Cultural Change, Slow and Fast: The Distinctive Trajectory of Norms Governing Gender Equality and Sexual Orientation
This article builds on research demonstrating that high levels of economic and physical security are conducive to a shift from Materialist to Postmaterialist values---and that this shift tends to make people more favorable to important social changes. This article updates this research, demonstrating that:
(1) These value changes occur with exceptionally large time-lags between the onset of the conditions conducive to them, and the societal changes they produce---as previous work implies but does not demonstrate. The evidence suggests that there was a time-lag of 40 to 50 years between when Western societies first attained of high levels of economic and physical security after World War II, and related societal changes such as legalization of same-sex marriage. (2) A distinctive set of “Individual-choice norms,” dealing with acceptance of gender equality, divorce, abortion and homosexuality, is moving on a different trajectory from other cultural changes. These norms are closely linked with human fertility rates and require severe self-repression. (3) Although basic values normally change at the pace of intergenerational population replacement, the shift from Pro-fertility norms to Individual-choice norms is now moving much faster, having reached a tipping-point where conformist pressures have reversed polarity and are now accelerating changes they once resisted. We test these claims against data from 80 countries containing most of the world’s population, surveyed from 1981 to 2014.
This paper examines correlations between the genetic characteristics of human populations and their aggregate levels of tolerance and happiness. A metadata analysis of genetic polymorphisms supports the interpretation that a major cause of the systematic clustering of genetic characteristics may be climatic conditions linked with relatively high or low levels of parasite vulnerability. This led vulnerable populations to develop gene pools conducive to avoidance of strangers, while less-vulnerable populations developed gene pools linked with lower levels of avoidance. This, in turn, helped shape distinctive cultures and subsequent economic development. Survey evidence from 48 countries included in the World Values Survey suggests that a combination of cultural, economic and genetic factors has made some societies more tolerant of outsiders and more predisposed to accept gender equality than others. These relatively tolerant societies also tend to be happier, partly because tolerance creates a less stressful social environment. Though economic development tends to make all societies more tolerant and open to gender equality and even somewhat happier, these findings suggest that cross-national differences in how readily these changes are accepted, may reflect genetically-linked cultural differences.
Fertility transition in Russia had been completed up to the 1960s, but since then pregnancy termination remained playing a large role in birth control. Official statistics show the positive dynamics of main characteristics of reproductive health in the post-Soviet period. This development is often questioned. Based on the analysis of data from Rosstat, Russian Ministry of Health, and materials from sample surveys, mostly from 21 waves of "Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey - Higher School of Economics "(RLMS-HSE) we conclude that the official statistics of abortion are adequate. The article refutes the assumption of significant underreporting of abortions in Russia. Over the past few decades Russia has experienced contraceptive revolution, which led to a more humane way of birth control.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.