Developmental Idealism in Malawi

Arland Thornton, P.I.

This study was conducted in 2009-2010 among approximately 1000 urban and 1000 rural circumcised and uncircumcised men in Malawi. Core developmental idealism measures were added to a study designed to assess whether the dissemination of information that circumcision reduces the probability of HIV transmission. Approximately 10 minutes of developmental idealism measures were administered to respondents, and included country development ratings, whether certain family attributes are found in not developed or developed places, beliefs about the impact of development on family change, which types of family behaviors are better, the impact of family change on development, and whether future changes in the Malawi family will be good or bad. Measures from the main survey, (Circumcision, Information, and HIV Prevention, Rebecca Thornton, PI), included sections on information acquisition, marriage and sexual behavior, knowledge and beliefs about AIDS and AIDS transmission, personal health, and circumcision attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors relative to both respondent and his sons, if any.

Project Documentation:


Dec 8: Arland Thornton revisits his 2001 PAA Presidential Address on "Reading History Sideways."

Recent Pub

Special Issue On Developmental Idealism, Sociology of Development, 2019.

Recent Pub

Allendorf, Thornton, Mitchell, and Young-Demarco. "The Influence of Developmental Idealism on Marital Attitudes, Expectations, and Timing." Journal of Family Issues.

Reading History Sideways

The method of reading history sideways is described and critiqued by Arland Thornton

© 2020
Developmental Idealism
Population Studies Center
University of Michigan