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The Structure of Belief Systems among Contending ERA Activists

Carol Mueller and Thomas Dimieri
Social Forces
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Mar., 1982), pp. 657-675
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2578386
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2578386
Page Count: 19
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The Structure of Belief Systems among Contending ERA Activists
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Abstract

The structures of beliefs on feminist policy preferences are compared for activists who led campaigns supporting and opposing a Massachusetts referendum on equal rights for women (ERA) in 1976. Beliefs of opposing activists demonstrate asymmetric structures. The preferences for feminist policies of ERA proponents show significantly greater constraint, consensus, and position extremity than do those of ERA opponents. These findings are explained in terms of differences in the group processes among activists within social movements that assert new claims and responsibilities compared with those that defend old rights and privileges.

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