Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Colombia has spent decades "under a state of siege" (Amnesty International 5). This fact has become so apparent in their daily lives that the majority of Colombians manage to grow accustomed to social and political instability. Despite the lack of security, therefore, they lessened the emphasis placed on materialistic goods and allowed for the development of potmaterialistic values. According to political scientist Ronald Inglehart, the postmaterialistic state is one in which "a growing emphasis on the quality of life and self-expression is accompanied by a declining emphasis on traditional political, religious, moral and social norms" (Inglehart 66). With this in mind, the fact that Colombians face increasing levels of poverty and political unrest leads many researchers to believe that the presence of postmaterialism without financial stability and personal security is unlikely. However, the demand for women’s rights and environmental conservation have taken on a greater role in shaping Colombian society, maintaining this belief therefore leads researchers to wrongly exclude Colombia from studies of postmaterialism. Citizens’ desire for environmentalism and women’s rights indicates the unlikelihood that the country is completely without postmaterialistic values. Therefore, researchers should use Colombia to study how various societal circumstances determine the degree to which postmaterialism plays a role in individual lives.