Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN23_02b: Mapping and understanding sexual attitudes
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Jo Woodiwiss, University of Huddersfield
Location: BS.3.25
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Third Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Democracy Deficit and Homophobic Divergence in 21st Century Europe

Judit Takacs1, Ivett Szalma1,2

1Centre for Social Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary; 2Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

In our presentation we will focus on the relationship between democracy deficit and homophobic divergence within 21st century European societies. Our main research question is about how social attitudes towards lesbians and gays changed in the time period between 2002 and 2016, and whether there are any signs of convergence regarding these issues in different parts of Europe, characterized by different welfare regimes.

The empirical base of the study is a dataset including all eight rounds of the European Social Survey, focusing especially on a key variable measuring the agreement level with the statement that gay men and lesbians should be free to live their own life as they wish. For data analyses descriptive statistics and explanatory models were constructed by applying multilevel mixed effect linear regression models. Our results show that there are still significant differences between different parts of Europe regarding social attitudes towards gays and lesbians. However, based on our results we would recommend a more refined division than the East–West dichotomy within Europe.

The Dimensions of Sexual Permissiveness

Anu Kinnunen1, Amalia Verdu2, Osmo Kontula3

1University of Tampere; 2University of Turku; 3Family Federation Finland

We are identifying dimensions of sexual permissiveness and further investigating how these dimensions differ in relation to gender, age, education, income, religiosity, work life status, relationship status and residential area. This study is based on a unique data of generous representative sample of 6550 citizens from the general population of Finland in years 1992-2015. Factor analysis was used to identify dimensions of sexual permissiveness and linear regression analysis to analyze how these dimensions are interfering with time and cultural elements. We grouped the data in 4 factors 1) permissiveness of sexual orientation, 2) permissiveness of marital fidelity 3) permissiveness of casual sex and 4) permissiveness of selling sex. Gender appears as an important variable although not with the same strength in all the factors. In general men were more permissive than women except for the attitude towards sexual orientation in which women showed more permissiveness. Religiosity restricts sexual permissiveness, education enforces permissiveness towards sexual orientation and casual sex but predicts less permissiveness towards selling sex. Time is another factor showing disparate results as permissiveness of casual sex and sexual orientation have grown in the past 20 years, but attitudes towards infidelity and selling sex have tightened.

“It Changed, But Not Too Much”: Views And Perspetives Of Young People On LGBTI Diversity In Portugal

Hugo Santos1, Sofia Marques da Silva2, Isabel Menezes3

1Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of University of Porto, Portugal; 2Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of University of Porto, Portugal; 3Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of University of Porto, Portugal

In recent years, homophobia studies at school have been under an identity crisis whose epicenter has located on the tension between the denunciation of homophobia and the essentialist danger of a single focus on victimization. This tension is not out of step with the paradoxical contexts in which we live in, since, on the one hand, there is an increasing social tolerance and global awareness of LGBTI diversity – consequence of greater media visibility and legal changes in Western socities –, on the other hand, it seems evident the perpetuation of stereotypes, discrimination and violence, subtle or direct, against LGBTI people – or judged as such – still continues to be reproduced. This paper explores the perspectives of young people aged 16-19 about each initials of LGBTI diversity, drawing upon school-based qualitative data from a study conducted in Portugal in 2015–2017 with methological resource to observant participation, interviews and focus group discussion. Findings reveal a multiplicity of discourses that shows a paradoxical attitude on LGBTI rights. On the one hand, many young people shows what we can call a “liberal discourse”: non-heterosexualities are seen as a legitimate possibility of human sexuality, young people emphazises individual freedoms and critically reflect upon their own attitudes. On the other hand, a cynical discourse of tolerance still exists, symbolically represented by “nothing against, but” cliché, together with particular comments in which homossexuality is still seen as something unnatural. Our conclusion is that we must take into consideration both kind of discourses, in order to refuse a iminent panorama of total vitimization and to reject a false psychological sensation that we are living in societies where homophobic discrimination was solved.

Does Prostitution Legislation Affect the Population’s Social Norms? A Natural Experiment on European Prostitution Policies

Stef Adriaenssens, Patrick Heegemann, Jef Hendrickx

KU Leuven, Belgium

Most European countries introducing a law criminalizing the purchase of physical sexual services explicitly aim to raise awareness. One of the explicit aims of the abolitionist programme regarding prostitution, indeed is to change the public’s normative evaluation of prostitution. This implies, to a certain extent, that they also expect that a legalization or regulation of prostitution could make people more permissive toward prostitution. Most evaluations of the effects of prostitution policy focus on externalities such as safety at work, occupational health, or risks of human trafficking. Concurrently, the effect of a legislative change on the public’s social norms regarding prostitution is still largely unknown.

We test these conjectures empirically, with the help of a multi-case study. We design a research where the effect of five European historical cases of national legislative changes in Europe is modelled. We include cases of decriminalization (the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Spain), and cases of criminalization (Sweden and Croatia). The evolution of the normative acceptance of prostitution is measured with the help of the European Values Study, with data collected in the 1990’s until 2008. The effect of the legislative change on the prevailing acceptance of prostitution, is modelled though a difference-in-differences approach. The results seem to indicate that criminalization (or ‘abolition’) significantly decreases the public’s acceptance of the phenomenon of prostitution. Concurrently, the decriminalization of prostitution seems to have no marked effect on the public’s normative evaluation of the phenomenon.

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