Life Values Shape Country’s Image
The Ijtimoiy Fikr Center for the Study of Public Opinion conducts systematic sociological surveys in order to study the spiritual and moral values and attitudes of citizens of Uzbekistan to the developments in the social, economic, legal and political life of society.
The results of the research allow us to more fully and deeply comprehend the processes taking place in our society, to shape effective approaches to the examination of the administrative decisions taken in the aspect of their impact on the state and changes in society. The information received can have a significant impact on the work of government authorities and administration, mass media, public associations on the formation of the image of Uzbekistan in the international arena.
Opinion polls show that in Uzbekistan, the value orientations of citizens are being transformed under the influence of various factors related to the dynamic development of socio-political and socio-economic relations and the processes of globalization in general. The strong value foundation inherent in the citizens of the country is not only the basis of political stability, but also the foundation for the positive state and social well-being of the population.
The Uzbek society, as surveys show, remains focused on traditional values such as family, charity, tolerance and peace, solidarity of generations and respect for elders, generosity and hospitality, diligence. It is important to understand that a society that is stable in its values is not a static society. In the course of sociological research, Uzbeks demonstrate a great desire for dynamic social and economic development. The obtained data indicate that a new moral and ethical atmosphere is developing in the country, values reflecting the desire of the population, and especially young people, to success, material well-being, career growth, spiritual and moral perfection are gradually asserted in the public consciousness.
Opinion polls revealed the dominance of civic identity among the population – almost 70% of the population consider themselves “primarily citizens of Uzbekistan”.
An essential role in the process of self-determination and the formation of one’s identity is played by the commitment of citizens to a particular way of life, which is usually interpreted as oriented either to Western or European values, or to traditional ones associated with the observance of national traditions and folk customs. The results of the research showed that the majority of citizens prefer the traditional way of life, based on national customs and traditions.
At the same time, the residents of the republic are expecting that their children and grandchildren in the future also reproduce a way of life associated with national cultural values. Cultural-historical belonging, traditions, a kind of “spiritual conservatism” are important consolidating factors for Uzbek people. Meanwhile, almost every tenth young man and woman prefers to lead a modern lifestyle based on Western values.
One of the most important values for Uzbek people is a happy and blissful life, the birth and upbringing of children, service to the fatherland, creative and professional self-realization.
In the course of the survey, the respondents were asked: “Under what conditions would you be able to recognize your life as successful?” The majority (76.3%) answered that the main conditions for a successful life realization are the creation of a family, the birth of children.
In Uzbekistan, the family is protected by society and the state, its all-round support is being provided, the institutional and legal framework for strengthening family and marriage is being improved, the demographic development and welfare of citizens are being strengthened, the educational and enlightening potential of the family is strengthened, the traditional family values are preserved in the society, so is moral atmosphere in families.
The conducted public opinion polls showed that the family and children, their upbringing and spiritual and moral development, stably remain the most significant values in Uzbek society. Most citizens of the country believe that the responsibility for raising children and their successful growth is borne by the family, and their upbringing is an important parental duty.
For residents of the republic, one of the main values is education, and they are eager to give their children a good education. The society has increased understanding that the success of the further education of the younger generation depends on the comprehensive education and nurturing of children in preschool age, since it is at this age that the prerequisites for the successful education of children in school and the further socialization of the younger generation in the future life are created.
Getting higher education, a successful career, a high social status in society – these important life meanings also remain relevant for many Uzbeks, especially for young people.
In the representation of citizens of the country, the most significant personal qualities are hospitality, generosity and diligence. This is supported by 37% of the country’s inhabitants. In the opinion of 28.9% of citizens, they are distinguished by patriotism, love and devotion to the Motherland, aspiration to contribute to its development and well-being. Among the most significant personal qualities characterizing the Uzbek people were a careful attitude to family values and national traditions (24.9%), kindness (28.2%), upbringing and respect for elders (18%), peacefulness (17.2%) .
At the same time, many respondents (78.4%) believe that there are contradictory changes in the system of priority values and attitudes. In their view, the complex processes taking place in modern society, a sharp increase in the volume and importance of information flows have a serious impact on the formation of a certain picture of the world and the transformation of traditional norms and values of man, especially in the youth environment. As surveys showed, every third respondent believes that in the worldview of modern Uzbeks, pragmatic values directed solely at the goal of personal prosperity are increasingly beginning to prevail over spiritual values. This phenomenon is especially characteristic of the younger generation.
Participants in the survey believe that the most negative aspects of modern youth are the strengthening of pragmatic motives in cultural and moral attitudes (17.8%), social irresponsibility associated with the unwillingness to grow up (17.4%), tolerance for violation of morality (14.1%). However, in public opinion, Uzbek citizens realize that a reliable way to resist negative phenomena is their own spiritual immunity of personality. That is why, citizens consider it necessary to educate their children with moral, loyal to their families and the Motherland, people, to inculcate in them such qualities as striving for education, love of work, efficiency and enterprising, good breeding and goodwill, respect for folk traditions, history and culture.
In Uzbekistan, one of the most important tasks of state policy is the preservation for the future generations of rich historical and cultural heritage, customs and traditions of the people, the restoration of the spiritual and religious foundations of Uzbek society, the revival of humanistic Islamic cultural values. Favorable conditions have been created for increasing national and religious self-awareness, freedom and national pride. Along with the revival of spiritual and religious values, religious rights and freedoms of citizens in the system of a democratic state and civil society are ensured.
Public opinion polls clearly demonstrate the transformation of the attitude of citizens towards religion, traditions and customs, expressed in increasing the number of visiting holy places, celebrating religious and public holidays, conducting traditional national rites in their families. According to the polls, for 87.6% of the country’s inhabitants, people’s and religious traditions, rituals and customs are of great importance, they contribute to the development of society and the state, enrich the spiritual life of every citizen. It is noted that the older the citizen, the more carefully he treats the observance and execution of rituals and customs, adherence to traditions goes to the forefront for many.
Respondents of the older age group in the survey expressed the opinion that young people should be educated in the spirit of respect for representatives of other religions and ethnicities, to educate and show the true spiritual and moral essence of Islam, its nature and tolerance, to use humanistic Islamic values in moral upbringing of the younger generation, protect them from religious extremism and narrowmindedness.
One of the basic values of life for Uzbeks is work. Every fourth respondent believes that “work for a person is the main sign of life while a person is working – he is alive”. In labor, the inhabitants of the country see a means of creative selfexpression and self-affirmation in society, the possibility of achieving a higher social status, as well as the opportunity to benefit people and society.
When choosing a job, 44.7% of citizens pay paramount importance to the possibility of receiving a high salary, 43.4% consider the priority to be to benefit for people, to be useful to them, 34.6% believe that work should be, first of all, creative and interesting.
In the age segment, the range of opinions on the characteristics of labor that are of vital importance is changing quite significantly. Thus, 50.2% of the respondents aged 3039 give preference to a high salary. They most often, in comparison with other respondents, strive for prestigious work that provides a high social status. Creative work, even if it is not paid well, but benefits people, is considered by the most important half of young respondents aged 1819 years, and one in three of them prefers a healthy climate in the workforce.
Sociological studies show that politics in the hierarchical structure of values of Uzbek people occupies an important place, they are worried not only by everyday worries and problems, they show an active interest in political processes and events. This is natural, and is explained by active modernization and profound reforms in various sectors of the life of the state and society implemented within the framework of the Strategy of Actions. Citizens fully support the positive changes taking place in the country and seek to promote them.
As the polls suggested, the majority of Uzbek people (76.4%) consider themselves supporters of a democratic, rule-oflaw state. This indicator has been stable over the past few years.
The most democratic values are inherent in respondents who have a high level of education. The percentage of supporters of a democratic, rule-of-law state is higher among citizens aged 21-40.
The results of the research convincingly testify to the growing social activity and civic consciousness, the mounting involvement of citizens in the processes taking place in the country. Addressing the question “Does a person bear moral responsibility for his country and the solution of its problems?” the absolute majority of citizens (88.4%) answered positively.
The sense of responsibility for their country is typical for the majority of residents of the regions of the republic, men and women, representatives of various social strata. In the age aspect, this feeling increases in proportion to age: the older the citizens, the more responsibility they feel for the fate of their country, for its future, for the country where their children and grandchildren will live.
In general, as the long experience of studying the vital values of Uzbek people shows, they determine the behavior of citizens, the choice of the path of economic development and the form of government. It should be noted that values are changing very slowly; this process can take several generations.
Uzbekistan’s citizens feel proud for their country, for a rich historical and cultural heritage, for national traditions and spiritual and moral values carefully preserved by the people and passed from generation to generation. The paramount task of every citizen is to preserve and transfer to the younger generation the highest values of national culture – kindness, mercy, tolerance, respect for elders and preservation of family values, generosity and diligence.