10 Jun

Presentation: Explaining Polarization

Today, I am attending the ‘Day of Sociology’ conference at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. I look forward to all the presentations, together covering the broad field of Sociology in Flanders and the Netherlands.

Also, I will present a working paper on polarization of attitudes on abortion in North America. It’s called Explaining Polarization of North Americans’ Abortion Attitudes, 1977-2006 and it authored by myself, Ariana Need, and Manfred te Grotenhuis. The abstract of the paper:

This study finds that North Americans’ attitudes towards induced abortion have become increasingly polarized between 1977 and 2006. This is in line with previous studies that treat polarization as a distributional characteristic. We improve upon existing studies by formulating an explanatory model for attitude polarization that distinguishes between macro-level and micro-level polarization.

A partial explanation for macro-level polarization of North Americans’ abortion was found in declining rates of church attendance. On the micro-level, we find that frequent church attendees are relatively restrictive towards abortion compared to people hardly ever attending church, and that this difference is more polarized in states with Medicaid provision of abortion, parental involvement legislation, high levels of apostasy, and high abortion ratios. Finally, in these same contexts, frequent church attendees were found more polarized amongst themselves as well.

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