Religious and secular value divides in Western Europe: A cross-national comparison (1981–2008)

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Abstract

Studies on cultural divisions in Western European politics typically combine two different value divides. The first divide is moral traditionalism versus progressiveness, which pits the religious and the secular against each other on matters of procreation, family and gender roles. The second one is authoritarianism versus libertarianism, which captures the opposition between the high- and low-educated about basically secular attitudes towards matters of immigration and law and order. Since the first divide is religiously inspired and the second one is basically secular, this article systematically distinguishes between them and studies whether secularization in Western Europe affects them differently. We perform multilevel regression analysis using European Values Study data (four waves, 1981–2008) for 17 Western European countries. Our findings show that the divide between the religious and the secular about moral issues declines with secularization, while the divide between the high- and low-educated about secular issues becomes wider.

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Pless, A., Tromp, P., & Houtman, D. (2021). Religious and secular value divides in Western Europe: A cross-national comparison (1981–2008). International Political Science Review. https://doi.org/10.1177/0192512121995126

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