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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Publication details for Professor Mathew Guest

Aune, Kristin & Guest, Mathew (2019). Christian University Students’ Attitudes to Gender: Constructing Everyday Theologies in a Post-Feminist Climate. Religions 10(2): 133.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

This article explores how religion shapes approaches to gender amongst university students in the United Kingdom, focusing on how attitudes about gender interact with their Christian identities. Drawing from 68 semi-structured interviews conducted at five universities, the article identifies three main approaches Christian students adopt when asked how faith affects their views on gender: the individualized approach, the egalitarian approach and the conservative approach. The article outlines the permutations of these approaches, showing their points of similarity and difference, and argues that feminism, biological essentialism and notions of reasonableness or “cultural common sense” feature in all three, being integral to the gender discourse of “post-feminist” UK society. The article argues that religion functions as a resource in Christian students’ gender attitudes, alongside other resources such as friends or family, and is deployed to justify both egalitarianism and gender conservatism. Christian students are constructing “everyday theologies” that integrate religious resources with other social resources, generating divergent egalitarian and conservative interpretations, mirroring patterns in “post-feminist” UK society more generally.