Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck (1961). Variations in value orientations.

Kluckhohn, F. R., & Strodtbeck, F. L. (1961). Variations in value orientations. Evanston, Illinois: Row, Peterson.

[Notes from Chapter 1, “Dominant and Variant Value Orientations”, pp 1-48]

“The concepts of relativity which are critically important to the development of the theory presented in this volume are those of the anthropologists who regard a knowledge of the basic assumptions of a people as indispensable to the interpretation of concrete behavior. Of the variety of terms invented to designate the central core of meanings in societies the most familiar are ‘unconscious system of meanings’ (Sapir), ‘unconscious canons of choice’ (Benedict), ‘configurations’ (C. Kluckhohn), ‘culture themes’ (Opler), and ‘core culture’ (Thompson). … Still another and more recently formulated concept is that of ‘world view’ (Redfield).” (p 1-2)

“Value orientations are complex but definitely patterned (rank-ordered) principles, resulting from the transactional interplay of three analytically distinguishable elements of the evaluative process—the cognitive, the affective, and the directive elements—which give order and direction to the ever-flowing stream of human acts and thoughts as they relate to the solution of ‘common human’ problems.” (p 4)

“… all alternatives of all solutions are present in all societies at all times but are differentially preferred.” (p 10)

“Five problems have been tentatively singled out as the crucial ones common to all human groups. … (1) What is the character of innate human nature? (human nature orientation), (2) What is the relation of man to nature (and supernature)? (man-nature orientation), (3) What is the temporal focus of human life? (time orientation), (4) What is the modality of human activity? (activity orientation), (5) What is the modality of man’s relationship to other men? (relational orientation).” (p 10-11)

[Table I:1 (p 12) …]

“Sociologists have long used various types of dichotomies to differentiate homogeneous folk societies from the more complex urban societies. Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft (Tönnies), traditional-rational-legal (Weber), mechanical-organic solidarity (Durkheim), and simply rural-urban are the most familiar of the several paired terms.” (p 17)

“Individuality and individualism are both results of attention being given to the autonomy of the individual, but they are vastly different concepts …” (p 18)

[Heading: “Conformism as related to the value orientations” (p 20)]

“Fromm,  for example, virtually condemns conformism as a disease of modern Western culture generally but most especially a disease of United States culture, which he considers to be primarily a culture of the market place.” (p 20)

“… the demands of social living — the cultural norms and standards — … there could be no humanness without these restrictions since the human creature is not instinct bound as are the members of other species of the animal kingdom. Man must learn to be a human being, and in the learning, however slow and painful the process often is, he becomes free in ways that the ant, whose place in an elaborate social organization is instinctively fixed, can never be.” (p 21)

“The view advanced here is that variation in value orientation is the most important type of cultural variation and is, therefore, the central feature of the structure of culture. This is to say that the ‘system of meanings’ of a society, its ethos, is more realistically and adequately derived from an analysis of the dynamic interrelationships of the variations in its value orientations than it is from a study of only the dominant values.” (p 28)

“To function successfully every society must have within it some persons, either individual persons or groups of persons, who will devote themselves to the differing activities of the several behavior spheres. And, if the activities of the differing spheres are to be adequately performed, it is necessary that a majority of the persons choosing each sphere have the rank order of value orientations which provides the motivations proper to the sphere.” (p 31)

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