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Public Underst Sci. 2011 May;20(3):334-46.

Gendered contexts: masculinity, knowledge, and attitudes toward biotechnology.

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Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Research into the public understanding of science has revealed that the effect of scientific knowledge on attitudes toward science is contextualized by gender; however there has not yet been an account of how gender contextualizes knowledge. This paper investigates how gender identification affects attitudes toward science, and tempers the effects of scientific knowledge on attitudes toward science. Utilizing data from the Eurobarometer 52.1, it is predicted that when males perceive a threat to their masculinity (as measured by a perceived threat to their financial security) they will become more likely to be aversive to biotechnology, and that increased levels of perceived threat will reduce the effects of knowledge on attitudes toward biotechnology. Moreover, it is predicted that these effects will be smaller than their female counterparts. All predictions are affirmed.

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