Abortion Legalization and Social Representations of Feminism in Argentina

Keywords: social representations, feminism, abortion, social movements


Over the last few years, the Argentinian feminist movement has experienced remarkable growth in its volume, scope, and public recognition. Positioned within the massive mobilization for the legalization of voluntary termination of pregnancy (VTP), we are interested in addressing feminism as a social movement. Thus, we propose an analysis of social representations (SRs) of feminism as a means of studying collective identity. We also describe the role of attitudes towards VTP legalization as a cleavage that configures two opposing representations of feminism. We took a sample of 772 people from 16 to 81 years of age (M = 37.8, SD = 17.1). Applying a word association technique, we gathered information about participants’ SRs of feminism, together with information about their attitudes towards VTP legalization, political ideology, political interest, the personal relevance of religion, and participation in social and political actions and/or organizations regarding gender and/or sexual diversity matters. Our results evidenced a generally positive representation of feminism, but one that is conditioned by attitudes towards abortion legalization: that is, people who were in favour of VTP legalization expressed positive associations, mainly referring to feminism as a social movement, emphasizing the political dimension. In contrast, people who were against VTP legalization were more likely to hold a mainly negative representation of feminism, exemplified by representations of specific women who act motivated by hatred, resentment, and contempt towards men, and who express an authoritarian seek for a dominant position in society. We discuss the implications of these results in terms of collective identity.

Author Biographies

Daniela Alonso, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

DANIELA ALONSO, PhD, is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Member of the Political Psychology research group at Institute of Psychological Research (UNC y CONICET). She is a member of the Iberian-Latin American Association of Political Psychology (AILPP). Her research focuses on democracy legitimacy and representations, political participation, and social and political polarization. She is conducting a research project which combines survey experiments and big data analyses for assessing argumentation and deliberation processes regarding controversial social and political issues.

Email: dalonso@unc.edu.ar

Silvina Brussino, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina

SILVINA BRUSSINO, PhD, is Principal Researcher at CONICET and director of the Institute of Psychological Research (UNC y CONICET). She also conducts the Political Psychology research group at that institute. Former general secretary and active member of the Iberian-Latin American Association of Political Psychology (AILPP). She is tenured professor of Methods of Research in Psychology at National University of Córdoba. Her researcher is primarily focused on political culture, political participation and ideology. She is conducting basic and applied research on the field of political psychology and evidence-based public policy design

Email: silvina.brussino@unc.edu.ar

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