Modern societies are characterized by a process of value change. In this context many open questions remain: What is the direction of this change? Is the process irreversible? Who is responsible for this value change? What factors determine the pace of change? To answer these questions and more, GESIS is engaged in data collection for the respective survey programs, in particular the German General Social Survey (ALLBUS), the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) and the European Values Study (EVS). The latter two survey programs are of particular interest in this context as these enable an analysis of value change in international comparison, the area in which we are currently concentrating our research efforts.
Theories of religious secularization assume that through various processes, for example, functional differentiation, rationalization, gains in prosperity and general social security, that social modernization causes religion to lose its importance. What remains open is whether in the course of secularization people completely turn away from religion or look towards other alternative religious-spiritual options. Economic theories of religion assume that “deregulated religious markets,” as typical for modern states, should, as a consequence, also have an increasing religious supply on offer and a correspondingly greater demand.
The question of the roots of human well-being is a component of numerous scientific disciplines. Widely differing concepts underlie the research directions and theories, such as general life satisfaction, happiness, life quality or well-being. These terms are sometimes used as synonyms in attempts to determine the conditions for a good life. They also often exclusively serve to describe individual components of happiness. Economic prosperity, education, work, leisure time, social relationships, health, religion and personality all contribute to happiness, but research on happiness looks not only at the contribution and strength of internal and external factors but also at how happiness and satisfaction influence human actions or how general satisfaction is related to satisfaction in certain areas such as work satisfaction, leisure time satisfaction, or partnership satisfaction.