Go to eugreenalliance

Denna nyhet är äldre än 6 månader och är kanske inte aktuell längre.

Exciting lecture on values in secular society


World-leading researcher lectures on how fundamental values and norms, including religion, are transmitted between generations. Open to everyone at the University on March 16.
-The transmission is still quite robust, despite the generally reduced religiosity, says Merril Silverstein, a researcher and professor from Syracuse University USA.

Merril Silverstein believes that although values originally come from a religious context, transmission through society's democratic institutions works well.

-But I wouldn't want to undervalue the family, as the home is a very important place for the transfer of the value system, Silverstein says.

Swedens secular religion

He knows Swedish society well after spending several years here and says that our moral principles and thoughts of universality and equality are seen by many as a secular religion. And that these values, which can be seen as the pillars of society, are transmitted between the generations also in secular Sweden.

-My seven-year-old daughter went to school for a year in Sweden and she indirectly told me examples of how society's values are transmitted, such as those about equality between men and women, when men took paternity leave.

According to him, the United States is also experiencing an increasing secularity, which, with some lag, is a reflection of developments in Europe, where the trend is very strongly moving towards a more secular society.

Gang violence and parents' hopeless struggle

Merril sees that the emotional closeness to the parents has a very strong importance for the transfer of values from them, where the attachment that takes place between parents and children, as well as between grandparents and grandchildren, is of crucial importance.

-We see in the US that if children have emotionally close relationships with their parents, they tend to share their parents' norms and social values to a greater extent.

But for immigrants who are vulnerable and dependent on benefits and where the children do not respect their parents, the transfer becomes more difficult.

-The social pressure from the new homeland is very strong and the children are drawn into a way of thinking that takes them away from the family. The families fight a hopeless battle in which the gangs become the family that produces dangerous ways of behaving.

Assimilation takes two generations in the U.S.

The same dynamic is seen in the United States, albeit less dramatic as the assimilation to the values of American society seems to occur in one or two generations.

- But there is no doubt that there is a concern among immigrants' parents that their cultural traditions are being lost.

Studying older Chinese Americans, he finds that they worry about their children losing the Chinese language and their cultural traditions, respect for the family and all that.

- And it is true that the values are transmitted to a lesser degree, but they also change.

The strong value in Chinese society that you should take care of your parents and grandparents will be a good example. Both second and third generation Chinese still have this belief system, but it is practiced in a different way.

-They still care about taking care of their parents, but instead of providing the care themselves, they give money to their care. They transform this into an American context, the values have not disappeared but been transformed.


Text: Douglas Öhrbom


Welcome to an open lecture on the transmission of values ​​between generations

  • Thursday 16 March at 13.30-15.30 in room 13:111

Professor Merril Silverstein is a world-leading researcher when it comes to aging families and intergenerational relationships. Among other things, he is responsible for a study in California that started in 1971 and affects five generations.

- The values of society are transferred, but value systems will always change between generations. The question is, what will they change into?, says Merril Silverstein.


Jari Ristiniemi, professor of religious studies at University of Gävle
Phone: 073-401 10 58
E-mail: jari.ristiniemi@hig.se

Published by: Douglas Öhrbom Page responsible: Anders Munck Updated: 2023-03-13
Högskolan i Gävle
Box 801 76 GÄVLE
026-64 85 00 (växel)