400140 :Values in Europe

General info

Instruction language English
Type of Instruction Lectures and seminars (Lecture schedule)
Type of exams (Group)Assignments, group essay, group paper (Examination schedule)
Course load:6 ECTS credits
Blackboard Infonot available in Blackboard


dr. L.C.J.M. Halman

T.M.J. Swelsen MSc


In this course, students are introduced to the comparative study of values and beliefs of the people in European countries. Students learn what values are, how values can be empirically assessed, to what extent European people differ in their values and beliefs, and students gain insights in understanding and explaining the European patterns in these basic values and beliefs.

At the end of the course, pairs/trios of students should:

  1. have some basic knowledge about values and some sociological theories to explain the varieties in value patterns across Europe;
    and, students should be able to:
  2. define and empirically identify a self-chosen value orientation;
  3. properly apply sociological theories to understand European patterns in value orientations, and extract hypotheses from these theories both at individual and macro level;
  4. empirically test the hypotheses using survey data from e.g., EVS, ISSP, ESS or Eurobarometer;
  5. write and present a paper about the self-chosen value orientation to be explained from individual and macro (context) characteristics.


The course focuses on values in contemporary Europe and aims at understanding (international) differences and similarities in basic values from individual level characteristics but also from macro characteristics. The interpretations of the value differences and similarities are linked to contemporary sociological theories of (post)modernization, institutionalization, multiple modernities, individualization, secularization etc.

The course starts with a theoretical reflection on the concept of values, and ways to identify values in (existing) survey research. Extensive use will be made of our own experiences within the European Values Study project. Students learn to use the survey datasets such as EVS, ISSP, ESS and Eurobarometer to empirically investigate the value patterns in Europe. Students are introduced to some sociological theories to understand value patterns and changes in Europe from a micro- and macro perspective. A short mid-term examination closes the first part of the course.

In seminars, students work on group assignments with regard to value differences in Europe and discuss and apply sociological theories to explain the value patterns in Europe. They use the survey data from EVS, ISSP, ESS, or Eurobarometer). Active (!) participation in these seminars is mandatory.

Pairs/trios of students write an essay in which relevant literature on their topic is reviewed and they write an empirical paper on a self-chosen value orientation in which they formulate testable hypotheses, which are extracted from sociological theories, and empirically test their theoretically argued hypotheses using survey data from EVS, ISSP, ESS or EB.


Basic knowledge of spss, factor analysis and regression analysis is required. Without this basic knowledge, it will be difficult if not impossible to successfully complete the course.

Compulsory Reading

  1. Readinglist will be announced at the start of the course. Links to full-text articles will be made available on Blackboard

Recommended Prerequisites

SPSS, factor analysis, regression analysis

Compulsory for

  • Aansluitingsprogramma Sociologie voor Avans ( 2015 )
  • Bachelor Sociology ( 2013, 2014, 2015 )
  • Pre-master Sociology ( 2015 )
  • Pre-master Sociology for International Students ( 2015 )
  • Pre-master VHO Maatschappijleer ( 2015, 2016 )

Recommended option for