Mikalel Goossen, PhD student at Department of Sociology, Umeå University:
Please join the seminar in Zoom.
Contact Malcolm Fairbrother for Zoom-link.
The seminar will be held in English.
How can a focus on identity advance the study of gender differences in attitudes? Drawing upon social role theory and social identity theory, I delineate how gender identification can be used in the study of attitudes, while staying sensitive to the contextualized meaning of holding a gender identity in a given sociopolitical environment. By combining a categorical operationalization of gender with degree of gender identification, we can ask questions not only about why and how, but also to what extent gender matters to individuals’ attitudes. To demonstrate my argument I examine representative survey data about social spending preferences in Sweden, using an adapted four-item version of the Collective Self-Esteem scale to distinguish between men and women with weak, average and strong gender identification. I find that, in Sweden, it is above all men with a strong gender identification who are negative to increasing social spending. I interpret this as welfare state expansion representing a symbolic and realistic threat to male hegemony and identity by altering gender relations and norms underpinning the social contract. I also investigate whether there are differences or similarities in the gender-identification-attitude relationships across social class. I find that class and gender seem to be two separate logics simultaneously ordering Swedes attitudes toward the welfare state.