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Title: Nuclear power: sex differences in public opinion

Abstract

This study attempts to determine the factors that account for the fact that women are both more opposed and uncertain than men concerning the further development of nuclear energy. To that end, data from four national opinion surveys covering the period 1975 to 1979 are employed. Log-linear techniques are used in the analyses. Two plausible explanations for women's greater aversion to nuclear power are presented. The marginality explanation attributes the differential support of men and women for nuclear power to the differential positions which they occupy in the economic, political, and technical spheres within society. Because men hold more central positions in these areas, it is postulated that they will perceive a greater need for additional energy and continued economic growth, believe that the advantages of nuclear power toward these goals are greater, and be more confident in applications of nuclear technology. The fact that men express more favorable attitudes toward nuclear power is thus to be explained by these factors. The safety explanation attributes the sex difference to a greater concern on the part of women about the safety of using nuclear fission to generate electricity. The general thrust of this arguments is that women's greater concern for safetymore » revolves around their reproductive and nurturant roles, and the protection of future generations. Uncertainty is viewed as a special problem. An explanation for women's greater uncertainty, which attributes the difference to a sex-typed expectation concerning the formulation and expression of opinions on complex technical issues, is presented.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
5685228
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Resource Relation:
Other Information: Thesis (Ph. D.)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY AND ECONOMY; MEN; ATTITUDES; NUCLEAR POWER; PUBLIC OPINION; WOMEN; SAFETY; SOCIO-ECONOMIC FACTORS; ANIMALS; FEMALES; INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS; MALES; MAMMALS; MAN; POWER; PRIMATES; VERTEBRATES 290600* -- Energy Planning & Policy-- Nuclear Energy

Citation Formats

Brody, C.J. Nuclear power: sex differences in public opinion. United States: N. p., 1981. Web.
Brody, C.J. Nuclear power: sex differences in public opinion. United States.
Brody, C.J. 1981. "Nuclear power: sex differences in public opinion". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_5685228,
title = {Nuclear power: sex differences in public opinion},
author = {Brody, C.J.},
abstractNote = {This study attempts to determine the factors that account for the fact that women are both more opposed and uncertain than men concerning the further development of nuclear energy. To that end, data from four national opinion surveys covering the period 1975 to 1979 are employed. Log-linear techniques are used in the analyses. Two plausible explanations for women's greater aversion to nuclear power are presented. The marginality explanation attributes the differential support of men and women for nuclear power to the differential positions which they occupy in the economic, political, and technical spheres within society. Because men hold more central positions in these areas, it is postulated that they will perceive a greater need for additional energy and continued economic growth, believe that the advantages of nuclear power toward these goals are greater, and be more confident in applications of nuclear technology. The fact that men express more favorable attitudes toward nuclear power is thus to be explained by these factors. The safety explanation attributes the sex difference to a greater concern on the part of women about the safety of using nuclear fission to generate electricity. The general thrust of this arguments is that women's greater concern for safety revolves around their reproductive and nurturant roles, and the protection of future generations. Uncertainty is viewed as a special problem. An explanation for women's greater uncertainty, which attributes the difference to a sex-typed expectation concerning the formulation and expression of opinions on complex technical issues, is presented.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1981,
month = 1
}

Thesis/Dissertation:
Other availability
Please see Document Availability for additional information on obtaining the full-text document. Library patrons may search WorldCat to identify libraries that hold this thesis or dissertation.

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  • This study treats public opinion as problematic and focuses on the way it is defined, identified, and evaluated by nuclear decision makers in industry, government, and the scientific community. The data are based largely on questionnaire responses and interviews. Though public opinion is a social process amenable to empirical investigation, its identification is not self-evident. It is defined within the context of an already-existing set of often unconscious beliefs and value commitments. Like students of public opinion, decision makers focus on such characteristics of public opinion as its membership, direction, intensity, level of information, prior attitudinal predispositions, and representativeness, andmore » on the factors that influence public opinion. They also select among the indicators of public opinion - those that seem to represent the public as against those that claim to speak for it. They identify public opinion in terms of their beliefs about what public opinion is or should be in a democracy. The antinuclear movement and the mass media are seen as important, but their equation with public opinion is challenged. Decision makers see the antinuclear movement as distinct from, though an important influence on, public opinion. Decision makers believe the public has a legitimate role in negotiating nuclear power issues, but expect the public to be informed through exposure to the relevant information and expertise.« less
  • This study is concerned with the rise and fall of anti-nuclear activism in Great Britain. Although anti-nuclear activists do not represent the majority of British public views on defense, their very vocal and highly visible activity can have major disruptive effects of US foreign policy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Moreover, insights into the anti-nuclear movement in Britain offer a standing point for a comparative assessment of analogous campaigns throughout Europe. In exploring this topic, the dissertation examines three key questions. First, what are the direct causes of cyclical anti-nuclear activism in Britain Second, are particular types of deploymentmore » instrinsically more provocative, and therefore, more politically exploitable than others Third, what are the particular socio-psychological factors associated with nuclear systems which Labour Party activists are able to manipulate In answering these questions, this study concentrates on one central hypothesis: that cycles of British nuclear activism are catalyzed by the deployment of foreign systems which evoke (a) special feelings of subordination in a hegemonic Anglo-US relationship, and (b) deep-seated symbolic fears of the apocalypse.« less
  • The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in attitudes toward nuclear power and to discover what factors account for these differences. The marginality explanation for these differences suggest that women have less-favorable attitudes toward nuclear power because they are less concerned about energy supplies and economic growth and are less convinced of the benefits of nuclear power for society than are men. The irrationality explanation holds that women are less favorable toward nuclear power because they are less knowledgeable about this technology than are men. The lay-rationality explanation argues that people form attitudes toward nuclear power whichmore » are consistent with their relevant beliefs, attitudes and values; thus, this explanation suggests that women's unfavorable attitudes toward nuclear power stem from greater concern about environmental protection, exposing society to risk, and lower faith in science and technology. Data for this study were collected via a mail questionnaire administered to a state wide sample of Washington residents (n= 696).« less
  • Regulations intended to reduce the number of accidents at nuclear plants and the discharge of sulfur and particulate wastes at coal-fired power plants have become an important cause of construction cost escalation. Measuring the costs of these regulatory interventions is a difficult research task. The three-unit Bruce Mansfield coal-fired plant and the two-unit Beaver Valley nuclear power station located in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, provide a unique opportunity for a case study of the costs of regulation in the construction of both kinds of plants. The units of each plant were built sequentially over a period of intensifying regulation. The method usedmore » to measure the costs of public safety regulation in the construction of each kind of plant is to determine the connections between the issuances of the regulatory agencies (EPA and NRC) and cost escalations of succeeding units. The small cost escalations of the Mansfield 3 unit, in comparison to the massive costs of the Beaver Valley 2 unit, suggest that the design and construction of new coal-fired plants are not disrupted by regulatory interventions nearly as extensively as are nuclear units. Certain technical features of Beaver Valley 2, especially its small size and a design that is identical to the first unit's, further contribute to its cost escalations.« less
  • This dissertation empirically explored the security opinion formation process within the British, French, and West Germany populations. Basic theory assumed two sources of security opinion. First, the actions and official statements of political elites furnish strong but transient influence in forming public attitudes, which, in turn, are a basis for opinions. Second, attributes predispose individuals to adopt attitudes, and thus opinions. The influence of attributes is less forceful than are elite cues, but attributes give some stability to opinion - attributes being immutable or slow to change. The analysis of the influence of attributes and attitudes on opinion was basedmore » on results of 1976-1982 public opinion surveys. The findings both supported the assumptions on the opinion forming roles of attributes and elite cues and addressed related issues of current interest. The probable security predisposition of the contemporary West European successor generation, an altered role for Europeans holding post material values, and the functional - as opposed to geographic - nature of the supranationalist attitude were among major topics addressed. The dissertation ends with a prediction on mid-term stability and change in the role and functioning of the Atlantic alliance.« less