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Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America

CAD$100.95 (C)

  • Date Published: December 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107069237

CAD$ 100.95 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Weaving together analyses of archival material, news coverage, and interviews conducted with journalists from mainstream and partisan outlets as well as with activists across the political spectrum, Deana A. Rohlinger reimagines how activists use a variety of mediums, sometimes simultaneously, to agitate for – and against – legal abortion. Rohlinger's in-depth portraits of four groups – the National Right to Life Committee, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and Concerned Women for America – illuminates when groups use media and why they might choose to avoid media attention altogether. Rohlinger expertly reveals why some activist groups are more desperate than others to attract media attention and sheds light on what this means for policy making and legal abortion in the twenty-first century.

    • Provides an interdisciplinary framework for understanding and assessing how activists use a broad range of mass media to affect change
    • The framework considers when and why activist groups might remain silent in mainstream outlets or avoid it altogether
    • Applies this framework systematically to four groups that have mobilized for and against legal abortion over a twenty-year time period
    • Offers a balanced account of abortion activism over the past thirty years and provides insight into how the movements may evolve in the twenty-first century
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America takes aim at the media strategies and dilemmas of social movement organizations. This important book provides the best treatment to date of the public debate over the abortion controversy, from the point of view of four key organizations on opposing sides, and reveals surprising findings about how their media strategies played out. This insider’s account of media strategy and results is an impressive achievement and will be of great interest to scholars and activists alike."
    Edwin Amenta, University of California, Irvine

    "Deana Rohlinger's Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America is a powerful analysis of one of the most important social movements of the past several decades. By tracing the strategies of pro-life and pro-choice organizations and their efforts to shape the mass media, she develops new insights on the politics of news. Rohlinger rightly points out that most scholarship has been concerned with predicting whether movements get covered by the news media. She shows that movement leaders have a more nuanced view of the opportunities and pitfalls associated with media coverage. As a result, groups often pursue strategies that circumvent or deflect mainstream media attention or build alternative channels of communication. The book will be widely read and debated for its innovative analysis that gets inside the strategies of social movements."
    Kenneth Andrews, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

    "A groundbreaking account of how movements for and against abortion have shaped the way the media covers them. Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America takes us behind the scenes as abortion activists develop media strategies that sometimes strengthen - and sometimes doom - their efforts. Essential reading for anyone interested in the influence of mass media on modern America politics."
    Kathleen Blee, University of Pittsburgh

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2014
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107069237
    • length: 182 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 11 mm
    • weight: 0.43kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 8 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: dilemmas, choices, and consequences
    1. Constraints of strategic choice
    2. The mass media field
    3. Abortion, social movements, and mass media
    4. Media, politics, and the National Right to Life Committee
    5. Reputation, political change, and the National Organization for Women
    6. Branding and the success of Planned Parenthood
    7. Concerned Women for America and sympathetic media
    8. Conclusion
    Afterword: abortion politics in the twenty-first century.

  • Author

    Deana A. Rohlinger, Florida State University
    Deana A. Rohlinger is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and a research associate at the Pepper Institute of Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University. She is co-editor of the volumes Media, Movements, and Political Change and Strategies for Social Change. She is also the author of several book chapters and of articles published in journals such as Social Problems, Sociological Theory, Mobilization, The Sociological Quarterly, Sociological Spectrum, Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change, American Behavioral Scientist, the Journal of Women and Aging, and Social Movement Studies. She is currently the section editor for the Social Movements section of Sociology Compass and the book review editor for Mobilization: An International Journal. She also serves on the American Sociological Association's Collective Behavior Social Movement Council; the membership committee of the Society for the Study of Social Problems; and the editorial boards of American Sociological Review, Social Problems, and American Behavioral Scientist.

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