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Mapping Gender Ideology with Views toward Marital Name Change

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Abstract:

Despite a small but growing interest in first name usage, the study of gendered language—once central to the discipline—has received little attention in recent sociological work. We return to an early interest in surnames and the gendered meaning of language, examining beliefs about the enduring tradition of women’s name change upon marriage in the United States. While surnames may seem an inconsequential or even trivial aspect of language, we contend that attitudes toward name change have considerable, untapped potential as a map for gender ideology and, relatedly, for the study of gender attitude measurement. Combining qualitative and quantitative analyses from a national survey, we find that marital name change evokes a notion of gender identity, or a set of beliefs about how individuals should enact gender in private life, that taps into an ideological division between collectivism and individualism. We also demonstrate that name-change measures are more sensitive to sociodemographic cleavages than are more commonly used work-family attitudinal items and consistently outperform these items in mapping onto a wide array of gender-related social attitudes—even net of sociodemographic factors. We conclude by using name change as an exemplar of a contemporary but enduring gender topic that may help solve some dilemmas that currently confound research on gender attitudes.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

gender (255), chang (255), name (255), women (151), famili (135), attitud (115), work (96), ident (83), name-chang (80), item (73), measur (67), scale (67), respond (66), one (61), use (60), work-famili (59), practic (55), may (53), social (52), languag (47), individu (47),
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Name: American Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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MLA Citation:

Hamilton, Laura., Geist, Claudia. and Powell, Brian. "Mapping Gender Ideology with Views toward Marital Name Change" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, Aug 08, 2009 <Not Available>. 2014-11-29 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p304671_index.html>

APA Citation:

Hamilton, L. T., Geist, C. and Powell, B. , 2009-08-08 "Mapping Gender Ideology with Views toward Marital Name Change" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Hilton San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Online <PDF>. 2014-11-29 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p304671_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Despite a small but growing interest in first name usage, the study of gendered language—once central to the discipline—has received little attention in recent sociological work. We return to an early interest in surnames and the gendered meaning of language, examining beliefs about the enduring tradition of women’s name change upon marriage in the United States. While surnames may seem an inconsequential or even trivial aspect of language, we contend that attitudes toward name change have considerable, untapped potential as a map for gender ideology and, relatedly, for the study of gender attitude measurement. Combining qualitative and quantitative analyses from a national survey, we find that marital name change evokes a notion of gender identity, or a set of beliefs about how individuals should enact gender in private life, that taps into an ideological division between collectivism and individualism. We also demonstrate that name-change measures are more sensitive to sociodemographic cleavages than are more commonly used work-family attitudinal items and consistently outperform these items in mapping onto a wide array of gender-related social attitudes—even net of sociodemographic factors. We conclude by using name change as an exemplar of a contemporary but enduring gender topic that may help solve some dilemmas that currently confound research on gender attitudes.


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