9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN07 Sociology of Culture

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Old and New Individualisms I Building II, C4.06

Detraditionalized selves. A comparative analysis

In an earlier paper it was argued that detraditionalization - economic development, development of the welfare state, decline of tradition, traditional ethics and religious belief - can not be equated with individualization but has to be viewed as a shift in the mode of social control (Elchardus, 2009). The new mode of social control is based on agencies of control on the one hand, the emergence of a new conception of self on the other. This paper wants to (1) map the extent of detraditionalization in Western societies, (2) verify whether among such societies detraditionalization is related to the emergence of a new conception of the self, and (3) verify whether the emergence of new controlling institutions, in particular therapy, can at least partly account for the relationship between detraditionalization and the emergence of a new conception of self.
The analysis is restricted to OECD-countries and based on both aggregate data and the World Value Survey. A multilevel analysis reveals that this indicator of self-control is higher in the cluster of fully detraditionalized societies, even after controlling for individual indicators of detraditionalization. The proportion of psychologists working in the mental health sector per thousand population, is used as an indicator of the development of the therapeutic sector. This proportion is much higher in the fully detraditionalized societies and accounts in part for the relationship between detraditionalization and the new conception of the self.