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N° 88 (1/2022) – la società contemporanea – Changing values in a changing world? Italy in the European Values Study and World Values Survey (2017-2018)

Deadline June 30, 2020
Ferruccio Biolcati, Giancarlo Rovati e Paolo Segatti

In the last decade European countries have witnessed relevant social changes and events: an economic crisis inside a changing economic infrastructure, the war in Syria and the refugee crises, raising populist parties in many countries, the development of the information technology just to mention what appear to be the most relevant events. If the relevance of these changes is clear and well defined, less evident is what happened at the level of the values system. Luckily, a few months ago new data were made available allowing the investigation of this hidden level. These data come from the two most relevant research infrastructures to study values change in Europe and all over the World.

The European Values Study (EVS) is a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values. It provides insights into the ideas, beliefs, preferences, attitudes, values and opinions of citizens all over Europe. It is a unique research project on how Europeans think about life, family, work, religion, politics and society. The European Values Study started in 1981, when a thousand citizens in the European Member States of that time were interviewed using standardized questionnaires. Every nine years, the survey is repeated in an increasing number of countries. The fifth wave (2017) covers almost 40 European countries, from Iceland to Azerbaijan and from Spain to Norway. Italy joined the European Values Study since the first round.

The World Values Survey (WVS) consists of nationally representative surveys conducted in almost 100 countries. The World Values Survey is a large non-commercial, cross-national, longitudinal investigation of human beliefs and values. It covers the full range of global variations, from very poor to very rich countries, in all of the world’s major cultural zones. The World Values Survey deals with different topics: economic development, democratization, religion, gender equality, social capital, subjective well-being, and many others. The survey, which started in 1981, consists of seven rounds. Italy joined the World Values Survey in the fifth (2005-2009) and seventh round (2017-2019).

The European Values Study and World Values Survey were jointly collected in Italy in 2018. Data were recently made available through the EVS website ( This call for papers aims at gathering methodologically high quality, theoretically based contributions using the EVS-WVS data. The call asks for a special emphasis on Italy and the 2018 round: comparative and longitudinal contributions are welcome. While the editors are interested in all the EVS-WVS topics, they especially aim at collecting papers that address the following themes.

Tradition and modernity. Such a dichotomy proved to be a very useful frame to interpret values change. This is not to say that it has developed without critics. Many scholars sustain that tradition and modernity are not two poles of the same dimension: traditional and modern values may coexist in different individuals and social groups according to original but consistent patterns. Similarly, there is not a single path that countries have to follow from tradition to modernity. Beyond the different positions, the dichotomy remains a flexible theoretical instrument to account for contemporary change. Papers might consider different aspects of traditional values (support to authority, attachment to the traditional family, materialism, etc.) and how these could prove to be useful in understanding different issues, from attitudes toward science and technology (e.g. anti-vax attitudes) to raising populism. Other classical dichotomies could be taken into account in explaining contemporary change: e.g. the central and peripheral values in the mass society theorized by Edward Shils, the cosmopolitan and local identities by Alvin W. Gouldner.

European solidarity and identity. Social change is shaped by long-term trends as well as sudden crises. On the one hand, globalization processes are affecting the transformation of the Italian society and of the other European countries. The increasing traffic of goods, services and labor inside and outside Europe is expected to enlarge Europe as a geographical, political and social unit, breaking old cultural barriers. On the other hand, the economic crisis started in 2007 has worsened the living and working conditions of many European countries; moreover, the recent refugees’ crisis has raised questions of security, responsibility for border controls and for the distribution of wealth. All these changes question the notion of solidarity both between states and between social groups inside a state. The issue of national identity is involved as well, as an instrument to define groups and barriers. In this scenario, papers might investigate the raise of new forms of solidarity as well as the revival of well-known boundaries.

Religion and religiosity. Religion has always been a driving interest of the European Values Study and World Values Survey. The longitudinal feature of these datasets gives the opportunity for an in-depth study of the religious change going on in Italy, even in comparative perspective. Some scholars read such a change adopting the lenses of the classical secularization theories and its most recent developments; other scholars prefer to focus on the individualization processes and the relationship between religiosity and spirituality. Instead, papers may focus on the relation between religiosity and specific issues, such as bioethics and environmentalism. The demography of religiosity may also be investigated considering women, youth, and the socialization process. Finally, religiosity has been influencing different realms of social domain for ages (voting behavior, pro-sociality, anti-immigration attitudes, national identities, etc.), papers may assess if this is still the case.


Abstracts of 500 words accompanied by 5 keywords should be submitted to, (cc: by June 30, 2020.

Authors will be notified by the editors concerning the selection of the articles by July 31, 2020.

The deadline for the submission of the full version of the articles is January 31, 2021. Articles of maximum 50.000 characters and written in English or Italian should follow the journal guidelines (

Communication concerning the peer‐review process will be provided by April 30, 2021. Authors will submit their final versions by July 31, 2021. Publication on issue 1/2022.

For any further information, please contact the editors.

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