Using controversy over abortion as a lens through which to compare the political process and role of the media in these two very different democracies, this book examines the contest over meaning that is being waged by social movements, political parties, churches and other social actors. Abortion is a critical battleground for debates over social values in both countries, but the constitutional premises on which arguments rest differ, as do the strategies that movements and parties adopt and the opportunities for influence that are open to them. By examining how these debates are conducted and by whom in light of the normative claims made by democratic theorists, the book also offers a means of judging how well either country lives up to the ideals of democratic debate in practice.
• Looks at abortion conflict comparatively (in Germany and the US) over a considerable period of time (1970–1994) • Places gender in relation to other political factors, and explains when and how gender becomes a political issue and women get more or less political voice • Shows how media practices lead to different kinds of political debates in each country
Tables and figures; Foreword Friedhelm Neidhardt; Preface; Glossary; Part I. Introduction: 1. Two related stories; 2. Historical context; 3. Methods; Part II. Major Outcomes: 4. The discursive opportunity structure; 5. Standing; 6. Framing; Part III. Representing Different Constituencies: 7. Representing women's claims; 8. Representing religious claims; 9. Representing the tradition of the left; Part IV. The Quality of Abortion Discourse: 10. Normative criteria for the public sphere; 11. Measuring the quality of discourse; 12. Metatalk; 13. Lessons for democracy and the public sphere; Methodological appendix; References; Index.
'I recommend Shaping Abortion Discourse to others interested in finding new ways to question our assumptions about the role the media plays in democratic public life.' Mobilization