Exploring the Basic Values Maps of West and East Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland – Findings and Explanations From a Research of Personal Advertisements

  • Abstract:

    The content analysis of personal ads from West and East Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland allowed the ascertainment of basic values and attitudes towards life and partnership. These values and attitudes represented in the personals enabled us to reconstruct for each of the examined cultures a particular concept of life and partnership. After describing and comparing these concepts and underlying cultural values we tried to find reasons for their specific appearance. We intended to find out, why there is in a culture a particular value-formation and no other.

    According to Ronald Inglehart (1990, Inglehart and Welzel 2007) depend the dominant values in a society on its level of prosperity on the one hand and on its historical and cultural heritage and national constitutional past on the other hand. In order to check the assumptions of Inglehart, respectively to find reasons for the specific characteristic of a culture´s value formation, we related the reconstructed concepts of life and partnership a) to the material conditions under which the given society exists, and b) to its historical-philosophical traditions and its national constitutional past.

    What we found was a systematic correlation. Differences in material conditions and in cultural heritage and national past correspond to differences in the value-formations that we identified in the personal advertisements. The cross-cultural comparison showed that the more prosperous a country, the more dominate individual, to freedom and personal self-realization oriented values. The less wealthy a country is, the more dominate traditional, focused on physical and material security values. It has also been shown that the historical and cultural tradition of a country – its democratic or communist past and the importance of religion – systematically influence its value-formation.