Ethnic Conflict, Group Polarization, and Gender Attitudes in Croatia


Kunovich, Robert M., and Catherine Deitelbaum. 2004. “Ethnic Conflict, Group Polarization, and Gender Attitudes in Croatia.” Journal of Marriage and Family 66 (5): 1089-107.

Authors: Robert M. Kunovich, Catherine Deitelbaum


We examine the sources of traditional gender attitudes during a period of social conflict and change. Using survey data from Croatia (Center for the Investigation of Transition and Civil Society, 1996; N = 2,030) we explore the relationships between war-related experiences, in-group and out-group polarization, and two dimensions of gender attitudes: policy attitudes (e.g., attitudes toward divorce and abortion) and gendered family roles (e.g., attitudes toward the division of household labor). We argue that ethnic conflict promotes in-group polarization (i.e., attachment to the Croatian nation) and out-group polarization (i.e., distrust of "others"), which lead to a resurgence of traditional values, including traditional gender attitudes. We also examine the effects of childhood socialization, individual resources, and interpersonal familial ties on gender attitudes. Results support the conflict-group polarization model and indicate that out-group polarization has the most powerful effect on both gendered family role attitudes and policy attitudes for men and women. In-group polarization does not affect gender attitudes, however.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Households Regions: Europe, Balkans, Eastern Europe Countries: Croatia

Year: 2004

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