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Cross-National Public Opinion about Homosexuality

Examining Attitudes across the Globe

Amy Adamczyk (Author)


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Public opinion about homosexuality varies substantially around the world. While residents in some nations have embraced gay rights as human rights, people in many other countries find homosexuality unacceptable. What creates such big differences in attitudes? This book shows that cross-national differences in opinion can be explained by the strength of democratic institutions, the level of economic development, and the religious context of the places where people live. Amy Adamczyk uses survey data from almost ninety societies, case studies of various countries, content analysis of newspaper articles, and in-depth interviews to examine how demographic and individual characteristics influence acceptance of homosexuality.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Patterns across Nations, Mixed Methods, and the Selection of Countries


1. The Importance of Religion, and the Role of Individual Differences
2. The Importance of Democracy and Economic Development


3. Shaping Attitudes in Protestant Nations: A Comparison of the United States, Uganda, and South Africa
4. Understanding Views in Muslim Countries: An Analysis of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Turkey
5. The Relatively Liberal Views of People from Catholic- Majority Countries: An Examination of Spain, Italy, and Brazil


6. Investigating Public Opinion in Confucian Nations: Buddhism and the Importance of Family Ties in East Asia
7. Shaping Attitudes in Taiwan: A Case Study (OK, but Not in My Family)
Conclusion: Other Religions, Outliers, and the Future

Appendix A. Countries Included in the WVS HLM Analysis, by Homosexuality Laws as of 2015 and the Nation’s Dominant Religion
Appendix B. WVS Data and Hierarchical Models
Appendix C. Additional Macro-Level Indicators
Appendix D. Details on the Content Analysis of Newspaper Articles

Amy Adamczyk is Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York.
"An excellent comparative analysis of the degree of anti-gay attitudes in many nations... Summing Up: Highly recommended."—CHOICE
"Conversation around the topic of diversity has never been more timely on college campuses, and Professor Adamczyk takes up the important subject of sexual diversity, offering a wide-ranging portrait of attitudes about same-sex relationships on a global scale. For graduate and undergraduate students interested in gay rights and sexual identity, Adamczyk's new book offers an essential window into how religion, politics, and economic development affect public opinion on these topics, and will surely spark passionate campus conversation about her findings."
—Donna Freitas, author of Sex and the Soul
"In this groundbreaking book, Adamczyk has undertaken the daunting task of unraveling the complex dynamics shaping public opinion about same-sex relationships. She provides a rich theoretical understanding of the macro forces influencing attitudes and impressively integrates multiple types of methods and data to assess these ideas. A major contribution to cross-national public opinion research that I highly recommend."
—Christian Smith, University of Notre Dame

"Few studies have explored change in attitudes toward homosexuality on a global scale. Adamczyk's mixed-methods approach and breadth of case studies, as well as her original and stimulating treatment of her materials, make for an ambitious and timely work that offers an important contribution to the scholarly community."
—Phillip M. Ayoub, author of When States Come Out

"Adamczyk has written the most comprehensive contemporary study on disapproval of homosexuality. She takes into account multidisciplinary theoretical insights on individual as well as contextual determinants to provide a worldwide readership with enlightening overviews on controversial issues."
—Peer Scheepers, Radboud University

"Drawing from a wealth of quantitative and qualitative cross-national data, Adamczyk provides an illuminating analysis of cross-national patterns in attitudes toward homosexuality. This highly informative book is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the societal roots of sexual prejudice and tolerance in the twenty-first century. I strongly recommend it."  
—Gregory M. Herek, University of California, Davis

"True cross-national studies of public opinion are rare, and even rarer still are those that take religious differences seriously.  Adamczyk explores the diversity and sources of opinions among Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, and Confucian/Buddhist majority countries.  I recommend this book highly to those interested in the intersection of religion and the politics of sexuality, and of those interested in comparative public opinion more broadly."
—Clyde Wilcox, Georgetown University

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Amy Adamczyk on WAMC's The Academic Minute

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