Canadian-American value differences : media portrayals of Native issues




Ravelli, Bruce Douglas

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



One of the defining debates of sociology is the nature of the relationship between the individual and society. One sociologist, Seymour Martin Lipset, investigated this relationship through his analysis of Canadian and American value differences. Lipset (1964) argues that Canadian and American values are different and have remained parallel to each other over time. The following dissertation tests Lipset's thesis of cross-national value differences through seven hypotheses derived from Canadian and American media portrayals of Native issues. Testing these hypotheses is accomplished through quantitative and qualitative measures to determine if Canadian and American media content support or refute Lipset's thesis. Documenting each country's values was achieved by a content analysis of articles from a leading newsmagazine from each country, Maclean's and Newsweek, and comparing their presentations of Native issues. This research found that the majority of Lipset's pattern-variables did not accurately predict cross-national media portrayals of Native issues. However, Lipset's approach to studying national values is applicable far beyond those defined by the 49th. parallel. His typology could be applied to the study of value differences between nations and offer valuable insights into national value systems and what makes them different. Applying Lipset's approach to societies beyond those in North America would add to our understanding of the individual's relationship to society through a fuller appreciation of their values.



Mass media, Indians of North America