, 1996, 1998) will vanish, young people
(especially those in the urban areas) will reorient themselves and will identify
more with the values that belong to the dimensions of openness, change and
social liberalism.

20
For details concerning these changes related to various problems discussed by
Romanian authors from different perspectives, see Sandu (1999); Mărginean (1999);
Zamfir (1999); Bădescu (2002); Iluţ (2004) Voicu (2005a, 2005b); Voicu (2005);
Comşa (2006); Vlăsceau (2007) etc.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Annex
Part A – The used indexes in cluster and ANOVA analysis and in their way of construction
1. RELIGIOSITY
The steps in the construction process of the index are as it follows:

Step 1. The calculation of the index of God’s importance and religion:


Communalities Saturations

Variables 1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005


Believes in God 0,453 0,374 0,305 0,673 0,612 0,552
Religion is important 0,430 0,295 0,312 0,656 0,543 0,558
God is important 0,853 0,971 0, 790 0,923 0,985 0,889
Explained variation 58% 55% 47%
KMO 0,664 0,609 0,625
Correlation* with the Index ** “Religion is
0,997 0,984 1,000
important”
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The used indexes are: Will you please tell us how important is religion in your life? (4
point scale); Do you believe in God? (Yes/No); How important is God in your life? (10
points scale). The cases of a refusal to the answer (I will not answer) and in the case of
indecision (I do not know) were treated as missing values.

Step 2. The computation of the index of Christian ethos


Communalities Saturations

Variables 1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005


I believe in the existence of … life after
0,568 0,506 0,508 0,754 0,711 0,713
death
I believe in the existence of … Hell 0,718 0,820 0,956 0,847 0,905 0,978
I believe in the existence of … Heaven 0,875 0,881 0,806 0,935 0,939 0,898
I believe in the existence of … Sin 0,294 0,337 0,359 0,542 0,580 0,599
The explained variation 61% 54% 66%
KMO 0,771 0,774 0,771
The correlation* with the Index** 0,987 1,000
0,984
Christian ethos
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The four analyzed items are dichotomist (the possible answers are Yes/No). The cases
of a refusal to answer (I will not answer that) and in the case of indecision (I do not
know) were treated as missing values.

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Step 3. The calculation of the index of the importance of the Church on the
account of the “universal” explanations it gives
Communalities Saturations
1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005
Variables
The Church offers answers to moral
0,389 0,550 0,542 0,624 0,742 0,736
problems
The Church offers answers to the problems
0,756 0,747 0,804 0,869 0,864 0,897
of family life
The Church offers answers to social
0,257 0,274 0,395 0,507 0,523 0,629
problems
The explained variation 47% 52% 58%
KMO 0,627 0,643 0,673
The correlation* with the Index** Religion is
0,947 0,968 1,000
important
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The four analyzed items are dichotomist (the possible answers are Yes/No). The cases
of a refusal to answer (I will not answer) and in the case of indecision (I do not know)
were treated as missing values.

Step 4. The calculation of the index of Religiosity


Communalities Saturations

1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005


Variables
Index – the Church, a Universal solution 0,276 0,368 229 0,525 0,607 0,479
Index – Christian ethos 0,465 0,412 0,332 0,682 0,642 0,576
Index – religion is important 0,691 0,786 0,561 0,831 0,887 0,749
the self perception of religiosity 0,435 0,399 0,359 0,660 0,632 0,599
religious behavior 0,421 0,312 0,267 0,649 0,559 0,517
The explained variation 46% 46% 35%
KMO 0, 817 0, 768 0, 765
The correlation* with the Index** of
0,985 0,995 1,000
Religiosity
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The self-perception of religiosity is measured based on answers to the question:
Independent of the fact that you go to Church or not, would you say you are: a
religious/non religious person/an atheist (in the analysis, the answers were transformed
into dummy variables where religious person received the value of 1 and the answers
non-religious person and atheist were given the value of 0). Religious behavior is
decided by the answer to the question: Do you take some moments of prayer, meditation
or contemplation or something like that? (with the possible answers of Yes/No). The
cases of a refusal to answer (I will not answer) and in the case of indecision (I do not
know) were treated as missing values.

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

2. PERMISIVITY
Variables Communalities Saturations
1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005
how justified is homosexuality 0,283 0,403 0,461 0,532 0,635 0,679
how justified is prostitution 0,383 0,383 0,586 0,619 0,619 0,766
how justified is abortion 0,546 0,519 0,565 0,739 0,720 0,751
how justified is divorce 0,486 0,657 0,583 0,697 0,810 0,763
how justified is euthanasia 0,255 0,337 0,453 0,505 0,580 0,673
The explained variation 39% 46% 53%
KMO 0, 676 0, 803 0, 771
The correlation* with the Index** of
0,990 0,989 1,000
Permisivity
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The answers to the used items were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means not
at all justified and 10 means totally justified. The cases of a refusal to answer (I will not
answer) and in the case of indecision (I do not know) were treated as missing values.

3. INTOLERANCE
Communalities Saturations

Variables 1993 1999 2005 1993 1999 2005

does not accept drug addicts as neighbors 0,650 0,689 0,577 0,806 0,830 0,760

does not accept homosexuals as neighbors 0,480 0,509 0,267 0,693 0,713 0,516

does not accept heavy drinkers as neighbors 0,308 0,315 0,439 0,555 0,562 0,662
The explained variation 48% 50% 43%
KMO 0,657 0,659 0,644
The correlation* with the Index** of
0,984 0,983 1,000
Intolerance
Note: * All of the correlations are significant for p=0,000
**The index is computed based on the saturation of the 2005 factor.
The used method of extraction: Principal Axis Factoring.
The three analyzed items are dichotomist (the possible answers are
Mentioned/Unmentioned). The cases of a refusal to answer (I will not answer) and in
the case of indecision (I do not know) were treated as missing values.

The name of the index is given by the fact that most of the young
people (as the following table shows) are against the acceptance of these
categories of individuals as their neighbors.

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Identity and axiological profile: value identifications for Romanian young people

1993 1999 2005


Not Not Not
Accepted Accepted Accepted
accepted accepted accepted
Drug addicts 69% 31% 66% 34% 73% 27%
Homosexuals 67% 33% 56% 44% 52% 48%
Heavy drinkers 74% 26% 75% 25% 66% 34%

4. AUTHORITY
The individuals in the sample group were asked to specify which are
the most important things children could learn at home. A maximum of five
choices were allowed, from a list including among others: Independence,
Feeling of responsibility, Imagination, Perseverance, Hard work, Thrift, saving
money and things, Religious faith and Obedience. Each person received a point if
choosing any of the four attributes that were not underlined and were deducted a
point if choosing any of the first four attributes (the underlined ones).

5. ALTERNATIVE FAMILY MODEL


This orientation is measured based on the acceptance of the idea that
women can be successful single parents. The used question was: if a woman
wants to have a child as a single parent, but she doesn’t want to have a stable
relationship with a man, would you approve or disapprove that she should have
the child? The possible answers were: I approve, I disapprove and it depends.
The variable was later made dichotomist as it follows: 1 = I approve, 0 = I
disapprove; it depends answers as well as indecision and the refusal to answer
were considered missing values.
More than half of the respondents (74% in 1993, 75% in 1999,
respectively 62% in 2005) declare that they agree with the idea that a woman
can raise her child alone, outside of a traditional family model.

6. GENDER INEQUITY (in the area of work)


This orientation is measured based on the approval/disapproval of the
affirmation: “When jobs are scarce…men should have more right to a job than
women” (scale of 3 points). The variable was then encoded to the dichotomist 1
= I agree, 0 = I disagree; it does not matter answers as well as indecision and
the refusal to answer were considered missing values.
More than half of the respondents (61% in 1993, 61% in 1999,
respectively 61% in 2005) are against gender equality in the workplace.

7. EQUITY (in the workplace)


This is measured based on the accord with the difference in the wages
of two individuals with the same organizational status, but of different role
performances. The used question is: Imagine two secretaries of the same age,

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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

doing practically the same job. One finds out the other earns much more than
she does. Still, the better paid secretary is faster, more efficient and more
reliable in her job. In your opinion is it fair or not that a secretary earn more
than the other? (Possible answers: fair/unfair)

8. THE MODEL OF EGALITARIAN/LIBERAL SOCIETY


This is measured based on the accord with the idea of equality of
income. The used question is: What is your opinion related to the following
affirmations, using a scale of 1 to 10, 1 meaning that you agree entirely with the
affirmation in the left and 10 meaning that you agree entirely with the
affirmation in the right. You may, of course chose any intermediary number to
nuance your response:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Incomes should be made more equal There should be larger income differences
as incentives for individual effort

PART B – The items in the Schwartz scale


The subjects were asked to answer the following set of questions:
To what extent do you act like to a person for whom the following The indicator used
are important... in the text
tradition is important, to follow the customs handed down by
tradition
one’s religion or family.
living in secure surroundings; to avoid anything that might be
security
dangerous.
to always behave as we should; to avoid doing anything
conformity
people would say is wrong
to think up new ideas and be creative; to do things one’s own
autonomy
way;
adventure and taking risks; to have an exciting life. stimulation
to be rich; to have a lot of money and expensive things. power
to have a good time; to look after themselves. hedonism
to help those around them; to enjoy looking after their well-being. benevolence
to be successful; to be
self-fulfillment
recognized by other people.
to be concerned with the environment and to protect nature. universalism
The possible answers are scaled from 1 to 6, where 1 means “entirely” and 6
means “not at all”. The first 5 used items (bolded items) were included in our analysis
as well. Each item determines the measure of the subjects’ identification with an
imaginary person.

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a dynamic of value orientations in Romania:
1993-20051
BOGDAN VOICU

The radical change in the social structure, which started in 1989,


opened the question of the need to change the patterns of thinking and behaving,
as a prerequisite of the new social order. For many persons, the mere
institutional change, with its two main features – marketization and
democratization – seemed sufficient. As I showed somewhere else (B. Voicu,
2005a: 43-45), in the public space as well as that in the academic world, the
debates initially focused mainly on these two transitions, referring to the
political and the economical organization2. These two elements actually pointed
out three main changes: the political sphere concerned both the internal
reorganization – i.e. democratization – and the reorganization of the foreign
policy. The fourth domain of change became visible a little later, and included
the transformations of the social structure. Even later, at the end of the 1990s,
the transition literature started to include some more references to the changes
in value orientations3.
This chapter intends to describe the dynamics of social values within a
few key domains, with the aim to analyse if the Romanian society, as a whole,

1
Parts of this work were carried out at the European Data Laboratory for Comparative
Social Research (ZA-EUROLAB). Access to the ZA-EUROLAB was supported by the
European Community under the “Structuring the European Research Area” specific
programme Research Infrastructures Action in the 6th Framework Programme, (project
026142 RITA, ZA-EUROLAB 01-06-MV).
2
On the duality of the transition, see the article by Claudiu Tufiş about the support for
democracy and market economy, included in this volume.
3
Such approaches existed starting with the early 90s (see, for instance, Sztompka,
1993), but, as compared to the whole transitology literature, represented rather isolated
manifestations until the end of the respective decade.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

changed or not towards cultural modernity during the postcommunist period up


to the present days. I do not intend to go into a complex analysis, but only to
make a succinct presentation of the main tendencies. The general background in
which the discussion is built is that of the value modernization and post-
modernization processes. I have dedicated a short presentation to these one in
the first section of the chapter. Then I focus on certain domains (work, family,
gender, tolerance, religiosity, attitudes towards democracy etc.), discussing the
dynamics of Romanians’ value orientations after 1990 from a comparative
perspective. The other European countries are the referential. However, I avoid
the global comparison with the “European average”, which is not meaningful in
many of the analyzed areas, given the fact that the cultural diversity in the Old
Continent can be very high. I rather prefer to place Romania in relation to the
major tendencies observed in regions where more homogenous cultural patterns
can be noticed: Northern Europe, Western Europe, Southern Europe and the ex-
communist area. Sometimes, I include in the analysis all the European
countries, using graphs and maps to exemplify the differences across Europe,
and the evolution of Romania through this mosaic. Other times, being
constrained by the available data4, I compare Romania with typical societies for
these social frameworks: Sweden for the North, Italy for the South, Germany
for Continental Western Europe and Poland for the ex-communist space.
Firstly, I discuss the observed tendencies with regard to the attitudes
towards the environment, the ethos of labor, religious attitudes and the attitude
towards democracy, family, gender equality, tolerance, etc. For some of these
domains, the present volume already includes extended analysis. In these cases,
I preferred to restrain the presentation to just a few general conclusions,
focusing rather on the areas not covered in the other chapters. The order in
which I approach the domains is somewhat random, not following a particular
rule, as my preference in this respect is to present the apparently unrelated
images of the different fields of daily social reality, and in the end, to further
merge these pieces in the last section, which is dedicated to the empirical
analyses of modernity as a whole.
In this last section, I built a complex index regarding modernity and I
describe Romania’s position in Europe with relation to this synthesis index. I
also sketch some integrative explanations for the changes that I notice for each
of the analyzed domains. Additionally, I search for an answer for the question
of homogeneity in Romania, trying to identify those social groups that differ to
a large extent from the average, individualizing themselves as distinct social
entities.
In the end, I exploit some of the results of the literature dedicated to the
theme of transition, trying to speculate on the tendencies the Romanian society

4
At the time of writing, the aggregate WVS 2005-2006 data set have not yet included
all the European countries, but only a few.
262 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

may undergo on an average run, with respect to the evolution of value


orientations towards modernity, traditionalism or post-modernity.

On modernization and post-modernization


The theories of modernization and post-modernization represent the
main theoretical framework that I employ for explaining the tendencies that are
to be presented in this chapter. Far from intending to be exhaustive, I
summarize some of the features of these theories. The existing literature
abounds with syntheses and seminal woks, both with respect to the
modernization process (Sztompka, 1993; Kumar, 1999; Inglehart, 1997;
Hapfercamp and Smelser, eds., 1992; Hall, 1996, etc.), as well as for the post-
modernization one (Giddens, 1990; Beck, 1992; Kumar, 1995; Lash, 1990;
Inglehart, 1997, 2000; Beck, Giddens, Lash, 1992; etc.). In the last few years,
Romanian sociologists have also produced many works in which the theories of
modernization and post-modernization are presented (Roth, 2002; Sandu, 1996;
Vlăsceanu, 2001, 2007; B. Voicu, 1999, 2001, 2005b; Chiribucă, 2004; etc. )
In its common meaning, modernization is understood through its visible
processes and it is associated with technical progress, with industrialization and
urbanization. However, the process of social change that is presently named
modernization is much more profound. Industrialization, urbanization and the
development of infrastructure are only a few of its surface manifestations,
reflecting a more general tendency towards a rationalization of the way of life,
of thought and of the relation with a natural and social environment, about
which the social representations are beginning to be looked at as controllable.
The technological and scientific progresses are factors that have been the
catalysts of this process of rationalization. They have contributed to providing a
certain certainty to satisfying the basic needs (food, health, personal and social
security, etc.) that have freed both individuals and collectivities from these
needs, allowing them to focus more on improving the social organization, and
later (in post-modernity), on the individual development and self-achievement.
The spreading of the pragmatic usage of scientific knowledge was, in its
turn, conditioned by the presence of a culture that would allow rational, secular
approaches of the natural phenomena in the detriment of more traditionalist
explanations. The failure of Galileo Galilei or Giordano Bruno in receiving
social recognition during their lifetimes is eloquent in this sense. For many
projects that Leonardo da Vinci had, the process of going from theory to
practice came far after his time, largely not on account of lacking material or
financial resources but mostly because of the reluctance to following new paths
and to develop new ways of doing things.
Building mainly on the works of Weber (1978 [1922], 1995 [1920]),
Parsons (1964, 1971) and Inkeles (1996 [1968], 1974), social sciences have
created a relatively consensual image with regard to the meaning of
263
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

modernization. Modern societies differ from the traditional ones by the


preeminence of the rationality as compared to the traditional-religious
explanation. Traditionally, objects and facts are the way they are because that is
the “way that things are”, “this is how gods decided”, “this was the fate”,
“things are like they have always been” or because “this is what the local lord
decided”. In modernity, societies look for explanations based on rational
knowledge rather than on the supernatural explanation or random decision of an
individual or a group of individuals invested with some inherited authority.
Ascribed authority is therefore replaced by the epistemic, rational knowledge.
Voting as a manifestation of the people’s will, the development of bureaucracy
as an expert system in the administration of the city are rational ways of social
organization. To the individual level, the manifestations of modernity are
openness to change, autonomy, abandonment of the passive attitude, and
planning, and participation in city life. In opposition to the traditional patterns,
the modern individual is less normative, accepts the existence of some other
different people (with regard to ethnicity, race and, more moderately, to
lifestyle), is more willing to risk trying new things, sets up long term objectives,
renouncing to live only in the present, accepts and begins to develop
interactions outside his/her primary groups, is at least interested in the finality
of the decisional processes, if not in the way of structuring the political process
itself.
Risk is a key element of this change. Traditional societies are affected
by material incertitude: the basic needs are met with great difficulty, as the
efforts of everyday life are focused mainly on lowering this kind of uncertainty.
People and collectivities cannot afford to ask questions about the meaning of
life or their ability to obtain knowledge; they need a world that is as predictable
as it can possibly be, a world that would allow them to survive with small
resources at their disposal. With the growth of material security, individuals and
collectivities can afford to give up the safety of the traditional explanation
which fully describes the world, making a choice for an incomplete explanation,
based on rational knowledge. The migration towards the cities, as well as the
development of transport, tourism and international migration of the workforce
leads to a growth in the frequency of interactions with different individuals with
less predictable behavior, a fact that determines another growth of the
axiological uncertainty regarding the actions of the people in the immediate
social environment.

264 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Between tradition and postmodernity?
Figure 1. Social change and the evolution of risks
Axiological
uncertainty The level of “not
knowing anything”

Tolerance
diversity
Rationalization
secularization
supernatural forces
ty
ivi

on ry
igi to
ex
efl

el n a
Religion; r

f r pla
y o ex
PM

c it the
c a st in • globalization
u
pa
st r

• dev. of technology
M
Di

• increasing prosperity

• conquest of ext. markets


• dev. of technology
T • welfare services

Material
security

Note: The figure is reproduced from B. Voicu, 2005b, p. 166.

Several processes mark an additional growth of the axiological


uncertainty. Modernity is still very much related to normativeness. Science,
holding absolute truth, is a science which does not admit alternatives. However,
gradually this also starts to change. A considerable number of disciplines, led by
social sciences and medicine as well, or the more traditional exact sciences like
physics, biology or astronomy have revealed to the public the diversity in
explaining paradigms that govern them. Alternative explanations on subjects
like the growth of life on Earth, the evolution of species and the causes and
treatments of diseases, the evolution of the Cosmos and planets, etc. is today the
substance of the main magazines which popularize science.
The social acceptance of the multi-paradigmatic character of the
scientific explanation is part of a broader process of accepting diversity as a
social norm (at the beginning of the third millennium, political correctness
implies generalized tolerance) as well as reflexive analysis, permanently
questioning of any type of knowledge and the consequences of technological
progress. The debate over the consequences of the development for the
environment would not have been possible without concern for long-term
planning (that appeared in the modern period), without giving up
normativeness, and without the large growth in tolerance not only with regard to
people’s diversity, but also in different ways of living.
All of these processes have lead to a new type of social equilibrium,
labeled in several different ways: late modernity, post-modernity, post-material
society, reflexive modernity, risk society, postindustrial society, etc. This last
label – postindustrial society – derives from the new structure of the labor

265
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

market. If agriculture used to dominate the traditional society and the industry
was preponderant in the modern period, in late modernity, the technological
progress highly increases work productivity, and this, in conjunction with the
relative wealth and the extremely diversified individual needs 5, transforms the
service sector in the main employer.
Once the burden of the basic needs is eliminated, with more free time at
their disposal (due to the same high productivity, in conjunction with the life
expectancy on the rise), individuals start to be more and more motivated by the
impulse to satisfy their superior needs. The need for self-expression and self-
affirmation manifests through the pursuit of knowledge, through a higher focus
on leisure and leisure quality, through experimenting new roles and new
situations, through hedonism, etc.
Post-modernization is far from being a completely different process
than modernization. It rather represents a natural continuation of the modern
processes. Some of the tendencies seen in modernization (the growth in the
levels of tolerance, rationalization, etc) further develop in late modernity. Other
transformations are new, marking deviation from the initial path of social
change. Figure 1 symbolically suggests this.
This presentation of the processes of modernization and post-
modernization is nevertheless reductionist. The extent and the objective of this
material (the comparative description of the dynamic of values in Romania)
determines me to describe only these general tendencies, without going into
details, without mentioning different criticisms and variations of the theory.
More, the above evolutionist story is not valid as such for any society. It
broadly describes the main trajectories of European societies, particularly the
Western ones. The Eastern societies have followed similar paths, with the
syncope of the communist experiment. Communism, although a modern project
by many up of its facets and goals, has lead to a rather fake modernity or
pseudo-modernity. Sztompka (1993: 137)6 describes the respective society as a
product of the top-down modernization process, manifested however only in
certain areas of social life, and larded with many traditionalist relics, some of
which (like authoritarianism, the lack of autonomy, dependence) were imposed
by the modernization instance (the state, the communist elite) and were adorned
with symbols that, in fact, were just imitations of the Western modernity (like
the institution of voting with regards to political elections7). Social values were

5
The high productivity of work in the industrial and agriculture areas reduces the need
for workforce in these sectors. The diversification of needs is associated with a high
demand for different services (see next paragraphs), stimulating the massive
employment in the service sector.
6
For similar argumentations, see Winiecki, 1988; Voicu, 2001, 2005b; Chiribucă, 2004; etc.
7
In communist Romania for example, elections were organized every 4 years, but the
real results of the vote were never shared with the public. The official handouts always
266 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

in part modern, and in part pre-modern. The contemporary process of


transformation of the ex-communist European space has been labeled by
Sztompka as neo-modernization. The goal is to get closer to Western post-
modernity, in a kind of convergent transformation of one of the facets regarding
the multiple modernities mentioned in the introduction of this volume.
The modern-traditional opposition is the one relevant in contemporary
Romania too (Voicu, 2005b; Sandu, 1996), even though some incipient
tendencies towards a reflexive modernity are present as well (Vlăsceanu, 2007;
Voicu, 2005b).
On the other hand, the periods of social instability and those of
economic recession generate the regrouping of the value orientations towards
materialism and traditional values (Inglehart, 1997; Inglehart, Baker, 2000).
This is the case of post-communist societies, whose neo-modern transition is in
fact confronted with the refocus on traditional values.
In the sections that follow, the discussion is centered on the dynamics
of the value orientations of Romanians in a few areas of social life, between
1993 and 2005, in comparison with other European societies. The goal is purely
descriptive and the explanations do not constitute anything else but context
elements. The final objective is to describe the dynamics of Romania on the
traditional-modern cultural axis in the period beginning with the fall of the
communist regime and ending with the integration in the European Union. I
treat Romania as a whole, and only towards the end of the chapter do I discuss
some of the existing differences between social groups. The selection of the
analyzed domains was determined by the available information from the
EVS/WVS questionnaires. I briefly discuss the value orientations regarding the
protection of the environment, tolerance and normativism, work ethos, religion
and the preference for authority or autonomy, for democracy or
authoritarianism, family, gender relations, and post-materialism. The order in
which I discuss these domains is random, as they are complementary to each
other and of equal importance, relating to an extremely complex social reality.
Their selection was not random, but determined by relevance and data
availability: I preferred those domains for which comparative information is
mandatory available for Romania as well as for most of the European countries,
for at least two of the three analyzed timeframes (1990-1993, 1999-2001,
respectively 2005-2006).

indicated the expected winners. In all probability, the votes were not even counted or
centralized.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

Attitudes towards environment protection


The reflexivity of the late modernity brings an increasing interest for
the effects of human activities on the natural environment. In principle, the
industrial production brings a higher comfort level and higher quality of life for
human beings. On the other hand, industrial processes are harmful for the
environment. Their side effect is pollution, associated to the production process,
but also to the non-biodegradable waste products, a typical acquisition of the
industrial modern era. The traditional society did not produce almost any
rubbish: there were no PET bottles, no plastic bags, soda cans, tin foil, broken
plastic toys or worn out polyester clothes. Glass, paper, bricks, food waste are
more or less “natural”, in the sense that they can become, through a process of
natural degradation, a part of the natural environment from which they were
created.
The concerns regarding the protection of the environment are
completely lacking from the traditional society, which has rarely been
confronted with these risks, but at the same time has been involved in the
struggle for the survival of the human species. The modern societies have
explored the existing technical potential to the maximum to solve their needs of
security, food or comfort. Only the postmodern reflexivity brings ecological
concerns to the foreground. Today, almost everywhere in Europe, but mainly in
the Western countries, one of the dilemmas that animate the public (and
ideological) debate opposes economical growth to the need of protection for the
environment. In the last few decades, the world’s consensus over the need to
ensure the durability of the development process has been stimulated by these
kinds of concerns.
Looking at the EVS/WVS wave of 1999-2001, Romania found its place
among the European countries whose citizens were the least concerned with
environmental protection. For example, the respondents of the respective survey
were asked about their approval or disapproval of the affirmation: “I would give
part of my income if I were certain that the money would be used to prevent
environmental pollution”. The percent of Romanians who answered yes to this
question8 (44%) is similar to the percentage obtained in France, Great Britain,
Estonia, Austria and Hungary, and higher than the percentages obtained in
Germany (32%), which still was under the pressure of the need to preserve jobs
at any cost in order to sustain the price of the Eastern integration, Lithuania
(23%) – under the influences of the discussions over the closing of the Ignalina
nuclear power plant, one of the main employers for the Russian speaking
population, and Turkey (19%) – still a highly traditional country. The rest of the

8
They agreed “in a very large extent” or “in a large extent” with the question (on a scale
from 1 to 4).
268 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

European countries displayed a higher support with regard to this question, up


to 80% in the Northern countries, the ex-Yugoslav states, Holland and Greece.
The analysis of an aggregate index tapping for the support for the
environment pollution9 confirms Romania’s presence in the group of the
countries with low interest in ecological issues. One should also note that,
between 1991 and 1999, all of the European countries for which there is
available data, experienced falls in the levels of the respective index, with a
sharper decrease in the post-communist societies. It is likely that Romania (for
which there are no such data available for the 1993 wave) knew a similar
evolution. The data from the 2005 wave indicate the same tendencies: a drop of
the index values for Romania, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden, and stability in
Finland and Italy.
The decrease in support for the protection of the environment is
connected to two types of explanations. The first is related to the immediate
impact of the ecologist measures, to the closing of some polluting industrial
units, to the growth in production costs (with consequences over final prices and
the slowing of wage increases). The second one, in Romania and in the rest of
the post-communist area, is connected to economic recession and, as we have
shown, to the refocusing of values in the traditionalist direction. This process is
taking place in a society in which the attention is anyway focused on the need
for growth, for reducing the development gap that separates it from the western
societies, a society were people are mainly concerned with the satisfaction of
basic needs, a society that tends anyway to ignore any orientations towards the
higher needs.

Between tolerance and normativism


Tolerance, accepting the others, is a trait specific to post-modernity.
Knowledge leads to understanding, and alterity does not represent a risk any
more. Opposed to this, traditionalism and modernity are normative, hardly
accepting the attitudes and behaviors substantially different from those of the
majority.
The value’s surveys include a few items that allow a longitudinal
analysis in the evolution of tolerance. In the beginning of the 1990s, Romania
was one of the European countries that were characterized by a low level of

9
The index was calculated as a factor score, using the presented variable and two more
4-point scales, including the following: “I would agree to an increase in taxes if the
extra money is used to prevent environmental pollution” and “The Government has to
reduce environmental pollution but it should not cost me any money”. I have tested
(using Amos 4), the stability of the factor structure on the data from the 1990-1993,
1999-2002, 2005-2006 EVS/WVS waves.
269
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

tolerance. Like most of the ex-communist countries (except for Slovenia10 and
Poland11), in 1993, Romanians did not accept as their neighbors any of the
groups deviant from the majority norm. Alcoholics, homosexuals, drug users
were all rejected in the same degree, by three quarters of the population. People
with AIDS were also categorically rejected by two thirds of Romanians.
In most of the European countries, ethnic and religious intolerance is
lower than the intolerance for the deviant groups. In 1993, a third of Romanians
did not want a person of another race as their neighbor; this percentage was
comparable with that of the individuals who did not want immigrants or foreign
workers as their neighbors. Again, as with all the former communist countries 12,
Romania was, at the beginning of the 1990s, one of the less tolerant European
societies. The same behavior could be observed with regard to the rejection of
Jews (a third of the population did not want a Jew as a neighbor) and gypsies
(three fourths of the population rejecting them).
In comparison to 1990, in 1999, most of the European countries
displayed lower levels of intolerance (Figure 2). The same situation happened in
Romania as well, and the tendency of the decreasing of intolerance manifested
all the way to 2005. The WVS wave of 2005-2006 indicates a decrease to nearly
50% of the levels registered in 1990, with regard to people with AIDS, with the
figures reaching 33% in the present day. The levels of intolerance towards
alcoholics (66%), homosexuals (59%) and drug users (74%) are still high.
Similarly, the percentages of intolerance towards immigrants and other races
dropped to 16% and 18%. In all of these cases, the levels of intolerance
registered in 1997 and 1999 are between the values of 1993 and those of 2005.

10
Slovenia is in a special situation, due to the fact that the level of development was
higher even during the communist period, as well as to the higher interaction with the
Western world. This probably explains the substantially higher level of tolerance
registered by the 1990-1993 EVS/WVS wave.
11
For Poland, data was collected in 1990, when the Polish society was still marked by
the wave of generalized enthusiasm due to the end of the communist regime. This state
of mind may be the source of a higher level of tolerance (Grzymała-Kazłowska, 2004:
156). Bulgaria, as well as the Baltic countries, displayed in the early 90s a lower
tolerance than Romania, and a much lower one as compared to Poland.
12
The exception is Poland (see the previous note). Slovenia, still involved in the very
active events with ethnical connotations that marked the independence from
Yugoslavia, showed in 1990 high levels of ethnical and religious intolerance.
270 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?
Figure 2. Intolerance in Romania in a European context (1999, 2005) and in
dynamics (1993-2005)
7 FR

6 HU

1999-2001
2005-2006
ethnical & racial intolerance

5
RO-93
RO-99
RO-2005
4
TR

RO-93
3
BG
RU AL
RO-99
HRPL
BA
2 BE RO-2005 SK EE
GR IT SI MK LI
CZ MD
SI BY
IE FI IT N.Irl PL UA
MT
FRES FI RU
1 AT GB NL
LU LA
DK DE PTDE GB
YU
SE AD NL IC
SE
0
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
intolerance towards deviant groups
Sources: EVS/WVS 1993, 1999-2001, 2005-2006.
Note. The subjects have been asked if they would like to have as a neighbor a person from
different social groups. The intolerance index towards deviant groups sum up the number of
groups rejected as neighbors by each respondent; from the following four possible choices: heavy
drinkers, drug addicts, people who have AIDS, and homosexuals. Ethnic and racial intolerance is
related to the following two groups: individuals of a different race, respectively
immigrants/foreign workers. Each of the two indexes was later transformed so that it would vary
from 0 (maximum tolerance) to 10 (maximum intolerance).

The comparison with the rest of Europe is difficult to make for 2005,
because at the moment when this material was written, it was available data
only for a few countries. Figure 2 allows for the observation of the same gap in

271
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

relation to Western Europe13, but also of the similarity with the evolution of
Poland between 1999 and 2005. Additionally, if Romania and Poland register
significant growths of tolerance between 1999 and 2005, the Western countries
tend to stagnate at the same values as in 1999, while societies like Holland,
Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Great Britain become slightly less tolerant
towards the deviant groups.
The intolerance towards gypsies, although in a continuous decrease in
the post-communist period14, is still high: in 2005, 48% of the Romanian
population did not want gipsy neighbors. This percentage is close to that
registered in Slovenia (39%) and far lower than the one in Italy (74%).
Overall, in Romania, the postcommunist period marked an increase of
tolerance towards the others. Normativism is still dominant, but interactions
with the other life styles and diversity increased the knowledge that the average
Romanian has about the alterity, and facilitates a better understanding and
acceptance. However, intolerance remains high as compared to most of the
Western societies.

Work ethos
For the communist regimes, work was the central declarative value.
People got their wealth from work, and the complete occupation of the
workforce was an essential goal of these regimes. In Romania, people did not
have only the right, but also the duty to work.
The right to work is more of a modern conceptual product. In the
primitive societies, not working was equivalent to not surviving. The existence
of the individual, of the collective and, in the end, of the human species, was
conditioned by the participation of all in the productive activities, the only ones
that brought food and minimal security in the face of nature’s challenges.
Only in certain stages of modernity, characterized by unemployment
and apparent supra-population, the right to work became an element that took a
prominent place in the public debate, nowadays being guaranteed to all citizens.
The abundance of jobs was over. More than this, the work of the individual was
no longer essential for the survival of the rest. On the other hand, normativism
implied an equalitarian conception and the need that each individual participate
in the workforce. People were represented as identical beings, with needs and
pleasures that could not be anything else but identical, so that all had to work in
the same degree, so that they would not differ from the rest.

13
The violent ethnic incidents of 2005-2006 make France an atypical case from this
point of view.
14
See M.Voicu, 2007.
272 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

Gradually, the acceptance of different lifestyles as ways of expression


of the individual personality has led to different conceptions of work. The
technologic progress, which led to an always increasing work productivity, has
allowed a decrease in the time dedicated to work. The postmodern emphasis on
self-expression contributes to a mix of value orientations that gave work a
smaller place in the time budget, as compared to the past.

Table 1. Attitudes towards work in Romania and a few other European countries
Romania Poland Italy Germany Sweden

% „approval”* 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005
To fully develop your talents, you need
71% 75% 91% 87% 91% 87% 72% 61% 50% 40%
to have a job

It is humiliating to receive money


63% 59% 61% 58% 61% 58% 66% 58% 39% 31%
without having to work for it

People who don’t work turn lazy 78% 80% 76% 74% 76% 74% 74% 72% 36% 39%

Work is a duty towards society 74% 66% 71% 66% 71% 66% 66% 68% 58% 61%

Work should always come first, even if


77% 72% 61% 59% 61% 59% 49% 47% 29% 36%
it means less spare time

Sources: EVS/WVS 1999-2001, 2005-2006. * Each of the five items are accepted
answers on a 5-point scale, expressing the agreement with the given affirmation. The
figures in the table indicate, for each country, the percentages of those persons who
declared that they “agree strongly” or “agree” to the respective affirmation.

The data reflects these tendencies. Table 1 suggests that work is more
important in countries which have a lower economic output than those societies
which are more traditionalist from a cultural perspective. Romania, Poland and
Italy are in a visible contrast with Sweden. For these countries, particularly for
Romania, work is a given without which life cannot be imagined. The position
of Italy indicates the fact that the communist tradition is not necessary the one
which determines this attitude in Romania and Poland. A more traditional
cultural pattern might be the explanation for the higher support for the salience
of work.
An index of work ethos15, synthetically exploiting the information from
Table 1, shows that most of the European societies experienced relative
stability with regard to work ethos. The index displays are at similar levels in

15
The index is built as a factor score, based on the five items from Table 1. Indecision
and the refusal to answer (“don’t know” and “no answer”) were recoded as mid-scale.
The stability of the factor structure has been tested using Structral Equation Modeling.
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The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

1999 and 2005, and ordering the countries according to the respective values is
likely to lead to similar rankings for the two timeframes. In 1999, across
Europe, only in Turkey did the people give work more importance that in
Romania16, while a few other societies (Albany, Bulgaria, Hungary, Macedonia
and Poland) were similar to the Romanian space. The Mediterranean countries,
as well as the ex-soviet ones, displayed average levels, while in the West and
North, the place of work was not as central. In 2005, all of the European
countries for which there was available data17, including Poland, registered a
significantly lower level of work ethos than Romania.
Traditionalism is one of the possible explanations for the high
Romanian attachment toward work. One should also notice that this also reflects
in the behaviors: data from 2003 shows that across the EU member or candidate
states, except for Turkey, considering those people who had a job, the
Romanians were working the highest number of hours per week (about 50), at
more than 10 hours per week more than to the EU average (Voicu, 2006b).

Religiosity
One of the chapters included in this book discusses in great detail the
salience of religious belief in Romania. Mălina Voicu, the author of the chapter,
makes the argument that Romanians are some of the most religious Europeans,
and that their religious belief grew significantly between 1993 and 1999, and
since then has been somewhat constant. I will not reiterate this data here, but I
will mention three anecdotes, all connected to the religious practice where
Romania apparently finds an average value in comparison to the rest of the
European countries.
In February 2007, there was a meeting of the main EVS investigators of
each European country, in Sibiu. One of the present Dutch sociologists was very
surprised by the very high number of the churches in the city.
Only a short time before, I was witness to a discussion among some of
my students, about the religiosity of their generation. One of the participants, a
young woman, defined herself and acted as being not so religious in comparison
with the rest. Accidentally, it happened that later I drove her home and I noticed
that, when we passed by a church, she crossed herself. This gesture has
reawakened an older observation in me: I have never visited a country where
people would cross themselves when passing by a church as often as in
Romania.

16
All the significance tests of this chapter considers p≤0,05.
17
Mentioned in the introduction of this volume: Romania, Italy, Poland, France,
Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Andorra, and Russia.
274 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

Finally, after visiting Malta for a couple of weeks, I noticed the


presence, in all public transportation (bus, boat, etc.), at least one religious icon
or crucifix. I later realized that, in Romania as well, a religious icon can be
found in these vehicles, around the driver seat, which is used as a sort of private
area within the public space of the bus18. More than this, as much as I have
noticed, in Romania, the houses that do not display any kind of religious icon
are extremely rare. A search over the complex world of Internet may provide
other hints of the Romanian religious practice. People may share pictures using
the peer-to-peer networks over the Internet. I have searched through such
pictures, depicting interiors, using the Romanian DC++ servers, were most of
the users are Romanians. In almost all the sets of the photos I was able to locate
at least a religious icon displayed on the walls or on the furniture. This means
that such symbols are to be found in almost all the dwellings from which I was
able to see pictures using at random this particular type of Internet sharing.
One should also note that these dwellings are not selected at random. In
order to work efficiently, the DC++ networks require broadband internet access,
which has higher transfer rates, but is more expensive. People who can afford
and have access to broadband connection, usually have a higher education, and
better incomes. This is the category which is likely to be more secular in beliefs
and religious practices than the rest of the population. Considering that almost
all households from this more secular status group display religious icons on
their walls, it is likely that the same happens when considering the houses where
more religious people live.
The three indicators – a high number of churches, crossing when
passing a church, and the high concentration of religious icons – are not
measured through the usual public opinion surveys. They are not the result of
systematic observations, but converge with the survey data to indicate a
traditional level of religiosity, this time converted in a type of religious practice,
which might be at least as important as the standard measurement like the
frequency of going to church, the usage of talismans, etc.

Traditional order or autonomy?


In the initial section of this chapter, I argued that modernity, and
particularly late modernity, are linked to a growth in the autonomy of the
individual, and to the renouncing to authoritarianism. Two types of indicators
tapping for orientation towards authoritarianism can be computed in all of the
EVS/WVS waves. The first one is related to the opinions about what children
should learn in the family. If one desires that the main attributes to be learned

18
Until recently, each bus driver has been assigned to only one car and each bus was
assigned to maximum of two drivers.
275
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective

are independence, responsibility, imagination and perseverance, this indicates a


value orientation towards autonomy and independence. At the opposite pole
there is the preference towards the learning of religious faith, obedience, thrift
and hard working19.
The second index may be computed starting from the expectations that
people do have when looking toward the future. These are rather hopes and
reflect the current values of the respective individuals. If, for in the near future,
one expects changes that bring more emphasis on family life and “greater
respect for authority” this indicates a high probability for the respective
respondent to consider the traditional order as a central element of the social
structure. The respective expectations are manifestations of the current latent
orientations towards the reduction of individual autonomy in favor of the
traditional social control.

Table 2. Qualities which children can be encouraged to learn at home, considered


important by the Romanian EVS/WVS samples in 1993, 1999, and, respectively,
2005
1993 1999 2005
Hard work 71% 82% 83%
Religious faith 43% 59% 63%
Thrift 37% 31% 53%
Obedience 19% 19% 17%
Imagination 17% 14% 18%
Independence 24% 30% 29%
Determination, perseverance 40% 19% 30%
Feeling of responsibility 56% 62% 69%
Source: EVS/WVS. Note: The figures represent the percentages of individuals who
indicated the respective quality as being important, out of the total sample for the
respective year.

For Romania, the 1993 EVS/WVS wave did not included items related
to expectations for the future. However, the questions regarding the main
qualities which children can be encouraged to learn at home are available and
indicate a society that is significantly less traditionalist than Poland or Malta
and similar to Hungary, Northern Ireland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia and
Turkey. All the other European societies are significantly less traditionalist.
Hard working and religious faith were, in 1993, close to those of perseverance

19
See Hagenaars and others, 2003 for a similar index, labeled in the same way. A
detailed analysis of the parental values of socialization, starting with the same set of
items, is proposed by Paula Tufiş in this book.
276 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

and responsibility, whereas in 2005 they become prevalent. This is immediately


reflected in the international comparisons as well: in 1999 only Poland, Turkey
and Portugal are as traditionalist as Romania, considering the parental values; in
2005, all of the countries for the which data is available (including Poland) are
significantly less traditionalist than Romania (see Figure 3). In fact, looking at
the 1999 data, Romania remains at the same levels registered in 1999 too,
whereas in Poland, for instance, the orientation towards authoritarianism
diminishes in favor of the orientation towards autonomy.
With regard to the expectations from the future, the orientation towards
order slightly decreases from 1999 to 2005. In 1999, on this second
authoritarianism scale, Romania was one of the most traditionalist European
countries. Only Malta surpassed it, while Ireland, Portugal and Turkey had
about the same levels. In 2005, the data show two Western societies, France and
Great Britain, to be significantly more than Romania in search of the increase of
the traditional-type order (see Figure 3).
Considering the absolute numbers, Romania remains one of the few
European countries that considers that the basis of education for children should
consist rather from elements related to order and work than to creativity and
independence (see the vertical axis on the graph). On the other hand, with
regard to the expectations for the future, all of the analyzed societies except
Sweden seem to wish to return to some of the more traditional order values.
This tendency is more salient in the case of the ex-communist countries and
some Western countries which, like France, have experienced a social
integration crises.
Analyzing the dynamics of the two indexes reveals rather opposite
trends across Europe. For both abovementioned dimensions, between 1990 and
1999, as well as between 1999 and 2005, the ex-communist countries had the
tendency to weaken the orientations towards the traditional order, moving in the
direction of autonomy. However, some of the Western countries display
different patterns. Most of the societies continued the process of strengthening
the value orientations that put an emphasis on autonomy as a main element in
the education of new generations. Only few societies (Germany, France,
Finland, Holland and Belgium) display a different trend, as they have
experienced in the 1990-1999 period a growth in latent orientations towards
authoritarianism. For the 1999-2005 timeframe, among the countries for which
data is available, Finland, France and Holland have continued the respective
tendency of increasing authoritarianism against autonomy, while Great Britain
and Sweden joined the same pattern, Italy does not display any significant
change, while Germany, probably by solving the problem of Eastern
immigration, experiences changes towards autonomy.

277
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 3. Value orientations towards authoritarianism in Romania and in Europe
(1999, 2005)

Sources: EVS/WVS 1999-2001, 2005-2006.


Note. „Children should learn rather authority than autonomy”: the interviewed subjects
were asked to choose which five “qualities which children can be encouraged to learn at
home” are most important: hard work, obedience, religious faith, thrift, tolerance and
respect for others, uunselfishness, perseverance, feelings of responsibility, imagination
or independence. The index scores one point for each of the first 4 and decreases one
point for each of the last 4. The factor analysis confirms the validity of the index.

„Expects more emphasis on family and a greater respect for authority”: the summative
index adds a point for each positive opinion towards of the two variables describing
“various changes in our way of life that might take place in the near future”: “more
emphasis on family” and “greater respect for authority”

Both indexes were transformed in this graphic so that they would vary from 0 to 10.

278 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Between tradition and postmodernity?

All these tendencies, contradictory at first sight, draw the image of a


changing world in search of a new social equilibrium. Changing the orientation
towards autonomy tends to modify its meaning when societies are confronted
with additional tensions (given, for example, from the need to integrate
immigrants) and seems to become stable where there is economic growth.

Democracy of authoritarianism?
The same discussion around authoritarianism is common for the latent
orientations towards the type of organizing society considered as being the best.
One’s position on the democracy-authoritarianism axis is directly linked to the
opposition between modernity and traditionalism. Modernity brought a social
organization that wanted to be rational, where societies are ruled by everyone’s
participation, most often by voting on both the legislative and executive
decisions. At the opposite side, the authoritarian leadership of a single person,
of military or technocratic instances20 is a way of replacing the democratic
principle of representation with the holding of power by a person or a group of
persons. These kinds of alternatives constitute traditional ways of organizing the
society.
In a chapter dedicated to democratic orientations, included in this
current book, Claudiu Tufiş discusses in detail the undoubted preference of
Romanians for democracy, stronger and stronger since 1993 until the present
day. A nuance has to be noticed: the meaning of democracy may vary.
Romania is still one of the few European societies in which the model
of an authoritarian leader “who does not have to bother with parliament and
elections” receives the approval of the majority (see Table 3). Even if it does
not gather such great support, a military regime would have far more partisans
in Romania than in most of the other European countries. Also, the governments
made of “experts” are highly supported as well as in most of the ex-communist
countries.

20
The governments of “experts” contain, in essence, a rational attitude, induced by a
division of labor that considers the specialization of jobs and professions. The
individuals who are specialized to express opinions about the development would be, in
this context, entitled to lead the society. But this invalidates another characteristic of the
democratic rationality, referring the legitimating of the political decisions through the
vote of the majority, which has to be convinced of the rationality of each of the political
decisions and has to participate in the consultation process. Implicitly, the technocratic
rule is an authoritarian one, not fully considering the individual freedoms and
autonomy.
279
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Table 3: Attitudes regarding the political organization in Romania and in other
European countries: 1999-2005
% subjects who answered that the Romania Poland Italy Germany Sweden
following ways of governing a country
are 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005 1999 2005
”very good” or “ fairly good”*
Having a strong leader who does not
have to bother with parliament and 57% 66% 20% 27% 15% 14% 15% 13% 21% 18%
elections
Having experts, not government, make
decisions according to what they think is 74% 60% 77% 73% 46% 44% 50% 45% 39% 35%
best for the country

Having the army rule the country 23% 17% 15% 19% 4% 6% 2% 3% 7% 5%

Having a democratic political system 75% 83% 73% 73% 92% 92% 91% 92% 95% 97%

Data source: EVS/WVS 1999-2001, 2005-2007. * The exact question was: “I’m going
to describe various types of political systems and ask what you think about each as a
way of governing this country. For each one, would you say it is a very good, fairly
good, fairly bad or very bad way of governing this country?”

I have computed an aggregate index of the orientation towards


democracy21, taking into account the answers to all the four questions in table 3.
It indicates that, in comparison with almost all the European countries, in 1999,
Romanians were significantly more supportive for the authoritarian alternatives.
Moldavia, Macedonia and Turkey showed similar levels, while the other
societies displayed a significantly higher support for democracy. The same
index, when calculated for the countries available in the 2005-2007 WVS wave,
places Romania at the same level as in 1999.

Family, marriage and gender relations


In another chapter of this book, Raluca Popescu shows that a large majority
of the Romanian society considers family to be “very important”. There are no
significant changes to be recorded in the three considered EVS/WVS waves: both
in 1993, 1999, and 2005, about 85% of Romanians considered that family is “very
important”. This places Romanians around the European average, most of the other
European societies displaying similar scores.
All over Europe, only a minority of citizens believe that marriage is an
outdated practice. Romanians show no exception. Only 8% agreed with this

21
The index is calculated as a factor score, based on the original variables, with the
indecision (‘Don’t know’) and missing values (not answering) being recoded into the
scale mid-point. The stability of the factor structure in 2005 compared to 1999 has been
tested using SEM (Amos).
280 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008
Between tradition and postmodernity?

statement in 1993, 11% in 1999 and 14% in 2005. The trend is similar to that of
Europe, with more and more Europeans, especially among the Western ones,
people seeing marriage as an institution from the past. It has to be noticed that,
in many other societies, in this respect, as in most of the above described ones,
the traditionalist orientations are less present than in Romania. For instance, in
1999, in France, Belgium and Luxembourg, the percentage of those who
defined marriage as outdated was as high as a third of the population (the
highest among the considered European countries).
The tendency of the European societies is to maintain family as a very
important, if not essential element of the social structure. Its form seems to be
undergoing a changing process, and marriage, as a founding event, slightly
diminishes its role. This implies only a reserved attitude towards formalizing it
in front of a representative of a public authority or a priest, which is considered
less and less necessary. In this static image, Romania finds a place rather in the
more conservative half of the European countries. However, the cross-European
variation in this respect is relatively small, as compared to the other dimensions
that are being analyzed in this chapter.
There is a domain of social life, that is traditionally linked to the
structure of family life, and which values seem to show a more pronounced
dynamic. This is the way of structuring the gender relations. Some analysis of
the values in this domain (M. Voicu, 2004; Voicu & Voicu, 2002) shows that in
1999, Romania shared a common pattern with the other ex-communist
countries: The presence of women in the marketplace was a natural reality, with
the value orientations of the population supporting it at the same levels as in the
North of the continent (less than in Sweden, but more than in Finland or
Denmark) and significantly more than in the Western societies. On the other
hand, gender equality inside the household was supported in 1999 by less
Romanians than in most of the Western, Northern, Southern and even Eastern
countries: women were, to a large extent, the only ones in charge of the
household duties. Other analyses (B.Voicu, 2006; Voicu, Voicu, Strapkova,
2006), this time referring to behaviors and not to values, allow some nuances:
Romania shows one of the more equalitarian models in Europe in relation to the
time spent by each gender doing domestic work, with the exception of raising
children, which is, almost exclusively a women’s responsibility.
In all of the three reference waves (1993, 1999, and 2005), the
EVS/WVS data allow observing the evolution over time of only two types of
values: if women should be part of the workforce22, and to what extend should
the labor market be equally open to men and women23.

22
Measured through a single item, namely the disapproval with the following statement:
“Being a housewife is just as fulfilling as working for pay”. The possible answers were
given on a 4 point scale: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree.
23
The orientation towards that particular value is tested through a single item as well:
“When jobs are scarce, men have more right to a job than women”, accepting the
answers: “Agree”, “Disagree”, “Neither”.
281
The Values of Romanians: 1993-2006. A sociological perspective
Figure 4. Gender values in the labor market: Romania in a European context

Sources: EVS/WVS 1990-1993, 1999-2001, 2005-2006. On the horizontal axes is


represented the percentage of those who disagree with the statement “When jobs are
scarce, men have more right to a job than women”. The vertical axe displays the percent
of those who disagree with the statement “Being a housewife is just as fulfilling as
working for pay”.

Compared to other societies, the Romanian citizens strongly support the


presence of women in the labor market in all of the three considered moments:
1990-1993, 1999-2000 and 2005-2006. There are no differences in the support
levels registered in 1993 and 1999, as half of the sample group answers in favor
of women participation to the paid workforce. In 2005, this figure grows

282 corectura 2 28 iulie 2008


Between tradition and postmodernity?

significantly to 65%, far superior to all of the societies for which the data is
available (Figure 4). Three factors probably contribute to the explanation of
these phenomena. One is in close connection with work ethos, work being one
of the central values of the traditionalist society, as we have already made the
argument in one of the preceding sections. The second explanation may find its
source in poverty: to reach a minimal living standard, only one salary is not
enough. The third factor is related to the ideology of equality in the workplace,
which was intensely promoted during communism and adopted as a powerful
value orientation.
With respect to the second dimension, things are different. Romania is
constantly placed among the traditionalist countries when looking at the
equality between men and women: if there are only a small number of jobs, men
should get an advantage. This does not affect the values of support for the
presence of women in the labor market, but, as a consequence, jobs with higher
responsibility must be occupied by men24. Such an explanation is consistent
with the higher responsibilities that Romanians confer to women in what
concerns the process of child care and the raising of children. The direct
consequence over family is, in fact, representing it as a hierarchical unit, in
which the man is the one who decides25 everything.

Post-materialism – at the end of the tunnel?


In Romania, the discussion about post-materialism most often attracts
perplexed smiles. Both the society and the individual are concerned rather with
material safety than with beauty and self-fulfillment. Using the classical
Inglehart scale, in its shorter version26, only 8% of Romanians could be
characterized as post-materialist in 1993, 7% in 1999 and 5% in 2005. The
number of materialists and the percentage of those with mixed orientation

24
The scarcity of jobs implies the choice between committing the responsibility of<