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Theory Development

8. Understanding and Interpretation

An influential interpretation of this conflict explains the passion in terms of identity: women against abortion are often stay-at-home moms who react to the implicit devaluation of babies as threats to their own value (Luker, 1984). This is a theoretical explanation, in two senses.

  1. It appeals implicitly to a more general idea, namely that people will react to threats to their identify or ideas that devalue this identity.
  2. It is also a mechanism, that is to say a model of a causal process that links two apparently unconnected facts: the demographic category of the women opposed to abortion, and their attitudes.
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Luker, K. (1984) Abortion and the politics of motherhood. Berkeley: University of California Press.