Research studies

The Value Spectrum in Algerian Society: Between Heritage and Sweeping Changes


Prepared by the researche : Dr . NACER BAADACHE – Mila University Center –  Country:Algeria

Democratic Arabic Center

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies : Thirty-second Issue – June 2024

A Periodical International Journal published by the “Democratic Arab Center” Germany – Berlin

Nationales ISSN-Zentrum für Deutschland
 ISSN  2625-8943

Journal of cultural linguistic and artistic studies

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Communities require a fundamental element to evolve and progress. Perhaps this element is “values” that have historically governed nations. In their absence, other nations have declined into oblivion. Values serve as the framework by which individual behavior is measured in terms of civilization and refinement. They help maintain the identity and cohesion of society, ensuring it continues on the right path. However, implementing this element consistently and permanently seems well-nigh impossible in our present time due to current fractures. Our Algerian society is under fierce attacks from enemies and opportunists aiming to undermine the deeply rooted values inherited from our ancestors. It has become imperative for every concerned individual and researcher to scour for the establishment of a sound education system based on solid values and principles that preserve the dignity of our society. This involves highlighting values that need adjustment or replacement with more refined alternatives, while relying on values that align with the civilized trend to overcome the challenges of the future and the potential threats of globalization. Despite the severe attacks that have scattered and left our society in disarray, Algerian society has held onto its values for a long time, demonstrating a form of resilience against sweeping currents that could have eroded its values.

In light of these considerations, our study is titled: “The Value Spectrum in Algerian Society: Between Heritage and Sweeping Changes.”

In this research paper, we aim to illustrate the importance of values in Algerian society and their role in igniting a flame of progress and prosperity. We specifically focus on the roles of family and education in constructing a proper value system, without overlooking the reasons for establishing values in our society after the fierce attacks that have left it moving in a vicious circle.


Values are one of the most sensitive and fundamental topics in the life of individuals and societies. They are closely related to purposeful culture and the cultural progress that nations and communities strive for.

The Algerian society, to which we belong, there is a pressing need for a hierarchy of values that act as a guide for positive behaviors that build individuals. This is why, in the absence of values, individuals experience a state of chaos and alienation in their surroundings.

In this situation, we live in an environment that requires the existence of a moral hierarchy that resembles the existing value frameworks instilled in individuals. This moral hierarchy ensures their higher goals and constant principles that preserve the necessary cohesion for engaging in a positive social life.

Therefore, the study of social values is a fundamental and necessary requirement. It is a priority. This is because we live amidst tremendous scientific and technological progress. On one hand, this progress has opened doors to societies. On the other hand, it has been a double-edged sword, opening a door to evil that undermines the nation’s principles and inherited values.

This is achieved by negatively influencing the components of human life, including thoughts, values, habits, and deeply-rooted traditions. Consequently, in recent times, hybrid societies, which that lack positive inherited values, have emerged.

Hence, a thorough study is necessary to diagnose this new reality that is almost sweeping away the values and undermining them in our society.

From this perspective, we need to explore the following questions:

  • What are values? And what is their role in building and prospering societies?
  • To what extent is the absence of values a cause of the decay of societies?
  • How do we deal with imported and prevalent values in our society?
  • How can we preserve positive inherited values in our schools?

Firstly: Definition of Values

Before delving into the definition of values, it’s imperative to take a closer look at the reality we’re experiencing in Algeria in this era. Perhaps the true essence of this reality unveils new values, to which, our traditionally conservative society has never been familiar. Algerian society has evolved from Islamic customs and traditions rooted in principles of respect, modesty, and virtuous habits that historically unified Algerian families and the broader community.

Despite France’s efforts to obliterate Algerian Arab identity, erode noble morals, suppress the Arabic language, and propagate heretic beliefs, superstitions, and immoral conduct, it has, nonetheless, retained the foundational principles upon which our ancestors were nurtured. Since gaining independence, our society has been characterized by values and ethics across its various regions and institutions. A compelling illustration of this lies in the moral ethos witnessed in Algerian schools post-independence, emphasizing ethics, respect, modesty, and prudishness.

During that era, educators held esteemed positions, revered as cultivators of morals and knowledge. Their influence transcended boundaries and extended far beyond. However, today, the paradigm has shifted dramatically. This shift may be attributed to the profound scientific advancements that have transformed the world into a quagmire where all decayed values converge. These values, in one way or another, have worked to encircle positive values in Muslim societies. The primary objective has been to impose new values where societies, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, would be equated. Exported technology has become a potent tool aimed at reshaping the mindset of individuals in our homeland, altering their societal values, and challenging their inherited beliefs.

The contemporary cultural invasion is aimed at dismantling ideologies, challenging long-held customs and ethics, and exerting control over people’s behaviors, thereby subjugating them and eroding their capacity for autonomous choice. Consequently, individuals find themselves stripped of their identities, and the delicate balance between their material and psychological well-being is disrupted. The faculties of the mind falter, and the cohesive system of values, consciousness, and conduct becomes obscured. Such dynamics have left an indelible mark on our conservative society, fostering a landscape of social and cultural pluralism marked by the interplay and contradictions among its various elements. This multiplicity has given rise to diverse manifestations of values, contributing to the disintegration of cultural frameworks and the destabilization of societal norms.

In this era, terms associated with ‘values’ have permeated our national discourse, prompting us to seek a clearer understanding of this concept. The Quran articulates various formulations that converge to delineate a comprehensive notion of values, all stemming from the root verb ‘قام’ (to establish, to stand firm). In Surah Al-Kahf, it is stated, ˹making it˺ perfectly upright, to warn ˹the disbelievers˺ of a severe torment from Him; to give good news to the believers—who do good—that they will have a fine reward.’ (al-kahf, p. 2) This scripture was revealed straightforwardly, ensuring justice and containing both admonishment and encouragement. Those who transgress are warned of severe consequences, while believers who uphold truthfulness and integrity receive the glad tidings of a bountiful reward. They adhere to beneficial values that not only benefit themselves but also the wider society. In Surah Al-Bayyina, it is stated, ‘In it are valuable scriptures,’ (bayyina, p. 3)emphasizing the intrinsic worth of these texts, which contain a plethora of benefits for both individuals and society as a whole.

Linguistically, the book “El Misbah El Munir” provides a definition of the word “قيمة » value (in English as ‘the singular of values (قِيَم), which means in Arabic “the price assigned to a commodity” (Al-Fayoumi:, 1987, p. 355), denoting its position or status. The value of the commodity is thereby established, endowing it with a recognized worth.’ “In contemporary Arabic usage, the term قيمة’value’ commonly denotes religious, moral, and social virtues that underpin human society” (Email Badie Yaqoub, 2004, p. 314).

In technical terms, values encompass “a set of principles, rules, and lofty ideals embraced by individuals. They reach a consensus on these principles, utilizing them as a yardstick for their actions and adjudicating their material and moral conduct accordingly. Each individual assesses an action as either virtuous or detrimental.” (Zaher, 1991, p. 35) Additionally, values are construed as “a comprehensive framework encompassing all activities and behaviors undertaken by individuals in various social contexts. They serve as a standard for behavior and a reference point for evaluating individual conduct” (Fahmy, 1999, p. 9)

secondly : The Importance of Values at the Individual Level:

Values play a crucial role in shaping human behavior. Hence, society clings to them because they imbue human existence with noble meanings that can persist amid a milieu permeated with scattered negative values in Arab society. Consequently, values are deemed pivotal in molding the culture of any society. Among the values individuals endeavor to uphold, despite the hurdles encountered in the Arab world, are those of knowledge, labor, reason, solidarity, ethics, honesty, mercy, happiness, as well as safety, cleanliness, duty, respect, benevolence, and the avoidance of harmful actions. Noteworthy is the emphasis on tolerance, forgiveness, patience, compassion, patriotism, order, responsibility, affection for others, humility, and cooperation.

Through values, individuals comprehend the significance of the matters within their purview, thereby forming sincere, positive perceptions of their surroundings. Values serve as foundational pillars fostering constructive interactions within society. Meanwhile, the social landscape evolves over time, necessitating a corresponding evolution in values to align with the changing paradigm. This dynamic gives rise to a value conflict between inherited traditions and the prevailing, forcefully imposed values.

The individual stands at the nexus of this value paradigm. By adhering to values that govern their lives and those of their peers, individuals evolve, becoming valuable both to themselves and others. This divergence from corrupt values and detrimental behaviors, which erode one’s character, enables individuals to espouse positive and beneficial values. The importance of values at the individual level manifests in various aspects:

  • The importance of values at the individual level is evident in explaining behavior and its underlying motivation. Values serve as crucial tools for understanding human personality, allowing us to interpret the varying behaviors of individuals.
  • Sound values aid in shaping a “strong, balanced, and cohesive personality. They provide individuals with a consistent set of principles, unifying their identity, strengthening their willpower, and organizing their elements by aligning their direction. Conversely, unethical individuals often exhibit vacillation and internal conflict”(Attar:, 2009, p. 49).
  • Values instill in individuals a sense of purpose in fulfilling their duties, both to themselves and to others with whom they interact socially. When individuals align their actions with the correct framework, they embody virtuous traits that benefit themselves and others.
  • Through values and their significance, individuals can comprehend the actions and intentions of others, whether beneficial or harmful. Values also enable individuals to anticipate reactions resulting from the actions of others.
  • One of the greatest contributions of values at the individual level is their role in establishing a reference framework independently of external influences that may impact an individual’s personality.
  • Values guide individuals away from deviations and depreciated values prevalent in contemporary society. Adhering to inherited noble values religiously and socially is the only effective means of guarding against such pitfalls.
  • Values empower individuals to make informed choices, protecting them from potential pitfalls. Each individual possesses intellectual orientations that serve as guides for their decision-making.
  • Among the benefits to individuals, “values confer worth, esteem, and respectability, fostering trust and reliance from others. The embodiment of these values enhances an individual’s reputation and may lead others to entrust them with tasks and responsibilities”(Attar:, 2009, p. 51).
  • Finally, individual values manifest in the everyday lives of individuals through decisions made in “their personal interests. Enthusiasm, creativity, humility, loyalty, and other values shape individuals’ interactions and decisions”(Samah Othman:, 2023, p. 23).

Third:The Significance of Values in Society:

When values hold considerable importance, shaping individuals and nurturing their character, thus benefiting them personally and fostering virtuous behavior, their significance extends to the societal sphere. This is because individual righteousness alone cannot form a cohesive society governed by principles of goodness, citizenship, responsibility, and solidarity. Hence, in such contexts, concerted efforts are necessary to uplift a society rooted in values, ensuring the preservation of its identity and continuity. Below are key points elucidating the importance of values in society:

  • Values serve as guides for members of society, across diverse classes and cultures, in assuming social roles commensurate with their positions and levels. They also encourage the shouldering of responsibilities in harmony with societal needs.
  • Values contribute to maintaining social order by shaping behavior to align with ethical principles and by discouraging negative behaviors that lead to deviation.
  • The importance of values in society becomes evident in addressing shifts “in values over time and situations. Values aid in identifying these shifts, selecting appropriate ones while combating corrupt and harmful values, thus elucidating their perils.
  • From a social standpoint, values promote efficiency and ethics, educate individuals, propagate beneficial ideas, rectify errors, and foster positive emotions and behaviors”(Samah Othman:, 2023, p. 25).
  • At this level, values provide a coherent mental framework for social systems, acknowledged by individuals within a society. Their significance lies in shaping the ethical foundation of every human endeavor within a society striving for moral progress, guiding actions towards meaningful goals that distinguish societies.
  • Lastly, values play a pivotal role in societal development, particularly in scientific endeavors. Positive values enhance cognition, planning, ambition, and diligence, thus fostering societal advancement and prosperity, elevating it to the ranks of advanced societies. Positive values advocate for collaboration among individuals to collectively advance themselves and society.

Fourthly :  Societal Decline in the Absence of Values:

     Deeply ingrained values serve as the bedrock for societal progress and prosperity, guiding communities towards a future characterized by justice and equality. A society that embraces comprehensive values advances and thrives, establishing itself on the pillars of well-being and stability. However, when values are absent, a society’s condition deteriorates, giving rise to visible signs of decay. Values are fundamental to both individual and societal life, shaping human relationships as essential social constructs and serving as benchmarks necessary for societal cohesion. Yet, the reality of daily life in our nation, Algeria, unveils a troubling narrative of deteriorating values and waning ethics.

Our society now finds itself ensnared in a web of excessive technology, where gadgets like computers, mobile phones, and electronic tablets dominate the landscape, leaving little room for human interaction and freedom. The pervasive influence of the internet has only exacerbated this situation, ushering in societal ills and embracing Western values that undermine traditional principles. Consequently, Algerian households witness a shift in values, leading to a spiritual vacuum that forewarns of an impending social crisis, endangering every facet of society. We are thus acutely aware of the peril facing society members, especially the youth, as the loss of values and ethics among the upcoming generation threatens societal progress and advancement, upon which our collective future relies.

Fifth: Managing Prevailing and Invasive Values in Our Society:

In light of the proliferation of debased values within our society, it is imperative to promptly elucidate the peril posed by these pervasive values and take measures to counteract and mitigate their influence by:

  • Comprehensive awareness campaigns led by stakeholders, specialists, educators, and teachers regarding the gravity of the current state in our schools and the circumstances surrounding our educated youth.
  • A complete return to the family unit, recognizing it as the primary catalyst for instilling proper values in children. The family serves as the genuine source from which children derive life’s essence. This necessitates dedicated efforts in nurturing the younger generation with sound religious and ethical guidance, coupled with an understanding that prevailing societal values are fleeting storms destined to pass.
  • Vigilant monitoring of children both at home and in external environments with meticulous supervision and unwavering attention. Visible signs of moral decline among children, particularly in the middle school demographic, underscore the urgency for vigilant oversight. Unrestricted access to smartphones, exposure to atheistic and deviant online content, and a concerning trend towards explicit material underscore the need for consistent and stringent supervision.
  • Implementation of stringent regulations within educational institutions to thwart the adoption of detrimental values among students. This encompasses enforcing guidelines related to appearance, attire, mobile device usage, and other distractions during study periods.
  • Enlisting parental involvement as necessary and exerting pressure on them to actively monitor their children. Swift disciplinary action, including expulsion if warranted, should be taken against recalcitrant individuals whose behavior negatively impacts others.
  • Introducing innovative mechanisms to enable student recreation without excess, such as limited computer usage aimed at delivering educational content in an engaging manner.
  • Elevating the status of educators and empowering them to prioritize activities beneficial to students.
  • Developing educational curricula that not only preserve traditional values but also highlight their virtues and their role in individual and societal advancement.

Sixthly: Sustaining Positive Inherited Values in Our Schools:

In this section, we aim to elucidate the pivotal role of schools in instilling enduring values in educated students. Schools serve as the closest and most impactful instrument for a child’s development, shaping new, more adaptable educational approaches. “Thus, there arose a necessity to enhance the proficiency of educational collectives. Society bestowed upon them, much like unto itself, the privilege to dedicate themselves to their endeavors and deepen their expertise, gradually withdrawing from broader societal engagements. Consequently, societal conditions were primed to embrace educational systems, their methodologies, advancements, and regulations. Concurrently, a novel form of educational institution emerged: the school.” (Sarhan, 2003, p. 36) Through schools, learners can internalize positive behaviors while sidestepping negative ones. Given that the school represents the student’s conduit and sole escape from the realm of aimlessness, it must veer towards a positive trajectory, fostering constructive tendencies and unearthing detrimental behaviors.

The school assumes a significant mantle in nurturing students on positive values and dissuading them from negative behaviors. It must adopt a lucid strategy and assess its endeavors, “assuming a leadership role in cultivating values amid the diverse domains of society and their varied influences. Despite the proliferation of influential bodies contributing to value formation, it is imperative for educational institutions to exercise primacy in planning, coordinating, and guiding all entities operating within this sphere” (Latif:, 1992, p. 147). Schools endeavor to:

  • Cultivate students’ self-assurance and impart self-awareness, facilitating the development of interpersonal relationships with their surroundings. This involves teaching them to respect and comprehend others, fostering constructive communication without compromising their upbringing.
  • Enhance students’ cognitive faculties and proficiency in strategic planning to surmount life’s challenges. This entails endowing them with the capacity to make affirmative decisions promptly, adeptly address issues, and delineate future goals conducive to personal and societal advancement.
  • Educate students on navigating scholastic success, as triumph within educational precincts augurs triumph beyond and across life’s tapestry. This necessitates fortifying all positive attributes associated with the school and the values it embodies, alongside instilling principles of respect and stewardship for both institutional and personal assets.
  • Foster students’ personal development, as schools constitute the social crucible from which students derive their norms and principles. “Adolescents crave an empathetic structure tailored to their exigencies, and a triumphant school provides them with platforms for assuming responsibilities, making judicious decisions, and fostering robust interpersonal bonds.”(Mustafa:, 1990, p. 20)

One effective strategy towards this end is to leverage the role of educators, as they serve as potent conduits for instilling positive values and mitigating negativity. Through teachers, schools actualize their objectives of influencing and guiding students towards betterment. Teachers impart to students the virtues of comprehension and open-mindedness, while also delivering valuable education and bestowing upon them attention that fosters a sense of societal importance. Moreover, they impart the cultivation of robust personalities capable of withstanding adversity and rejecting the negative values that have permeated our society of late. Furthermore, teachers inspire students to embrace a spirit of collaboration, shunning individualism and selfishness.

Additionally, schools offer curriculum programs centered on the dissemination of positive values, aiming to mold individuals across all facets and foster personalities capable of effecting change within society. This is achieved through the development of successful educational syllabi tailored to meet students’ needs. Classrooms are designed to provide a comfortable environment that does not alienate individuals, thereby facilitating the formation of positive peer relationships and fostering constructive dialogue.


In summary, the hierarchy of values within our society is subject to fluid standards. On one hand, we find ancestral values that have been passed down through the correct channels, reaching us in their positive form, and which have characterized Algerian society during its most enlightened periods in terms of ethics and principles. Conversely, there exist foreign values that have infiltrated our society via modern technology. Amidst this dichotomy, a perilous conflict has arisen, causing societal upheaval. Yet, the greatest peril lies in the targeting of our children and youth with degraded values that have eroded their minds and debased their character. Nevertheless, thanks to vigilant individuals, solutions have been devised to curtail these values and confront these significant challenges. The following conclusions have been drawn:

  • Values serve as a fundamental catalyst for individual advancement, with progress at the individual level translating into societal progress.
  • The absence of values precipitates individual decline and, consequently, societal decay.
  • Present-day conflicts represent a clash between inherited values and foreign ones, with our children unwittingly adopting the latter, resulting in severe societal ramifications.
  • The endeavors of vigilant individuals have not been in vain in exposing the pitfalls of foreign values, with schools serving as instrumental in combating these detrimental influences.
  • Societal progress is inexorably linked to the embrace and propagation of positive values among individuals, the rejection of detrimental values, and a clear recognition of their perils

List of sources and references:

  • Al-Fayoumi: Al-Misbah Al-Munir, Al-Maktabah Al-Ilmiyya – Beirut, 3rd edition, 1987, article (Q.E.M.), p. 355.
  • Diaa Zaher: Values ​​in the Educational Process, Arabian Gulf Foundation, Center for Documentation and Construction Studies, Cairo, 1st edition, 1991
  • Email Badie Yaqoub, The Detailed Dictionary of the Minutes of the Arabic Language, Dar Al-Kutub Al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 2004, p. 314.
  • Khalifa Abdul Latif: The Rise of Values, a psychological study, The World of Knowledge, National Council for Culture, Kuwait, 1992, p. 147.
  • Laila Abdul Rashid Attar: The importance of values ​​for the individual, the group and society, Al Jazeera Press, Printing and Publishing, electronic magazine, No. 13606, Saudi Arabia, 12-29-2009.
  • Munir Al-Morsi Sarhan, in the Sociologies of Education, Dar Al-Nahda Al-Arabi, Beirut, 4th edition, 2003, p. 36.
  • Nourhan Mounir Hassan Fahmy, Religious Values ​​of Youth from a Moral Perspective, Modern University Office, Lebanon, 1st edition, 1999, p. 9.
  • Samah Othman: The importance of values ​​in the life of the individual and society from Rokesh’s point of view, Al-Marsal website, October 24, 2023.
  • Surah Al-Kahf: Verse 2.
  • Surah Bayyina: Verse 3.

11-  Zidan Mustafa: Psychological development of the adolescent child, Alam al-Kutub, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1st edition, 1990, p. 20.

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