The role of armed conflict in the formation and shift of emancipative values

  • Kenneth, Hemmerechts (Phd, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Echeverria, Nohemi (Phd, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)
  • Kavadias, Dimokritos (professeur, Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


Past studies on armed conflicts (i.e. international, interstate, intrastate wars) have focused primarily on analyzing its consequences on the physiological, socioeconomic and institutional level.

Less thoroughly investigated is how the experience of armed conflict influences the formation and shift of values (with the exception of, for example, Daniel, Fortuna, Thrun, Cioban & Knafo 2013). With values, we mean enduring beliefs that people use to classify, prefer and evaluate human beings and things (see also Rokeach 1973; Feather 1975).

A theoretical framework relevant to the study of value formation and shift is the theory of modernization of Ronald Inglehart and its latest formulation in Christian Welzel’s evolutionary theory of emancipation (Inglehart 1977; Inglehart & Welzel 2005; Welzel 2013a). This framework theorizes how values of people are shaped and changed by the conditions in which they live and coexist.

In this presentation, we will evaluate this theory of modernization in its latest version formulated by Welzel (2013a). We will test the relationship between armed conflicts – as a form of existential constraint – and emancipative value formation and shift. We will investigate the effect of the presence of armed conflicts in a country. Countries can experience different types of armed conflict (for example a civil war or an international war) for different periods and intensities. Furthermore, different age cohorts might experience distinct forms of armed conflict or no conflict at all and this can have an effect on the values they develop and hold.