Politicizing biology: Social movements, parties, and the case of homosexuality

  • Haider-Markel D
  • Joslyn M
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We offer an expanded version of attribution theory that incorporates macro- and micro-elements. We then use this theory on a test case and propose an explanation of how individual beliefs about the origins of homosexuality have changed over time and become polarized along partisan lines. We argue that attributions on the origins of homosexuality have been shaped over time by the emergence of a macro-level debate about gay civil rights policy, the related macro-level partisan polarization on gay rights policies, and the strategic framing efforts of in-groups within the parties. We employ aggregate and individual level survey data, descriptive analysis, and content analysis and find support for a theory of attribution that accounts for macro-level factors when explaining individual-level attitudes. We conclude that policy debates can fundamentally shift as attributions become partisan or otherwise politicized. © 2013 Western Social Science Association.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Attitudes
  • Attribution theory
  • Gay and lesbian
  • Homosexuality
  • Opinion
  • Partisanship
  • Policy

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