Monday, December 31, 2012

Comparing Societal Values in the South Caucasus

Values and traditions can shape the ways in which people behave and perceive themselves and others within and across societies. Drawing on data from the 2012 Survey on Social Capital, Media, and Gender in Azerbaijan and the 2011 Survey on Social Cohesion in Armenia, this blog explores different values that, according to Azerbaijanis and Armenians, characterize contemporary Azerbaijani and Armenian societies, respectively. Based on CRRC’s surveys, people in Azerbaijan and Armenia reveal many similar values that define their societies today. In addition, the blog addresses the importance of family in Georgia, using the 2008 World Values Survey (WVS).

Ihe majority of Azerbaijanis think that having children (92%) and a family (89%) is very important in Azerbaijani society. Azerbaijanis also named respect for the Republic of Azerbaijan (84%), the elderly (83%), traditions (81%), and for the Azerbaijani language (77%) as building blocks of the society. 74% of the population places importance on education. Finally, according to the CRRC survey, respect for the history of Azerbaijan (74%) and respect for religious institutions (71%) also characterize contemporary Azerbaijani society.

Similar to Azerbaijanis, the overwhelming majority of Armenians think that having children (96%) and a family (92%) are important in Armenian society. The majority of Armenians also regard education (85%) and respect of traditions (82%) as rather important. Respect for the history of Armenia (78%), for religious institutions (77%), the Armenian language (76%), the Republic of Armenia (74%), and respect for elderly (66%) are also said to define Armenian society today.

The CRRC data show that the majority of Azerbaijanis and Armenians share similar values that they believe characterize their respective societies.  While CRRC did not conduct these particular surveys in Georgia, the 2008 WVS did ask Georgians about the importance of family in their lives. In this regard, 89% of Azerbaijanis, 92% of Armenians, and 99% of Georgians said that family plays an important role in their respective societies.

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