THE EMOTIONAL STATE OF SOCIETY: HISTORY AND THE TIMELINESS OF THE PROBLEM (A tarsadalmi kozerzet pszichologiaja: problematortenet es aktualitas)
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The internationally extensive studies prolific in data give answer to the question of what the emotional state of a society is by definitely and one-sidedly concentrating on the subjective well-being of individuals. However, the individual is an active component of society also in the sense that he/she experiences and makes judgments about the affairs in society, he reacts to them emotionally, and he is thus subject to the convincing or rejecting effects of his fellows. The last stage of a series of related studies in Hungary was conducted on a representative sample of 600 respondents at the turn of 2007 and 2008. The questions asked in the structured interviews comprised of six topics: A) Subjective well-being, mood, and satisfaction of the respondents, B) Perception of the way others feel, C) Expressed personal attitudes of the interviewees toward the relations and institutes of society, D) The respondents' characterization of the social public affairs and institutes, E) Perceived accord/discord between human values and social positions, F) Comparison of past and present, of norm and reality. The answers of the respondents and their interrelationships were analyzed not only by correlational and factor analyses, but a different direction as well: setting out from the pattern of relationships of the evaluative views, the people were arranged in groups on the basis of their characteristic bundle of responses. The cluster analysis revealed mainly three groups of people that can be labeled as tolerant, ambivalent, and hyper-critical, respectively, and their place can be defined in the continuum of the (basically negative) evaluation of public affairs. On the basis of the empirical data, the way society feels is disturbed by a social transformation of historical scale, by an increase in social mobility and social differences, by the dissolution of and search for the norms of social equality and care.
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