Degrowth is a post-materialist movement, which places value on the biosphere, human wellbeing, and justice, above and beyond the possession of material goods (Degrowth Declaration, 2008). And yet surveys suggest that levels of materialism are higher in post-socialist countries than in Western European countries (Kyvelidis, 2001). In the sixth round of the European Social Survey (2012), nine of the ten countries where respondents agreed most to the statement “it is important to be rich, have money and expensive things” were in Central and Eastern Europe. This suggests that advancing degrowth in post-socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe may prove even more challenging than in Western Europe.
This paper will seek to explore the patterns of materialism in these countries. It will use data from the European Social Survey (ESS), operationalising materialism using the Schwarz Human Values Scale which has been included in all seven rounds of the survey. It will seek to address three questions:
1. What individual and societal-level factors are associated with materialism in Central and Eastern Europe? Potential factors to consider include:
a. Demographics (age, income, education, parental education)
b. Attitudes towards businesses
c. Prevalence of advertising in society (Kasser, 2011), and exposure to advertising
2. How have levels of materialism changed over time in Central and Eastern Europe, between 2002 and 2014?
3. Do levels of materialism predict intentions to reduce working hours? Does the relationship between materialism and the intention to reduce working hours vary between countries?
We will consider implications of this research for advancing degrowth
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „An understanding of materialistic values in post-socialist Europe“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.