Measuring Social Generational Change in Discourse About Same-Sex Marriage
15 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 14, 2010
The cultural turn in sociology sparked a renewal in theorizing about generational change in European sociology. While this represents an improvement over older research on generational change, the persistent problem in generational research has always been empirical, not theoretical. In this paper, I show how social generational change can be measured as it is manifested in the discourse about same-sex marriage in the United States. By comparing simultaneously between and within cohorts, I show that social generational change in people's cultural repertoires manifests itself differently depending upon a person's political and religious ideologies. Specifically, I show that young religious conservatives and older liberals are more likely to use middle-ground discourses to talk about same-sex marriage because their taken-for-granted understandings of homosexuality conflict with their political or religious ideologies. I argue that the social generation concept is integral to the analysis of social reproduction and social change as long as it is conceptualized and operationalized in theoretically-sound ways.
Keywords: Generations, Cohorts, Cultural Repertoires, Discourse, Same-Sex Marriage
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