Drawing upon problems of interpretation in political sociological research, this article questions the common practice of lumping together moral traditionalism and authoritarianism. First, it is demonstrated that of the two only moral traditionalism relates to religious orthodoxy. Second, the well-established strong correlation between both value orientations proves to be caused, in the case at hand solely by the circumstance that nontraditionalism and nonauthoritarianism go hand in hand; moral traditionalism and authoritarianism are almost unrelated. Third, moral traditionalists are shown to vote for Christian right-wing parties, whereas authoritarianism more commonly leads to a vote for a secular right-wing party. Fourth, whereas moral traditionalism proves decisive for the voting behavior of Christians, it is authoritarianism that underlies the non-Christian vote. These findings from The Netherlands (consistent with theories on cultural modernization) lead to the conclusion that attention should be paid to the distinction between these orientations because this aids the interpretation of research fi ndings, and because authoritarianism will probably gain a more central role in politics at the cost of moral traditionalism.

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doi.org/10.1177/0192512107079636, hdl.handle.net/1765/12182
Centre for Rotterdam Cultural Sociology (CROCUS)
International Political Science Review
Department of Sociology

de Koster, W., & van der Waal, J. (2007). Cultural Value Orientations and Christian Religiosity. International Political Science Review, 28(4), 451–467. doi:10.1177/0192512107079636