Wednesday, September 15, 2021

From 2016... Glaciers, gendered knowledge, systems of scientific domination, & alternative representations of glaciers: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research

From 2016... Glaciers, gender, and science: A feminist glaciology framework for global environmental change research. Mark Carey et al. Progress in Human Geography, January 10, 2016.

Abstract: Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.

Keywords: feminist glaciology, feminist political ecology, feminist postcolonial science studies, folk glaciology, glacier impacts, glaciers and society

VII Conclusions

Ice is not just ice. The dominant way Western societies understand it through the science of glaciology is not a neutral representation of nature. The feminist glaciology framework draws attention to those who dominate and frame the production of glaciological knowledge, the gendered discourses of science and knowledge, and the ways in which colonial, military, and geopolitical domination co-constitute glaciological knowledge. Even in a globalized age where the place of women and indigenous people has improved markedly in some parts of the world, masculinist discourses continue to dominate, in subtle and determinative ways. Feminist glaciology advocates for a shift of preoccupations in research, policy, and public perceptions from the physical and seemingly natural, to a broader consideration of ‘cryoscapes’, the human, and the insights and potentials of alternative ice narratives and folk glaciologies. The critique and framework outlined here illuminate experiences and narratives that emerged historically but remain potent today. Public discourse on the cryosphere continues to privilege, quite explicitly, manly endeavours and adventures in the field, and those who conduct their science in the manner of masculinist glaciologists and other field scientists of decades and centuries past. A new documentary by French filmmaker Luc Jacquet (2015) about the preeminent French glaciologist and geochemist Claude Lorius perpetuates narratives of heroic domination of nature, while, in interesting ways, noting that ‘triumphant man’ is responsible for the global problems that make Lorius’ research so necessary. At the same time, in the midst of extensive coverage of the polar regions in the context of climate change, the New York Times has published articles that foreground the dangerous field in Greenland, thereby validating manly, heroic fieldwork while simultaneously relegating work with models and computers to something like ‘armchair glaciology’ (Davenport et al., 2015; Gertner, 2015). Unlike past narratives, there are subtleties and tensions within these public discourses, especially as they often seek to see scientific work in more detail, a detail that can soften or undercut the individual exertions on display. However, they still privilege stereotypical and masculinist practices of glaciology. Other narratives, however, challenge these practices, thereby generating alternative approaches to ice. Emerging from Australia, the Homeward Bound initiative plans a ‘state of the art leadership and strategic program for 78 women in science from around the globe’ to travel to Antarctica in late 2016, one of its aims being to ‘explore how women at the leadership table might give us a more sustainable future’ (Homeward Bound, 2015). The call for a feminist glaciology is not limited to ice and glaciers, but is a larger intervention into global environmental change (and especially climate change) research and policy. As international negotiations remain stalled and governmental commitments to change and reform are fitful and seemingly ineffectual, those studying environmental change and aware of its significant effects and dangerous potentials continue to search for ways of stemming the tides of change as well as forming just and equitable global structures for addressing it. The feminist glaciology framework articulates with these larger quests in at least two ways. First, it repeats the demands for increased presence of humanities and social science perspectives in global environmental change research, policy, and broader public discourse. Many humanities and social science disciplines and sub-disciplines have given significant attention to these issues, but there remain boundaries between these analyses and those considered central to the environmental change question. The natural sciences that drive and undergird environmental change policy are often asked by decision-makers and the media to speak for society or frame research and policy questions for humanity. But the natural sciences are not equipped to understand the complexities and potentialities of human societies, or to recognize the ways in which science and knowledge have historically been linked to imperial and hegemonic capitalist agendas. Feminist glaciology participates in this broader movement by suggesting richer conceptions of humanenvironment relations, and highlighting the disempowering and forestalling qualities of an unexamined and totalizing science. Second, we reiterate the need not only to appreciate the differential impacts of environmental change on different groups of people – men and women, rich and poor, North and South – but to understand how the science that guides attempted solutions may in fact perpetuate differences because they are, essentially, built on and draw their epistemic power from differentiation and marginalization. Struggles over authority and legitimacy play out in many obvious ways in climate change negotiations. Struggles also happen in less obvious ways, such as in the environmental change research underpinning climate politics. Analysts and practitioners must recognize the ways in which more-than-scientific, non-Western, nonmasculinist modes of knowledge, thinking, and action are marginalized. The response to simplistic ‘ice is just ice’ discourse is not merely to foreground or single out women and their experiences – that would simply perpetuate binaries and boundaries and ignore deeper foundations. Rather, it is a larger integration of human approaches and sensibilities with the existing dominant physical sciences. Global environmental change research must pluralize its ontologies, epistemologies, and sensibilities. Though there is ever-increasing evidence to guarantee future temperature increases, what remains uncertain are the human structures and ideas mobilized to cope with environmental changes as well as to forestall potentially worse outcomes. If we constitute glaciological and global environmental change research differently, we can constitute our future, our gender relations, and our international political economic relations more justly and equitably.

The Big Five predict numerous preferences, decisions, and behaviors—but why? To help answer this key question, the present research develops the sociocultural norm perspective

Eck, J., & Gebauer, J. E. (2021). A sociocultural norm perspective on Big Five prediction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Sep 2021.

Abstract: The Big Five predict numerous preferences, decisions, and behaviors—but why? To help answer this key question, the present research develops the sociocultural norm perspective (SNP) on Big Five prediction—a critical revision and extension of the sociocultural motives perspective. The SNP states: Agreeableness, Extraversion, and Conscientiousness predict outcomes positively if those outcomes are socioculturally normative. Openness, by contrast, predicts outcomes negatively if they are socioculturally normative. Moreover, the SNP specifies unique mechanisms that underlie those predictions. Two mechanisms are social (social trust for Agreeableness, social attention for Extraversion) and two are cognitive (rational thought for Conscientiousness, independent thought for Openness). The present research develops the SNP by means of three large-scale experiments (Ntotal = 7,404), which used a new, tailor-made experimental paradigm—the minimal norm paradigm. Overall, the SNP provides norm-based, culture-focused, and mechanism-attentive explanations for why the Big Five predict their outcomes. The SNP also has broader relevance: It helps explain why Big Five effects vary across cultures and, thus, dispels the view that such variation threatens the validity of the Big Five. It suggests that the psychology of norms would benefit from attention to the Big Five. Finally, it helps bridge personality, social, and cross-cultural psychology by integrating their key concepts—the Big Five, conformity, and sociocultural norms.

Stay-at-home orders in Mexico led to a fall in abortions of around 25%; fewer unwanted pregnancies from decreased sexual activity is at most 9.8% of the total fall in abortions

The unintended effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders on abortions. Fernanda Marquez-Padilla & Biani Saavedra. Journal of Population Economics, Sep 15 2021.

Abstract: We study the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic and of government mandated mitigation policies on the number of abortions performed by Mexico City’s public abortion program. We find that the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders (SAHO) implemented in Mexico led to unintended consequences for women’s sexual and reproductive health. Using difference-in-differences and event study analyses, we show that SAHO and the pandemic led to a fall in abortions of around 25% and find no evidence that unsafe abortions increased. We find a decrease in the share of single and teenage women getting abortions, arguably due to fewer unwanted pregnancies from decreased sexual activity, and estimate that at most 9.8% of the total fall in abortions can be attributed to this. We complement our analysis using call data from a government helpline and show that the SAHO time period led to fewer abortion- and contraception-related calls but to an increase in pregnancy-related calls.

Discussion and conclusions

We find that the COVID-19 pandemic and SAHO implemented to mitigate the spread of the virus led to a significant decline in the number of abortions performed by CDMX’s public abortion program. We show that the effects were driven by municipalities more likely to comply with SAHO and present evidence of anticipatory effects to the policy. We find that the composition of women getting abortions changed after the lockdown, where single and adolescent women were less likely to get an abortion. We interpret this compositional change as reflecting a decline in unwanted pregnancies for these groups of women (in addition to stronger mobility restrictions). Conditional on municipality of residence, SAHO and the pandemic did not affect women’s average SES as measured by their schooling, suggesting that the reduction in abortions is not explained by changes in women’s preferences over continuing with a pregnancy.

While most of our analysis focuses on the sudden start of SAHO in Mexico, it is hard to separate the total effect of the pandemic from the effects of the SAHO, which are likely to have affected abortion simultaneously and likely in correlated ways—as the fact that effects were stronger for municipalities with high COVID-19 mortality would suggest. We believe that in any case, identifying the total effect of the pandemic on abortions is both relevant and important.

We find no evidence that the reduction in ILE abortions led to an increase in unsafe abortions as hospital discharge data for ARM shows no increases following SAHO, but rather falls following the general hospital usage trends. While abortions not obtained through the public ILE program may have been obtained in the private sector, we show that at least for the case of births we do not observe a shift from public to private healthcare services, mitigating concerns that our results merely suggest a shift from public to private abortions. Our data does not rule out the possibility that self-managed abortions may have compensated for ILE’s reduction in the supply of abortions.

We present additional evidence from helpline calls consistent with SAHO affecting women’s ability to access safe and legal abortions. This is likely to be due to limited access (a fall in the supply of abortions by public health facilities and mobility restrictions), fear of visiting healthcare facilities, and to a loss of women’s autonomy and privacy.

Taken the evidence together, our results present some of the first empirical evidence anticipating the potential effects of COVID-19 and SAHO on fertility, suggesting evidence consistent with an increase in unwanted pregnancies after SAHO started. Its potential relation with increased domestic violence and sexual abuse within the home highlights the importance of focusing policy efforts on providing more and better reproductive health services to women.

Some possible policy recommendations may include a “hotline” and/or telemedicine alternatives for safe misoprostol use in order to make home abortions safe (Drovetta 2015; Donovan 2019) and moving sexual and reproductive health services and care out of hospitals or into the community, in addition to improving the distribution of contraception (Cousins 2020).

Seven individuals who developed a rare and severe type of anterograde amnesia following damage to their medial temporal lobes: Patients’ perceptions of themselves were stuck in the past, unable to see the changes others saw

Who Are You? The Study of Personality in Patients With Anterograde Amnesia. McKenna M. Garland et al. Psychological Science, September 14, 2021.

Abstract: Little is known about the role of declarative memory in the ongoing perception of one’s personality. Seven individuals who developed a rare and severe type of anterograde amnesia following damage to their medial temporal lobes were identified from our neurological patient registry. We examined the stability of their personality ratings on the Big Five Inventory over five retest periods and assessed the accuracy of their ratings via analyses of self–caregiver agreement. The patients portrayed a stable sense of self over the course of 1 year. However, their self-ratings differed from those provided by the caregivers. Intriguingly, these discrepancies diminished when caregivers retrospectively rated the patients’ personalities prior to their brain injury, suggesting that patients’ perceptions of themselves were stuck in the past. We interpret our findings to indicate that the ability to form new declarative memories is not required for maintaining a stable sense of self but may be important for updating one’s sense of self over time.

Keywords: personality, amnesia, Big Five, medial temporal lobe, hippocampus, self–other agreement, personality stability, memory, neuropsychology

Cats show up—on average—in about 5% of the remembered dreams, which are very positive, much more so than dreams in general, or dog dreams, indicating that waking-life experiences with cats are also mostly positive

Schredl, M., Bailer, C., Weigel, M. S., & Welt, M. S. (2021). Dreaming about cats: An online survey. Dreaming, Sep 2021.

Abstract: Cats have lived with humankind for millennia, and one would expect—according to the continuity hypothesis of dreaming—that cats also show up in dreams, more often when the relationship is between the cat and a human is closer, for example, when she or he is a cat owner. Previous studies showed that the percentage of dreams that included cats ranges from 0.4% to 2%, but studies relating waking-life experiences with cats with dreams about cats have not been carried out. In total, 1,695 persons (960 women, 735 men; mean age: 53.84 ± 13.99 years) completed an online survey that included questions about dreams and waking-life experiences with cats. The findings indicate that cats show up—on average—in about 5% of the remembered dreams, but the percentage is much higher in cat owners or persons with a close contact to cats. Interestingly, the cat dream percentage was lower compared to the dog dream percentage, elicited in a previous study. Moreover, proximity during sleep and whether the cat stays in the household is also related to a higher percentage of dreams that include cats. Cat dreams are very positive, much more so than dreams in general, indicating that waking-life experiences with cats are also mostly positive. A small percentage of participants indicted that they had negative experiences with cats in the past; this is related to the frequency of dreams with threatening cats. The results support the continuity hypothesis, and it would be very interesting to conduct content analytic studies with dream samples obtained from pet owners to learn more about the variety of interactions between dreamers and their pets as they are reflected in dreams.